What pole are you: positive or negative?

Your mind is a magnet. You don’t attract what you need or what you want; you attract who you are.
Carlos Santana
1947 –

When I was a child, I remember learning about magnets in school. I was fascinated by the way they worked — positive and negative poles attracting each other while like poles repelled with surprising force. I can even recall trying to push two like poles together; no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it.

But what about people? Are there rules of attraction for humans? Clearly, there are competing opinions on the subject; just consider the common saying “opposites attract” and the older “birds of a feather flock together”. But which theory is true?

While there are always outliers — particularly when you consider romantic attraction — most of the time, I believe we gravitate towards people who are like us: people with common backgrounds, shared experiences, or similar beliefs and values. But even when those factors align, there’s another one that we often don’t consciously recognize, even though it’s equally important: attitude.

Like magnets, people can be either positive or negative. And that quality tends to manifest in many ways. Our attitude seeps through in the words we choose and the things we say. We display it in the way we approach our work and our obligations, in the time and attention we devote to doing a good job. And it influences the way we treat those around us.

Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle of the positive/negative spectrum; we aren’t Pollyanna, but we aren’t Wednesday Addams either. Still, when life gets tough, it’s easy to start slipping into more negative tendencies. Do that long enough and you’ll likely start to lose your positive-minded friends, which will only make things worse.

So what can you do if you feel yourself shifting into negative territory — or worse, if you’re already there?

For a start, examine your personal relationships. Attitudes are contagious, so make an effort to communicate more with people who radiate positive energy, who support you and uplift you. Avoid the people who reinforce your negative thinking.

Next, spend a few minutes each day reflecting on your blessings. I realize this advice may sound trite, but it’s repeated so often because it works. Paying attention to the good things in your life helps keep your focus on the positive, not the negative.

Another great technique is to spend some time walking through a garden, park, or forest. Multiple studies have shown significant mental and physical health benefits from exposure to green spaces. Among the improvements reported were decreased stress hormones, improved mood, and restored mental energy.

Finally, consider beginning a practice of daily meditation. Researchers at Harvard discovered that regular meditation can reduce the size of the amygdala, a part of the brain connected to fear and anxiety.

Don’t let yourself drift to the negative. Even when life is tough, make a conscious effort to keep yourself in positive territory. You’ll attract positive people who can help you through the rough spots until better days arrive.

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.
Wade Boggs
1958 –

Copyright © 2020 John Chancellor and Cheryl Chancellor

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