So, yesterday when I saw an article in the NY Post entitled The Power of Negative Thinking I simply had to give it more than a fleeting glance. Here's what I found out. A negative mood study was done at the University of New South Wales. The results of the study indicate a bad mood or sadness could have some advantages. Okay, but let's just say I am feeling skeptical about this outcome. Nothing new, I tend to be skeptical about stuff in general. It is the "investigator in me." Just because I'm an optimist doesn't make me a push over. A cynic? Almost never. But, skeptical, yes! I mean really! I'm not convinced that negative thinking is a positive. Not yet! Maybe not ever.
In the article "Think Negative!" published this month in Australian Science, Joseph Forgas, professor of psychology, says "Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, cooperation, and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking paying greater attention to the external world."
This statement conveys to me that negative thinkers are more "rigid" and perhaps more "methodical" in their actions or motivations. Okay. But, wait a minute. I can also be rigid and methodical when tackling a problem or working on a project. I never felt these actions made me out to be negative. Maybe I'm missing the point. Positive thinking does not equate to ignoring the physical or earthly components of life. I understand the importance of grounding my energies and not drifting off willy nilly into lofty ideals without question.
In the NY Post article, Sara Stewart brings up James Arthur Ray, and the tragic sweat lodge ceremony where 3 people died and others were sickened as an example of positive thinking going awry. But, I don't necessarily agree with her analysis that the people who follow Ray and other mega-guru types are typical of positive thinkers. Ray preaching about the philosophy behind the universal law of attraction for attracting prosperity, wellness, and happiness was not the problem. There has been much discussion about Ray being ego-driven and his followers being gullible. These are valid arguments worthy of discussion, but I'm not going to change my habit of thinking positive out of a fear of being blind-sighted or sucked in by whacko ideas or false prophets. I've been routinely visualizing putting on my "thinking cap" and adjusting it ever so snugly by tying it under my chinny-chin chin ever since my fifth grade teacher suggested the students doing this before her classroom lectures.
My point here is that there are plenty of positive thinkers or optimists in the world who are open-minded, not mind-controlled.