Dear Doug: Internal Positivity
Q: I've always been very influenced by other people. Even though I find it easy to be happy and upbeat when things are good, I find my mood plunging whenever things start to go wrong.
How can I keep my mood up when things go wrong?
A: Get to know yourself a little better. People with a strong sense of self are less affected by outside influences.
Empathizing strongly with others is a great trait, but anything can be harmful in excess. For your own happiness, work on moderating your responsiveness to others.
Accept that you can't control everything. It's a frustrating fact of life that many things are out of our control. Whenever I've thought that I've mastered my life and relationships, something challenges me.
The trick is to find ways to roll with the punches. Your power to affect the outcome lies in your ability to control yourself. You don't have to accept that you're subject to the power of outside influences. What can you do to maintain your own equilibrium? How are you reacting to others, and why?
Learn from negative situations. What can you do to affect the outcome? What coping techniques have you been using? Have they had the intended effect?
If someone or something consistently gets you down, limit your exposure. It's easier to deal with negativity when we're not inundated by it.
Admit your mistakes, and work on them. Ask yourself whether you are originating any negativity of your own. Just as you're affected by others, you affect them, too.
Remind yourself that you are in control of your life and your mood. -- Emma, Doug's granddaughter