Mental Health

Seeing the Glass Half-Full through Positive Filters

Seeing the Glass Half-Full through Positive Filters
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Each day is a mixed bag. It includes good luck and bad, progress and setbacks, and positive and negative feedback. Unfortunately, the human brain is wired to recognize and remember the bad parts more than the good parts. It can be far more hurtful to hear criticism than it is heartwarming to hear praise, for example. Or, while traveling, a single delayed flight may make more of an impression than 5 on-time legs of the journey.

That doesn’t just make for a memory of a less-than-stellar day. It can affect your outlook on life and your life choices, and your health. As the Lark DPP check-in mentioned, it can be a good idea to change your filter to let in more of the good things in life.

Risks of Filtering the Good

Ignoring the negative parts of life while acknowledging only the positive parts is not healthy, but taking the opposite approach of only seeing negatively is just as unrealistic. Consequences of filtering out everything good and seeing the world through a negative light can include the following.

  • Others see you as negative.

  • You may start expecting bad things to happen to you, and that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as you may make more mistakes because you expect to slip up, or do a poorer job because you are expecting criticism.

  • You may stop trying so hard to make healthy choices if you see a lot of setbacks, but do not recognize your progress.

How to Focus on Positive Things

Some practice can help lessen the effects of that filter so the world looks a little brighter. The first step might be to become aware of negative thoughts. Acknowledge them, as you normally would, but keep thinking. 

  • Is the situation/event/trigger really that bad? For example, should getting up 10 minutes late really wreck your entire day?

  • Can you change the situation? You cannot go back and get up earlier, but you can rush a little more to make up for the time you lost.

  • Is there anything good about the situation? You probably needed the sleep if you slept late, so it is great that you got some extra zzz’s! Another good thing may be that you packed lunch last night and already planned your breakfast, so you can still eat healthy today. If your walking shoes and clothes are already in the car so you can walk after work, you will not even risk forgetting them as you hurry to leave the house in the morning.

  • Pat yourself on the back! It is no small feat to be so well-prepared that you can wake up late and still get to work on time, healthy meals and workout planned in advance!

If you need a few general mood boosters, you can always try going for a walk or getting active in other ways, phoning a friend, or pursuing a hobby. You may be more receptive to positive thoughts when your mood is good!

Lark to Help Create a Positive Filter

Lark can help you see more of the good things things that you did in many ways. In the daily summary, Lark shows you green badges that you have earned by eating well. You might get badges for hitting goals for vegetables and whole grains, and staying under limits for fried foods and sodium, for example. These badges are reminders of the good choices you made that day. They can remind you how successful you were and can continue to be, can motivate you to keep making those and other good choices, and can be a learning opportunity as you see what choices you may have made that turned out well for you.