Positive mindset elevates more than holiday spirit

Abbey Dissette, Staff Writer

Let’s face it. The holidays are not only wonderful, but there is the pressure of finding good gifts, of spending time with those nosy, judgmental family members, and staying positive gets harder if there are personal or family issues.
However, holidays are not the only source of stress in people’s lives. For many students, work and school create a chronic negative mindset.
There are people who deeply believe that having a positive mindset can change everything for the better. John Prieboy, P.E. teacher, is one of many who shares that belief.
“This is going to sound corny, but every day is the best day of my life. Waking up you look for that positive light, that positive interaction to get you through the day,” Prieboy said.
Barbara L. Fredrickson, an American professor in the department of psychology, studies the many effects positive emotions have on relationships and future behavior. In 2004, she published “The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions,” which explains the impact positivity has on an individual.
Fredrickson writes that positive emotions cause individuals to become more creative, well-informed, and resilient. They tend to have larger social groups, be more fit individuals, and have a larger attention span.
Even knowing the benefits of positivity, nobody can be positive all the time. At some point everyone is going to show a negative emotion.
Cole Schreiber, junior, said, “The best advice would be to notice your own personal feelings. Being angry or sad shouldn’t be emotions to hide and should be recognized. The important thing is that you should try to look past those negative feelings and find the good in people and in life.”
“A positive attitude is a choice you have. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of a negative mindset,” Prieboy said.
Of course that doesn’t mean being negative occasionally is the end of the world. Chronic negativity, on the other hand, is where the problem really begins. According to Fredrickson, “Negative emotions- when extreme, prolonged, or contextually inappropriate- produce many problems for individuals and society, ranging from phobias and anxiety disorders, aggression and violence, depression and suicide, eating disorders and sexual dysfunction, to a host of stress related physical disorders.”
Even if people believe positivity can have a positive impact on their life, they still don’t know how to make that change from negative to positive. Lauren Schoenly, senior, said that she would start with finding something positive in every situation and being sure to see the light in the dark times.
“The important thing is remembering that it is a blessing every day that you wake up in the morning, and there are so many things that make that hard to think about, but it’s important to because the good always outweighs the bad in the end,” Schreiber said.
Not being negative takes time, but with perseverance it can be done. Making small goals that can be achieved every day and working towards them is a useful way to start.
“In order to be more positive, you need to improve areas in your life where you may be lacking in confidence or hope, and in order to do that you need to strive. You need to start by picturing yourself where you’d like to be in the future and where you’d be happy. Once you do that, it will become easier for you to try and get to that point,” Melissa Schmidt, freshman, said.
Being around the right people can also positively impact a person’s mindset. Joining clubs, helping others, or doing something proactive can all lead to having and maintaining a positive mindset.
“Surround yourself with the people who make you want to be the best version of yourself,” Dave Stephens, principal, said.
Ted Arison, math teacher, described being positive in terms of a popular blockbuster film:
“Having a positive attitude is like the force in “Star Wars” and having a negative attitude is like turning away to the dark side,” he said.
“I mean, look at all the consequences of those who are on the dark side.”