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Monday September 29, 2014

I have been reading about 'dualities' in the past few months and have realised how beneficial it can be to look at the alternative.

I'm a pessimist by nature, somewhat melancholy and a bit of a malcontent (got it all going on here eh?!), anyway, my inclination is to look to the negative in an attempt to plan for the worst case scenario.

There was a time when this seemed like a survival skill and a good strategy in a world where I felt beset by problems. In reality I had no power of prediction and wasted lots of time expecting and planning for the "worst" which rarely, if ever came along.

None of this was helpful to my depression. I thought at the time it was because I was planning and being realistic, when in fact I was wiring the neural pathways in my brain through reinforcement, it was self-defeating, I couldn't look for the positives because I was repeatedly wiring my brain for the negatives. Which is where the dualities came in.

Every thought I have has an opposite, a 'flip side' and this has been a revelation in terms of tackling my negativity, helping my mood and gaining an understanding that my thoughts are not a fail-proof gauge on the world.

When I'm feeling unhappy I remind myself that happiness also exists within me. I don't have to generate happiness I just have to remind myself that it's in there. Likewise, reminding myself when I feel angry, there is also peace, or anxiety there is also calmness, or worry there is also acceptance. By reminding myself that each of my feelings has an opposite which I have experienced before, I am able to get a handle on my emotions and head them off from overwhelming me. It's not a cure all, but it is one of the tools in my kit bag to support me when the world and life is looming too large.

I have a postcard from a friend and the quote on the front sums the duality thing up for me, it says:

Q. "But what if I fail?"
A. "But my dear what if you fly?!"

It's a beautiful way to remind me that my ship can sail in sunny seas rather than lurking in stormy waters.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 6:35am

This is how I feel. Wish I was a bit more optimistic in life


Julia Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 8:12am

Hi Ellis. This does work. I woke up this morning feeing very negative, even more negative than normal and told myself to start flipping the coin. Every time a negative thought comes into my mind, I counter it with a positive one. It's the constant reinforcement that works. How funny that I was thinking before I saw this morning's blog that it was about time we had a blog about turning negative thoughts into positive ones. I even thought maybe I should write one but don't have to now!!

Rupert Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 8:12am

That is me all over too Nicola! Almost not happy unless worrying about something. It is such a fantastic feeling when you do focus on the positives though - just need to do it more often.

Rupert Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 8:15am


I find waking up is the worst time - full of negative thoughts - I find I almost have to prepare myself for it the night before and plan my reaction to it!

Ali Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 9:19am

Thank you so much for sharing this and what you say is very true for me too. I've always been focussing on the worst case scenario but through therapy I am starting to think about the other side too and getting the 'happy bit' of my brain lighting up. Life is so full of opposites - and I'm learning to recognise and enjoy the good bits.

Julia Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 10:23am

Yes mornings are not good. I like your idea to prepare for the worst, the night before!

Anonymous Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 10:52am

So true Ellis, so true; and so eloquently put - thank-you for holding up this "mirror" to me and showing me that my coping strategies - planning for the worst - are in fact a waste of time and not helping me at all. Thank-you. Frankie

Anonymous Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 12:28pm

Churchill said:"Out of ten worries there are at least nine that never happen." (Wording might differ a bit). This is on my mother's heart - a little heartshaped notice board by her bed where she has also got pictures of us children and Lady Mary and a few other things to remind her of positive things in life. There is a prayer on there too. Is it "Make me a channel of your peace..." ? This is part of my mother's tool-kit to help against negative thoughts I've have realised lately.

And I pray to angels every day. There is even one to help beautify thoughts, one with a strong pink colour called Jophiel. So if I'm applying for jobs I find this particularily helpful.

Thank you for your post,

Lots of love,

PWD Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 6:10pm

Great blog I too struggle with mornings could do with some tips. I go to bed thinking positive wake up with a brain transplant so negative it's dreadful

Lex McKee Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 9:30pm

Q. "But what if I fail?"
A. "But my dear what if you fly?!"
THAT, Dear Ellis, is gorgeous!

I had a friend at school who never got upset.
He never got really excited either.
I wanted to be like him.

Then I realised, I REALLY didn't want to be like him!!!

The bigger the amplitude of the wave that takes us down is reflected in the soaring majesty of the wave that can lift us up.

I know what I want...

Suzy Mon, Sep 29th 2014 @ 10:48pm

This post sooooo poignant for me this week. I thank you heartily. Heartily I say! xx Suzy xx

heather Tue, Sep 30th 2014 @ 5:39am

Although I had not considered myself a negative person I have spent my life preparing for the worst so that I would not be disappointed and might have a happy surprise. I am working on changing this and your blog, Ellis, has confirmed it. I did a simple exercise recently when I was asked a few questions and wrote my answers in pencil, leaving a gap in between. I then wrote in pen what I would like the answers to be and compared the two. I rubbed out the answers in pencil because the answers in pen were just as achievable, and I realised that I am more negative than I thought.and am working on my positive replies. Quite an eye opener !
Love from Heather xx

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