(NNPA)—If you spend serious time watching cable news or reading newspapers, your sense of possibility will fall short in direct proportion. “News” is the primary reason so many people are fearful, anxious, stressed out or depressed. The newsmen’s adage, “If it bleeds, it leads” seems to be on steroids these days.

Following 9/11, psychologists recommended that children not be allowed to watch re­peated foot­age of the attacks on the Twin Towers. Too many children were traumatized by repeated exposure to the same two horrendous images.


I suggest the same strategy for adults. Watch the news once, if you must, then turn it off. By allowing yourself to be repeatedly bombarded with bad news (real, rumored and possibly but-not-verifiably prophetic), you set yourself up to expect failure. And—as Henry Ford famously said—“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!”

Gaze at yourself in the mirror after watching the news. Upsetting, right? You’ll likely bear the same troubling emotions for hours or days, turning nocturnal dreams into nightmares and daytime hours into exercises in “learned helplessness.” (Look it up. It ain’t pretty.)

What you focus on can disorder your mind, ruin your health and cause you to surrender every goal. So focus on your potential, not on your problems. As Mr. Spock observed, “There are always possibilities.” Build on yours. Stay in the game while others quit. Don’t let negative news or a crippled self-image derail you.

Rewrite your self-image. What you think of yourself is the result of what others (including the media) told you about yourself while you were still very young. Your self-image—your view of and attitude about your own value—were assembled while listening to a jumble of premature opinions. Some of the voices offered hope and light, praise and kudos. Others offered reproach and scenarios of unending hardship. Which of them have you adopted as your own?

Lots of things have, and will, affect your circumstances. Take a hard look at yourself. You’ll be amazed at what a powerhouse of potentiality you are.

Stop punishing yourself. Whatever you’re telling yourself about your future that’s scary, stop it. Where you are now is right where many other now-successful people started.

Re-engage. Connect with what gives you joy, what makes you sad, and what inspires you to do your very best. These are all clues to your calling.

Write down what you do best and enjoy most that is of help to others then find ways to capitalize on it. Rediscovering your sense of mission will overcome any negative mindset. When you’re doing what you love, you’ll exist in harmony with yourself; there will be no nagging sense of lack or of loss.

To empower yourself, answer this question: “What have I always wanted to do that I haven’t done yet?” Make concrete plans to do it by taking the first step today, even if it’s just to write down your vision in detail and plan a way to make it happen.

Scary? You bet. Exchange your F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real) for all that’s likely to happen from the moment you commit to winning.

Keep a positive attitude, no matter what: Treat yourself to occasional extravagances, reconnect with family and friends, and update your wardrobe. Adopt a healthier lifestyle and celebrate the joy and freedom it gives you. Enrich your mind: read. Free your spirit: help someone or join a favorite cause.

Have realistic aspirations, adopt an attitude of gratitude, eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, embrace fun forms of physical activity, learn to forgive, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help, and look at the big picture. When you do, you’ll find there’s a lot to smile about—right now!

(Dr. Farrah Gray can be reached via e-mail at fg@drfarrahgray.com or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com/.)

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