3 Ways to Stay Positive When You Feel Negative

Some days I bounce out of bed. Other days I drag. 

Some days my prayers soar to the heavens. Other days I struggle to ask in faith. 

Some days I speak encouraging words that build others up and inspire their faith. Other days I speak fearful, worrisome words that direct their eyes to circumstances and trouble their faith. 

Some days I focus on every good and perfect gift God has given me. Other days I catalog everything I don’t like about my life and my circumstances. 

I suspect I’m not alone. You struggle too. Staying positive when we feel negative is easier some days than others, and it’s almost always a battle. 

But it’s a battle we must fight. 

Negativity comes when we take our eyes off God and focus instead on our circumstances or feelings. Like a kitchen fire, it starts small but can quickly burn a house down. To tolerate or ignore it is to invite our own destruction. 

So how do we quench the fires of negativity? 

Here’s my three-step formula: 

1. STOP. As soon as your brain starts walking down the path of negativity, put the brakes on. Reign in those thoughts and don’t allow them to run away with your happiness.  
Negativity is sneaky. Like a looter during a power outage, it gathers everything that makes you happy and spirits it away. Then it heaps up everything bad it can find and presents the pile to you with a flourish and an evil grin. 

As soon as we recognize this sneaky joy thief, we must take action. Sometimes this is as simple as saying aloud, “NO, I’m not going to think negatively, fret, or grumble.” 

2. DROP. Drop the woe and replace it with wow. It’s not easy just to stop thinking negatively. We have to fill the void with something else. Philippians 4:8 tells us what that “something else” is: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.” 

Choosing to replace our negative, pessimistic, gloom and doom thoughts with positive, hope-filled, upward-looking thoughts is an act of self-discipline. If we practice, it will become easier and eventually become our default setting. 

3. ROLL. Roll your cares off your frail, weak shoulders and onto God’s big, strong ones. As the old hymn says, “Have a little talk with Jesus.” It sounds simplistic, but praying about what we’re struggling with is amazingly powerful in at least three ways. 

First, it moves us from powerlessly spinning our wheels to tapping into the greatest force for change available. Second, it forces us to acknowledge our helplessness and our need of God’s help. Finally, it opens the door for peace to enter our hearts. 

Philippians 4:6-7 commands us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

So the next time negativity threatens your happiness, I encourage you to stop, drop, and roll. By tapping into the strength of self-discipline, the truth of God’s word, and the power of prayer, you can quench the fire of negativity and embrace the peace and joy God intends for you.

What about you? Do you struggle with negativity? How do you fight it? I'd love it if you'd share your thoughts in the comment box. If you're reading via email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, then scroll down to the bottom of the post to comment.

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  1. Lori, thank you for this post. Like many, I struggle with my thought life. It's really about being conscious of the thoughts we are thinking--stopping the wrong, the negative thoughts as soon as we're aware of them.


  2. Lori, I enjoy your posts so much. I find such encouragement and help for everyday in your words. Thank you for sharing the wisdom God puts in your heart to share with us (me)!

    1. I'm so glad the Lord is using my simple words to encourage you. Today you have encouraged me ;) May God be glorified.

  3. Well, I started out researching John Tiller in regards to a real estate program. That led me to Tiller Family Ministries - to their FB page - to this posting there. Interesting is that I had prayed this morning that God would guide us to make good decisions in regards to our real estate business, and I ended up here, all immersed in faith. Thank you for your inspiring words. Fighting negative thoughts can, at times, be a daily battle. Philippians 4:6-7 is taped to my desktop. Thanks for reminding me to refer to it.

    1. Isn't it humbling and amazing how God meets us right where we are, Joy, and provides just what we need when we need it? I am often overwhelmed when something happens like you've just described. And I wonder how many sweet answers to prayer I miss because I don't stop to pray. I'm so glad God brought you to HFG. Thanks for your encouraging words :)