kai·zen [ ki' zen] noun

Definition:  philosophy of ongoing improvement: a Japanese business philosophy advocating the need for continuous improvement in somebody's personal and professional life
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Entries in Attitude (1)


Rising Above the Negativity

Every day we are bombarded by media images that can negatively impact our mood. From the horrible human suffering caused by natural disasters to continuing job layoffs, or even a run of bad weather, it is difficult to avoid feeling  overwhelmed by the onslaught of negative news.   Some people advocate shutting out the news media entirely and refusing to ingest negative information.  This solution is appealing for its simplicity but  comes at the expense of being out of touch and ill-informed.

The best approach is to train yourself to take in the information but not let it affect your personal outlook on life.  I am not advocating becoming an unfeeling robot.  Empathy is a natural human emotion.  Some even say that empathy is what makes us human.  With that said, you can empathize with the plight of your neighbor without becoming clouded by fear of impending doom.

It is not easy to learn to compartmentalize but it is a skill that can be learned and incorporated in your everyday life.  Try this simple exercise next time you hear some a news story that might bring you down. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is there anything I can do right now to affect the situation depicted in the news story?  If not,
  2. What thoughts can I focus on right now that will move me towards my goals?; and
  3. Is there anything longer term you can do to affect positive change in another’s life?

 In this way you maintain your humanity but are not paralyzed by the ups and downs of the news cycle.