Psychologist Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, one of Sharecare’s top 10 online influencers in the area of depression, helps people learn to take the lemons that life hands them and not only make lemonade but build a lemonade stand. The key? Focus on the positive.
Negative thoughts are much more powerful than positive ones, says Tomasulo. They’re so powerful, in fact, that it takes three positive thoughts to counter one negative thought and reach the tipping point—the point at which your brain chemistry changes, and along with it, your perspective. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, you start looking at is as completely full—half filled with water, and half filled with air.
Sound impossible? One of Tomasulo’s favorite strategies for reaching the tipping point takes no longer than brushing your teeth. First thing in the morning or last thing at night, take two minutes to do this:
Even in the midst of some of the worst things in life—a divorce, the sudden death of a spouse or parent—lie opportunities for gratitude, says Tomasulo. Learning how to pay attention to the good things that happen is essential. It’s one of the skills he teaches students at his Power of Positive Being workshop at Kripalu, a health and yoga center in Western Massachusetts. The workshop also includes exercises in kindness and forgiveness, both proven to help lift spirits and forge a brighter outlook.
Tomasulo also shared with us:
His career focus: Absorbing all the latest research on positive psychology and helping people apply it.
His next book: In progress, on the power of positive being.
The fastest way to stop feeling depressed: Do something kind for someone else.
Insider secret: People think therapists have it all figured it out. In fact, they have the same problems and issues as other people—that’s why many of them become therapists.
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File under: Expert Spotlight