I have an easy resolution proposition for you: say nice things.

We’ve all heard the mantra “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”, but what about this lesser known, but infinitely more positive concept: “If you think nice things about someone, tell them.”

Our society is overwhelmed with information, media, opinion and punditry, so there’s no shortage of negative things to talk about or criticism to be shared. This onslaught of criticism-laced information-overload is training our brains to approach daily life with indifference, apathy and negativity. So it’s time to do a little brain training — a New Year’s regimen of building up our positive thinking muscles and then flexing them where it matters.

We often have positive thoughts about other people. We reflect on something nice that someone did, an achievement someone has earned or progress someone has made on a personal or professional goal. And we think about how we are impressed by that, or how we feel proud of them, or that their action inspired us. But we don’t tell them.

In a culture that is fighting an uphill battle against negativity, the simplest antidote is positivity. The more we reinforce and acknowledge positive actions in others, the more that motivates people to continue down a positive path. Your simple words of encouragement, kindness or acknowledgement will have a big impact for the person on the receiving end.

It’s a powerful practice that costs nothing more than a few moments of your time. So what’s stopping you? If you think that your words aren’t worthy of the recipient or that they wouldn’t be interested in hearing from you – you’re wrong. Everyone likes to be acknowledged or have their actions positively reinforced.

When someone does something that makes a positive impression on you, tell them so. It may be a few kind words in the hallway with a co-worker, an email to a colleague, or in a <gasp!> hand-written note to a friend. Perhaps you want to thank a speaker or author who inspired you — send them an email. When you think nice thoughts about someone else, have those thoughts create lasting impact by actively sharing them with the other person.

We all need a shot in the arm every now and then, and receiving positive reinforcement from a friend, colleague or even a stranger, is a wonderful antidote to the negativity that bombards us and, at times, feels like it might consume us.

So this year, when you think something nice about someone, share that nice thing with that someone. Take an active part in the positivity and kindness revolution. Resolve to share your positive thoughts about others. It will strengthen your own positivity muscles. And there’s no gym membership required.

~ Maureen Douglas, CPF-IAF

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