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Put a Time Limit on Negativity

Time is in such short supply. The sooner we appreciate its value, the better life becomes.
Author: Dr. Andrea Dinardo
2 years ago
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When I was a kid, my mom set the egg timer for almost everything we did; whether it was how long we spent doing our homework, weeding the garden, watching television, or complaining about life’s challenges.

Passing versus Permanent Difficulties

Setting a time limit helped us understand that nothing lasts forever – good or bad.

This was especially important when we felt helpless over things, we did not have control over, including chores we did not want to do.

Full disclosure: My mom is a psychologist too.

Energy and Emotional Awareness

The egg timer (principle) can be applied to how often we feel negative versus positive throughout the day. Venting our negative emotions feels good “in the moment”, but when it goes on too long, the costs outweigh the benefits.

Too often we complain about stressors for hours beyond the momentary challenge has passed. Leaving little time in the day for appreciation, wonder, and gratitude.

Then one day we wake up and realize that life is too short to be all negative, all the time. Even (especially) when life gets tough.

Respecting Other People’s Boundaries

Setting time limits also taught us to respect how our words and actions impact others.

We learned the importance of asking permission before sharing our problems and difficulties. Boundaries go both ways, and few people have the capacity to listen seven days of the week.

Timer Motivation Technique

To this day I set a timer on the microwave or my cellphone. A simple, yet effective way to motivate myself through tedious tasks and become more mindful of time itself.

Final Thoughts

Negativity is to be expected. It’s part of the human experience. The question is – how long will you stay there?

Share your challenges. Share your obstacles. Share your difficulties. But also leave room for what’s good in your life.


Psychology Reflection Questions

  1. Is negativity something you consciously pay attention to?
  2. Is positivity something you consciously pay attention to?
  3. Do you focus more on time or energy throughout the day?
  4. Who or what drains you? Who or what energizes you?
  5. What is your energy level on a scale of 1 to 10 right now?

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