August, 2019


Denial Is A Survival Instinct!

Denial vs positivity; what is the difference and why does it matter?

While it may seem obvious to many of you, denial is actually a pretty subtle and often hidden aspect of our subconscious. Denial is a force all its own and often asserts itself in response to sadness, depression and grief; among other things.

One of things that might tip you off to denial is when you start feeling some negativity or sarcasm around positive mindset memes and affirmations.

You may even find yourself feeling a little bit confused as to why you are getting such a bad reaction to what is supposed to boost joyfulness and positivity!

When you tell yourself that you want to see the glass half full instead of half empty?

In some situations it makes you feel good.

While at other times, it makes you feel unsure of yourself or even bad. 

The reason you might feel bad when you try to see the glass half full is that maybe there is some denial standing between you and positivity.

So right now, imagine the glass half full. How does it make you feel?

Is it possible that denial may be interfering with your ability to enjoy seeing the glass half full?

Denial is mainly a failure to acknowledge the problem that is causing those negative emotions. 

On the other hand, denial can be a useful survival technique. 


For example, If something traumatic happens, you may find yourself using denial to put some distance between you and the horrific event. 

This gives you some time and space to adapt and begin to accept the situation as it is. 

In this situation,  a short period of denial can sometimes be useful.

We’ve all been there and if we haven’t, unfortunately we will. 

Denial is when you hear yourself saying, “everything is fine, this problem does not exist, and I refuse to think about it. I am just going to be happy”.

This kind of attitude actually creates stress and anxiety because underneath that denial, you know the problem is still there.

When you cover up your problems with denial, there is an inner voice that begins trying to get your attention. 

This is where the stress and anxiety can really begin to make your moods swing like crazy!

Empty Playground Swing

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

You may find yourself feeling very negative and even sarcastic about the positivity flooding your news feed!

Something else to consider is that the vast majority of problems can be solved if you take the time to work through them. 

I get that there isn’t always time to immediately deal with every problem that comes up. But it only takes a minute to write the problem down on a list with the intention of dealing with it. 

Schedule some problem solving time every day. Even if it’s only 10 minutes to scribble down some potential solutions! In this way, you are going to neutralize denial and give yourself a sense of empowerment.

There will always be a percentage of problems that don’t have a solution for keeping you in your comfort zone.


It is then necessary to take that positive step of adapting to the circumstance that cannot be changed. 

Isolate the unsolvable aspects of the problem. Then, begin brainstorming solutions for the parts that you have some control over. This simple action will begin to generate self confidence. It allows you to make a plan and follow through to a solution!

This is what gives positive mindset it’s immense power!

With a positive mindset, even traumatic events have a lot less of an impact on you. 

This is because the very first step in developing and maintaining a positive mindset is to acknowledge the bad thing.  

Whether it’s a negative emotion, bad event or a problem that we are facing. 

Whatever it is, denial will never lead to the solution! 

I am perfectly capable of solving any problems that come my way today.


In order to be truly practicing a positive mindset, you begin with an intention to always do the following:


  • Acknowledge the problem
  • Brainstorm potential solutions
  • Decide which solution you will use
  • Create a step by step plan to reach that solution
  • Follow through to the predetermined outcome


This is a positive mindset practice. The reason being that you are beginning with the intention of solving any problems that come your way. This is done without pushing them aside or ignoring them.

Next time you see a meme or positive saying such as “walk on the sunny side of the street”, or “put on a happy face”? 

Remember that this is very good advice, but also that there is a methodology behind it. 

That methodology is necessary in order for it to be truly a positive mindset and not denial. 

Here is an exercise that can really help get the bulk of unsolvable problems off the table. At least long enough to clear your mind and bring some positivity back into perspective. 

  • Use a sheet of lined paper
  • Fold it vertically in half and make a nice, sharp crease.
  • Use the left side to list all the problems you know you can solve
  • Use the right side to list all the problems you know you cannot change
  • Carefully tear or cut the right side of the paper all the way off
  • Read the torn off list one last time.
  • Tear that side up into teeny tiny pieces and make a big production out of it.
    Take it off your plate; flush it down the toilet, burn it or just throw it in the trash.
  • Read the positive list again.
    Read it slowly, imagining how you will feel when you have solved these problems.

Don’t be fooled, this may look a bit like denial when we toss the negative side away. 

But think about it. 

You have identified the problems you have no control over and made the decision to adapt yourself to them. 

This is not denial. It is fully acknowledging the problem and taking action to solve it in the best way possible for you right now.


Positive mindset is not a ‘set it and forget it’ sort of attitude. 


It requires you to keep track of how you handle emotions and circumstances, and correct the course when it starts going off the tracks.

Whether you are looking to:

  • lose some weight
  • develop a fitness regimen
  • start a yoga course
  • change your job or career
  • repair relationships
  • learn to interact socially in a more assertive and confident way 

Ditching denial and embracing positivity will add power and confidence to the equation.

It is healthy to feel empowered and joyful.

Having a sense of control, in even the worst situations is wonderful.

You can use Positive Mindset without denial to empower yourself in any situation. It is even powerful when you don’t know what the problem is yet… before it actually happens! 

A positive mindset is simply acknowledging the negative situation with the confidence of knowing that you can deal with it. It is following up on that confidence by taking the steps of brainstorming possible solutions, choosing the viable options, taking the steps to carry out the solution, and continuing through to a predetermined end result.

I hope the information here, Denial vs Positive Mindset- Whats the Difference and Why Does it Matter, will come in handy the next time you find yourself feeling negative about positivity!

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  1. Anonymous

    Great Video Coach Theresa! I’m looking forward to the Positive Journey ahead!

  2. Alisa

    Thanks Theresa for the reminder. I finally purchased a MacPro yesterday afternoon and last night unexpectedly spent 95 minutes on the phone with AppleCare setting it up. There were a few glitches that required the rep transferring me to a higher level technician. These glitches were due to my not recalling passwords and or user names and even the answers to my security questions. In my mind the technicians that were assisting me were experiencing a very very frustrating and time consuming transaction. When they referred me to perform a specific task, more often than not, I had to ask them to explain what they meant and walk me though it at a more rudimentary level. After 5 minutes into the call, I felt my body stiffen, my shoulders hunch and my pretense of mind contact. Thoughts of long held beliefs began to surface. Shame and incompetence being the two team leaders. I became overly concerned with the impression I thought I was leaving in the technician’s mind. The more certain I was that I was bothersome or annoying, the more forgetful and flustered I became-the longer it took to resolve the problem. My point is this: My arrogance had me believe I knew what the technician was thinking and from that decision for the rest of the call, my fear, doubt and embarrassment took me on a ride for which I bought the ticket. After listening and watching your video,
    I have recognized and owned own my negative thinking and beliefs that not only perpetuated my unease but expanded it to near paralysis of thought during the interaction. Acknowledging that I did not allow compassion for myself and the technician to weave itself into the emotional experience for me is an opportunity to know as long as I am above ground I can begin again. I have no doubt there will be many more opportunities to practice, practice, ptactice. This device is awesome and my appreciation of its awesomeness gives me a glimpse of my own. Thanks you, Thank you, Thank you.

  3. Coach Theresa

    Thank you so much, I see you have joined us. Welcome aboard!

  4. Coach Theresa

    Thanks for your comment Alisa, I am so glad you found the video helpful! We all get a bit overwhelmed by technology, so don’t feel bad about that. I just spent the last 45 minutes with tech and still have to wait for them to figure out what I did wrong, lol.

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