As we’ve discussed, the sheer discomfort of chronic pain often results in negative thought patterns. One form these thoughts can take is to ignore, dismiss, or otherwise not be aware of anything remotely positive about this situation, whatever it may be. With or without your knowledge, you end up focusing all your conscious attention and energy on the negative aspects of the situation. For example, you hear from ten people how well you seem to be doing, while a single person tells you, for whatever reason, that you don’t seem to be doing well. Rather than believe the ten people with positive views, you are certain that the one negative perspective is correct. In addition to feeding your negativity, this can also serve the self-defeating purpose of confirming what you believe about yourself—that you are not doing well. We find evidence in real events to support the position we’ve already taken. In order to counteract this and reestablish balanced thinking, it is essential to keep in mind that nearly all situations and events have both positive and negative characteristics. Sometimes you may have to look a little harder or even do some work to locate the positive, but if you search for it, you will find it. Something else you can do to counteract this form of thinking is to identify things or people you are grateful for. Practicing expressing gratitude can improve mood and measurably increase the experience of happiness. This blog post is an excerpt from Pain Recovery – How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Frank Szabo, LADC, Daniel Shiode, PhD, Robert Hunter, PhD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).