Appreciative Thinking: An inspired approach to changing your everyday experiences

As human beings we instinctively have a natural default setting for negativity bias, meaning we remember, ruminate, and focus on negative experiences more than positive experiences. Our brains are hardwired to protect us from threats, whether real or perceived. This fact makes it harder for us to approach daily, stressful, uncomfortable, or boring experiences with a positive attitude and response. We do have a choice though on how we show up and how we choose to adjust our thinking to change our response.

There are three main mindset approaches that determine our behavior and in turn the outcomes of our interactions.

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Depreciative Mindset (often our default):

    • focus on the negative, the problem, the what if’s that are unproductive.
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Neutral Mindset:

    • no real focus, status quo, avoid change and accept things as is. No effort to change or improve.
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Appreciative Mindset:

    focus on the positive, intentional choices to look for value in experiences and interactions.

Appreciative thinking can change our attitude which in turn changes how we perceive the world, the lens we look through daily. By changing our approach, we can change not only our individual experiences but the experiences of those we interact with at work, at home, and at play. It has been proven that a depreciative mindset negatively affects our mental and physical health and shortens our lifespan. Appreciative thinking is an easy, immediately available approach that can positively impact your short- and long-term life experiences and relationships.

If you are interested in learning more, The Alliance for Justice Innovation ( has developed a video that provides more detail on Appreciative Thinking and how to implement this approach, along with a tool for applying an appreciative lens to your daily interactions.

Appreciative Thinking Video: Click Here

“Applying an Appreciative Lens” Template: Click Here