Will Hart of the University of Alabama conducted several experiments to determine how the way a person expresses or retells emotionally charged past events effects the storytellers mood. The four experiments involved asking participants to recall positive, negative and neutral events, reports the Association for Psychological Science.
Results of the study concluded that when a past negative event is described as though it were still happening – or in the present tense – participant’s moods remained negative. When describing the event as though it had already occurred – or in the past tense – the participants felt more positive. The same held true of describing positive events that have occurred in the past, with the present tense preserving the positive feeling.
The study by Will Hart, which will appear in a future issue of Psychological Science, concluded that one way to alleviate negative feelings is to phrase any discussion of negative events in the past tense, while using the present tense to describe positive events.
This appears to confirm the practice of New Age followers of the Law of Attraction that encourages participants to phrase dreams and goals in the present tense, as though they have already been achieved.