It’s time for a positive choice
If I were to ask you how positive you decided to be today, on a scale of 1-10, where would you fit?
If you’re not in the right head space, all the talk these days around the importance of being positive can make you feel, well, downright negative. If you’ve got nothing to feel positive about, stop pushing it. Am I right? Not everything is sunshine and lollipops, and not everyone is Pollyanna.
I’m going to let you in on a secret – most people don’t just wake up feeling positive. They make a CHOICE to approach their day with a positive attitude. And before you assume it’s probably easy for those people to be positive because their lives are perfect, don’t mix up perfect for positive – they’re not the same thing.
Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean everything in your life is perfect. It’s about how you decide to approach your day, how you decide to approach the challenges that come up. Some of the most positive people I know are people who are facing some really difficult situations in their lives.
What’s the big deal about positivity?
“A small positive thought can have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome.” Tiny Buddha
Other than feeling better and happier about yourself and your life, thinking more positively can have real, tangible health benefits.
According to the Mayo Clinic and positivity researcher (yes, there is such a thing), Barbara Fredrickson, optimism and positivity can improve:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Stronger resistance to the common cold
- Cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Coping skills in stressful situations
- Overall psychological and physical well-being
I’m not here to suggest that positively can outright cure every medical issue with your physical and mental health, but research shows that it can have a substantial impact.
There’s no negative side to trying to look on the bright side of life a little more often. What’s the worst that could happen? You could actually feel a little better? Compare that to continuing to allow negativity to frolic through your life – there’s zero chance of feeling better.
Hang up on the negative self-talk
It goes without saying that the brain is an amazingly powerful tool. But sometimes the brain uses its power for evil, instead of good. Like negative self-talk.
It can happen before you know it. It starts with a little feeling, maybe just a small edginess. Before you even realize what’s happened, you’re completely under siege by negative thinking.
Negativity can be both emotionally and physically draining. It’s also a vicious cycle – the more you think negative thoughts, the stronger and more powerful they can feel.
Before long, this toxic and deceptive emotion is holding you back from moving toward happiness, from living the kind of life you really want.
The truth is, often there is no truth to our negative thoughts. They’re just figments of our anxiety, fear, and hurt. Most of the time, our negative thoughts are not based in reality at all. It’s just the evil villain of our brains trying to cause chaos.
Joffrey Suprina, Dean of the College of Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University says, “Most negative thoughts aren’t conscious, we’re not even aware of them.”
In order to battle negative thoughts, you need to recognize them when they strike, before they can do much damage. What things trigger your negative thoughts? Is it certain people, websites, magazines? For me, I find my negative thoughts gain power from watching the news!
So, now that we’ve identified the boogeyman of negative thoughts, what can we do this month to interact with them less, to weaken their power?
How to bring more positivity into your life
The best way to bring more positivity in your life is actually quite simple: do more of what makes you feel good and less of what makes you feel bad.
Time in your garden? A few stolen moments alone in your favourite coffee shop? A walk in the park? A chat with your best friend? Smile … yes a simple smile will bring positivity!
I know, you’re busy. We all use busyness as an excuse for why we don’t make time for what we enjoy. But if we ignore and resist the things that make us happy, we’ll never be able to battle negativity.
The point of life is not to suffer; life is to savour.
So where do we start?
1) Good Morning!
It is true that how you start your morning can determine the tone for the rest of the day. Have you wakened up late and everything you do seems like it is rushed and unclear? This is because you started off on a negative note and that carried into a negative thought for the rest of your day. Mornings can be hectic, no doubt. So what small changes can you make to bring more calm and order to your morning so you’re primed for a more positive day, no matter what might get thrown your way later?
2) Play & Create More
Doing more of what you love and exploring your creativity is a great way to encourage more positive feelings. Block time in your calendar to explore, create, and experiment.
3) Talk to Yourself
It sounds a little funny, but what if instead of being hard on yourself, you become your number one motivator! It could be as simple as, “I am going to have a great day!” If perhaps you make a mistake or something goes sideways later, think of it as “I really learned a lot from that” rather than letting it defeat you.
4) It’s OK to Fake It
When you feel nervous, worried or a little low, faking it by smiling and acting confident tricks our mind into feeling positive. Amazingly, this physiological reaction takes place even when the smile you put on is ‘fake.’ Before you know it, that ‘fake’ feeling has transformed into ‘for realz’.
5) Find your Positive Tribe
A toxic situation is one of the biggest influencers in negative thinking. Did you know that stress is contagious? In the same way, if we surround ourselves with positive thinkers, we can be propelled into feeling much brighter! So evaluate your tribe and spend more time with the positive ones, as they will be the ones who help encourage you.
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” – The Buddha
How will you start bringing more positivity in your life?