There’s not a person alive who hasn’t had a time of thinking negatively. For some the move from negative to positive can be a real struggle and for others they ‘make it happen.’ Believe it or not there are some skills that we can take on board to help us become more positive. It’s time to come out of that dark cave and see the light.
1. Avoidance is not the answer.
If you are feeling negative ask yourself the why, how, who questions.
Why am I feeling this way? How long has it been going on? Who or what has made me feel this negative? You can only work on something if you see it for what it is and take ownership of your feelings.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Negativity is a practiced process of thinking. It’s time to replace this way of dealing with life’s issues with something more constructive. Implementing more positive thoughts in place of the negative takes practice. It’s time to ‘flip it’ and replace a negative with a positive. ‘The glass is half empty’ is replaced with ‘the glass is half full.’
3. I love me!
Who said that we can’t have a healthy regard for ourselves? Recognise your uniqueness in this world. There is no other person like you, no-one with the same DNA, fingerprints, retina pattern. You are special and deserve to be here and loved. Have a healthy respect for yourself and your place in the scheme of things. Focus on your talents. We all have skills and abilities but when asked to identify them we can often find it difficult. Write a list of your skills/talents…you’ll be surprised, promise. Sometimes we need to enlist the help of friends to identify our strengths which is empowering in itself.
4. Lessons through the generations.
If we look back we can all identify someone in our lives or who came into our lives and made us sit up and take notice. Perhaps it was a family member, friend or mentor. What was it that we admired? Bet it wasn’t their negativity! It may well have been their determination, optimism or their humour. Was it Grandma who reassured you with her kind words…”The sun is going to come up in the morning” or a friend who reminded you “Even above the grey clouds there is light and sunshine.” Accept the wisdom and kindness of friends. Sometimes, it comes to us in the words and actions of strangers. It’s there, something positive, if we just listen and observe.
5. What your body is telling you.
Listen to what your body is telling you. Is there tension in the shoulders, constant headaches, anxiousness, tightness in the chest, feelings of tiredness, a broken sleep pattern? Try this experiment. Find something that brings you pleasure. For example, a video, a passage in a book, a song on youtube, even patting the dog or stroking the cat. How did you feel at the end of doing this? Were you feeling a little lighter? Had your mood lifted? Sometimes we just forget to look for the joy in our lives. With physical tiredness, be aware of your breathing and learn to breathe correctly, deeply and fully. If your health problems persist, make the time to visit your Doctor to rule out anything organic being the culprit. Remember, a positive mindset is your greatest asset to maintain or achieve good health.
6. Expressing Gratitude.
So often we get caught up in the daily grind of life that we forget to take time out to ‘smell the roses.’ There are so many things to be grateful for …good health, a caring partner, wonderful children, a country free from war, a roof over our head. I remember growing up where we all gave thanks for having food on the table. Gratitude needs to be practiced daily. Get into the habit!
7. Get a life.
So often we hear someone say…”I wish he/she would get a life.” There is a lot to be said for self determination. We can add or subtract from our lives. What if we added sharing our interests, visiting a person who is lonely, joining a social club, meeting friends for coffee. Life is about being a participant rather than a spectator. Not that there isn’t room to check the view but being part of life is much more fulfilling. As the saying goes…”What goes around comes around.” What are your interests? Who can you share your passion with?
8. You rescue me, I’ll rescue you.
So many people live their lives in quiet desperation. All it takes is for someone to open the door and let some ray of hope shine through. We are all social beings and it is only by sharing our lives that we can thrive. It’s the old “a problem shared is a problem halved.” So often we ruminate, go around in circles in our head…the same old same old. Time to call ‘time out!’
9. Be inspired, seek wisdom.
Is there someone that brings about a spark of enthusiasm or admiration for you? Who is it and why? What is it that they are doing that makes them stand out from the rest? What qualities can you take on board from them that will enhance your way of being? We all model ourselves on someone over the years. We are a composite of people who have made a difference to us. Just make sure they are positive, caring and supportive in what they do. There’s just such a huge list of remarkable people from all disciplines and walks of life. Apart from members of my family, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and Deborah-Lee Furness, to name but a few, do it for me. Who does it for you?
10. It’s all in the detail.
So often we are caught up with the endless rush of life that we forget to slow down and see the little things like that tree with its splendid golden, autumnal foliage, the old man lovingly walking his dog, or children laughing and playing in the park. It’s very easy to just sleep walk our way through life. There’s nothing wrong with dreams and plans as we all need those. However, we do need to ‘pay attention’ to the beauty that surrounds us in the here and now. Let’s live in the moment.
11. Feel the pain and do it anyway.
It’s very natural to want to avoid psychological/emotional pain, but in doing so we often just place our issues/sadness on the back burner and there it sits and simmers. One could, for example, liken it to a festering sore. What if we just examined it? How did it happen, what was the damage done, what have I done to attend to the wound/pain. Often, for a wound to heal, it has to be examined, cleaned and regular fresh dressings added to allow healing to occur. So it is with the events that cause psychological/emotional pain in our lives. Meditation, acknowledging the physical sensations, the emotions that arise, and knowing that we can bear the pain and survive is what will help us to live and thrive. The practice of Mindfulness uses such processes with great results.
12. I’ve got the power.
Let’s not forget that we all possess amazing power(s). To nurture and encourage growth of our powers we need to avoid negative influences. If a plant is starved of nutrient and deprived of water, it dies. So it is with our sense of self and our powers. We require positive energy to help us grow. Use your power of selectiveness to choose wisely. Listen to your inner voice. Use the wise adult in you to protect and defend the vulnerable (child) within you. Imagine a time where you are confronted with negative, destructive forces. What would you do to protect the child within? The defender within us needs to be activated. This is a very powerful tool. Over time you will limit your exposure to negative influences by choice.
13. Did you hear the one about…
It is absolutely essential to maintain a sense of humour, to see the funny side of life and to be able to laugh at ourselves. I’m not suggesting that we become clowns and mask our emotions but simply to gain a healthy sense of the lighter moments in life. By laughing at ourselves we develop the ability to inoculate against the more negative moments that happen in life.
14. Letting Go and When to Quit – and knowing the difference.
No, they’re not the same. It is about priorities and outcomes. As we go through our life stages, the people that we knew from our teen years may no longer meet our needs as we go into our adult years. There is the recognition that we all develop life skills at different rates. Part of this is using a selective rationale to re-assess where we are at in life. As there are toxic relationships, we need to recognise that there are also saboteurs who will endeavour to impede our progress or stifle our dreams. Is it worth the struggle to keep and maintain negative influences in our life? There are degrees in between the letting go and quitting options. This is the time where value judgements are made. Is there going to be regret or freedom to live the life you want? Consider the words of Kenny Rogers’ song “The Gambler.” We all need a code that we can live by.
Grant me the ability to trust in and attract positive people into my life.
Help me form strong bonds and nurture healthy relationships.
With your help I will set appropriate boundaries, recognise Negativity and banish it from my life.
Lastly, help me to gain wisdom and understanding as I travel my own special path in life.
15. Close the chapter.
Our life is made up of so many chapters. We each have our own book of experiences and the decision on how we conclude each chapter. Is there a message to be taken through to the next chapter? What were the character’s roles? As a book needs to progress so do we. Do we move forward to an exciting new chapter or keep going back and revisiting chapters of our past? Wouldn’t it be good if we could go back and re-write those chapters that left us feeling rejected and exhausted previously. We can reframe the events that form the basis of our book and its conclusion. There is always space for books 1, 2, 3. We are the masters of our own life script.
16. Challenges, not hurdles.
There is power in words, and so it goes with thought. If we look at life as a series of challenges, a venture into an often unpredictable terrain, it requires us to be creative in how we negotiate our way. With careful preparation we will always find our true, intended destination. Be prepared to take a map with you on your journey. Find books, allies, anything that will help you through the challenges. Be assured that there are others who have gone before you and made it successfully to their destination. Get the best maps, guides and equipment. Plan your trip as best you can, be prepared as best you can. Stay informed, remain vigilant for hazards and changes in conditions along the way. We live in times where there has never been more information available at our finger tips, so utilize your resources.
17. Do the possible.
There’s a quote by Francis of Assisi. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Life is about baby steps, followed by jogging, then going for the sprint. Start by doing little things, something out of your comfort zone each day or if that’s too radical once a week. In a year that’s fifty two changes to your life. It doesn’t have to be gigantic, just something little. Little changes lead to major shifts. Forget about getting the timing right because if we wait for that we will never make a move. Give it a go, you can do it. Trust yourself.
“There’s no passion to be found in playing small –
in settling for a life that is less than the one you
are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
18. Life’s battle scars.
We all have our share of battle scars. Wear them with pride. As we age we all begin to look like patchwork quilts. Life throws so much our way. We have physical and emotional scars. We are survivors! Recognise that each challenge you have met has made you unique and stronger. Yes, stronger. No one has exactly the same scars that you have. You rose to meet the challenges head on, sometimes in the battle you were knocked down, yet somehow you found the determination to get up and fight. Bravo!! Remember the warrior within you. Be prepared to stand your ground, but sometimes you need to strategically fall back to re-group. Through the many confrontations we gain additional skills. We become wiser in more ways than we can ever count. In the process of living we begin to select allies and those we can count on should life become too confronting. Again, we need to choose carefully.
19. Positives – your shopping list.
Time to go shopping! Your list is to be very special as it contains your strategies and weaponry to remain positive. What helps you to stay focused on the positives? Does it contain positive people’s details, inspirational stories, books, a fitness regimen, a quiet place to retreat to and reflect. Keep adding to your list. Use visual and auditory cues.
20. I’ve got the music in me.
Pick a song as your ‘theme song’ and memorize its words. Make it powerful, make it personal. And finally, never lose sight of the wonder of life and beauty of music. Keep dancing and moving to the music. Both are as old as time and a part of the rich, rewarding tapestry of life.