When we are told to “think more positively” you may first feel that it isn’t so easy, how do you think “positive?” What does it mean to be “more positive?”
At times you may feel being told to “think positively” is as patronising as someone saying “just snap out of it!” However the power of positive thoughts changes our lives to become meaningful, leaves us feeling better about ourselves and the world around us.
I started to learn how to think more positive after years of negative, debilitating beliefs about who I was and the events that occurred in my life. I’d search for hope in reading my horoscope every day. I would tell myself, “I bet something bad is going to happen today” or “Nothing good is going to happen to me”. I would indulge in meaningless friendships and relationships hoping the world would love me enough so that I could love myself.
But then it hits you, reality that is.When you realise that nobody is ever going to love you like you can love you. Though there are some good actors we meet along the way, who may say they love you, which may well be true; the love doesn’t compare to the love you have to give yourself. I got to a point in my teenage years where I was fed up of feeling so negative, feeling destructive. So I changed. I didn’t have to force myself, 10 years on I still remember the exact feeling of waking up one morning, with a pull in my stomach (similar to our gut instincts we often get) which made me want to be different and to feel different. I didn’t want to feel negative, be seen to be “the depressed girl”, so I made positive changes in my life, which still have to be practised even today – as taking care of yourself is an everlasting process.
I post regularly on social media about being more positive, but I rarely suggest how. Knowing where to start your journey to thinking more positively can begin with these steps:
Finding a Positive in Every Negative
This is the hardest thing to do if you have never tried it before or you have lived your life a certain way for so many years. For instance, the older a person gets the more stuck in their ways they are. My grandparents and parents can at times be negative (although they call it realistic!) I believe it is because they are from a different generation where thinking positively wasn’t really brought to their attention, they just got on with life, accepting it for what it is. Therefore it is harder to change the thought patterns.
However, in the world we live in today, with depression and anxiety being more prevalent than previous years, finding the good in the bad is necessary for everyday life survival. When something you consider to be “negative” occurs in your life, ask yourself;
- What good can come from this situation?
- Is this situation comparable to a life event such as death?
- How can I make something of this situation?
Lets put it into context, if you experience a marriage or relationship breakdown. The person you love no longer loves you. You cant seem to understand why. Though this is heartbreaking and potentially a situation likely to put you into a state of depression, you have to look at what can be gained from this experience because it is either doing one of two things;
- helping you to learn something about yourself i.e. a trait you have
- making room in your life for what is your true destiny
Take a more light-hearted example; you gave a speech at work which went a little off track. You are feeling slightly embarrassed. Ask yourself, what did you learn from the experience? Why did it happen? What went well with the speech? Did it make anyone laugh? If your mishap created a little bit of joy for someone, see that as your “good deed” of the day. You never know the inner battles humans face, you could have been the only thing that happened to them that day that put a smile on their face. so when a negative event happens tell yourself;
“Although the experience may be at my expense, if it brought another person happiness of some kind, I can take comfort in the fact I have helped to create joy in another soul”
The Power of Your Thoughts
Everything that you are is a result of what you have thought, said my old friend Buddha. This couldn’t be more true. As a teenager I always told myself I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t believe I was, so my actions was exactly that of someone who doesn’t appear to believe they are good enough. Your thoughts are not who you are. If you listen to every thought you have, we would be a million different people at one time. To structure your thoughts consider this;
- Choose your thoughts each morning – if you have become conditioned to believe you are not good enough or that you are depressed, then that is exactly what you will continue to think, that is what you will be each day. Even if it seems crazy to you to say to yourself every morning “today I am going to choose happiness” just do it! It takes the same amount of energy to tell yourself you aren’t good enough every morning, as it does to tell yourself you ARE good enough. Practice this for 12 hours (however long you are awake)
- Alternate your vocabulary. Select your words carefully by switching from a debilitating choice of words to something empowering. For example, “I am
notgood enough” “I will neverbe that smart” “I am notpretty” “ Nosomeone loves me” “I’m sickhappy to be alive” – delete those negative words straight out your life. I Am are two very powerful words, whatever follows those words is your reality
Physical Environment (including people)
To keep your environment positively inspiring is essential when breeding positivity. Have a deep and thorough cleanse of anything in your environment which gives you a dull feeling. It could be the smallest of things i.e. the colour of your walls. If you are a negative thinker, but want to be more positive, painting your room black isn’t the best thing to do when seeking a positive life. Colour therapy is powerful. I have a lot of warm oranges and pastel tones around to create a feeling of joy and peace. You might have a wardrobe that takes up a lot of space in your room, making you feel trapped or suffocated. If you can, make some space, a smaller wardrobe for example. Even painting your wardrobe white as the colour white can give the illusion of space and openness.
Change something in your environment to create new feelings, if you have to keep positive slogans and quotes around your house then please do so. I love having positive inspiring quotes around. Usually if you find it hard telling yourself to “remain positive” then keep a reminder around the house, on your phone, on a key ring or on your desk at work (as your work environment is equally important as your home environment)
To be more positive, you may have to distance yourself from the energy drainers. Whilst you embark upon your journey to a positive life, you will lose some things which may have been with you for a long time i.e. people. You don’t have to end a friendship or relationship which then causes you to be on a bad terms with them, but you will find naturally as you seek new things for yourself, not everybody will want or be ready for that. Some people also find comfort in misery, they subconsciously like the idea of drama or negative events because they feel better about their own inability to be more positive. Drop the baggage.
If you want to be more positive you have to practice everyday. If you wanted to run a marathon, you would have to train beforehand, you practice your running technique so you are well prepared. It is the same as wanting to be more positive, nothing improves without dedicating time and effort. Rethink your daily habits, see what you can amend. Think about this:
- When you wake up, what is your morning routine? If your mornings are busy, draining and make you feel as though you don’t want to get out of bed. Something MUST change immediately. If for example, you live in a toxic relationship, are a busy Mum, feel you have no purpose in your life or you simply feel empty – introduce a new healthy habit into your life. This could be waking up a little earlier so you can start your day with time to yourself. Giving yourself some time to do something you haven’t done before is an example of you creating a new life. You may decide to start a new hobbie such as exercise, yoga, reading a new book or even getting a head start on rearranging your environment to something a little more inspiring!
- Look at the habits you have during the day that don’t make you feel good. For example if by midday you feel a surge of negative emotions and thoughts overwhelm you, observe what you were doing right before this occurred. If you weren’t doing anything, it is more than likely boredom has got to you. The brain is made for creativity and imagination. The worst use of your brain is keeping it inactive. Consider what you could be doing with your time instead of letting yourself become bored. On the other hand if a person has caused negative feelings within you, it is time for you to break the cycle. At some point you have to decide how much longer you are going to kill yourself slowly to keep another person alive. Breaking the cycle isn’t easy, but it can start with empowering yourself and your thoughts. Rebuilding who you are, starts in your mind. Nobody can see or hear your thoughts, you have complete control over them – you are in control, you have the power.
- Nighttime routines have the power to create a positive morning. What we hold in our hearts as we sleep, we feel in our dreams and wake up with. Keep a journal or notepad of affirmations to read before sleeping. Telling yourself something good will help you sleep with a smile on your face, you’ll give a sigh of relief and find some peace in your heart. You should definitely have the time to read one affirmation every night so “not having time” can’t be an excuse. Keep them short and simple, you can start by using your two special opening words “I Am… then finish the sentence off with whatever you want to be more of i.e.
“I am positive, hopeful, good enough and valued”