“Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! You hear them say. Be positive bro, think positive babe…it will all work out!”
But how do we do it…
Like you, me too, was told just the same. So much so; that being positive seemed to be the new age mantra for being successful. I was a believer. I did just that…I sat positive, I walked positive, I talked positive. I thought positive. So much so that I was sure that my blood group B+ve was no longer just a coincidence.
And it was all hunky dory at first…I was positive and I got what I wanted. Then came a turn in my life when I set my eyes upon my dream job and as a bonus even met my dream man. As I set out singing my ‘don’t worry be happy’ song…one day; two days, ten days, 20 months rolled over into 10 years. Neither did I get my dream job nor did it work out with my dream man! Sigh! More like a nightmare. Then came the hard part…the part they don’t tell you much about.
The staying positive part!
It took many more years before I reconciled with my dreams and learned to dream big again. Today; we life coaches, therapists and individuals in similar streams of work are often expected to have it all worked out, always with it, wise, together, and evolved. Am I? Yes, I am. Mostly. And that is solely because over the years I have more resources available in my tool box of different techniques which I dig into rather than drown myself into self-sabotage. Yet, do I ALWAYS have it all worked out? Do I wake up each morning skipping with joy, smiling into the sun and singing to the birds? Not exactly; I have my days too. We all do.
These then are 3 ways which can help us along this journey of keeping the mind focused and aligned with positivity:
Activate the delete button to your brain.
When you cannot stop from thinking negative.
When you’ve been faced with too many setbacks, back to back and see the glass half-empty rather than half full….say; ‘delete’ (or erase /backspace /rewind, whatever resonates with you)… and rephrase immediately. It’s time to declare a boycott. Take a stand. Start a revolution in your head by recognizing that the thought patterns you’re living with are not welcome. Stop them. Evict them. The point being that if cannot stop yourself BEFORE thinking negative. Stop yourself after.
You may be tempted to find this silly or childish. But don’t. Do it. Trust that there is unbelievable power in this recognition and in making the decision that something is no longer okay.
P.S. I repeat the word delete in my head… until I am mentally satisfied that it’s completely trashed. Carefully and positively reframe thereafter.
Catch positivity and latch onto it.
When you find it really hard to stay positive on your own.
Seek help. Seek inspiration. You may find it in reading a collection of quotes, in a song, in a book, in a blog, poem or an article, whatever motivates you. Latch onto that one thing which gives you just enough to help you hang in there for that one more day. Some may find that solace in prayer. Some in a bit of all. The brain cannot differentiate between the imaginary and the real. If you imagine positivity; it is very likely you will find the strength to bring it back in your reality.
P.S. I collect encouraging quotes.
Reach out to a real/virtual friend
When you feel you’ve hit rock bottom.
Often times all we need in order to pick ourselves back up again is empathy. Somebody who cares to hear our story, somebody who can be that shoulder to cry on; that hand you can hold; who’ll willingly lend you their spine. Reach out to that person today. Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness but a show of strength. And for some reason if no one in your life currently fits that bill, reach out to a stranger. Someone with a fresh perspective, who doesn’t know all your baggage, who will just listen without judging. Nowadays, social media has put a new dimension to friendship and support groups – find one today. The emotional support of friendship leads to better health through positive effects on both body and mind.
P.S. I reach out to my husband. He came, albeit 10 years later but I’m pretty positive, staying positive helped him get there!