Oh no, not another article on positivity and optimism! But wait. This one has YOU on the cover. Bet you never imagined that you’d be a cover star, especially on “Living Better” Magazine.
Well, chill. There’s no need to rush to the make-up mirror. You see, there really isn’t a “Living Better” Magazine. And you really aren’t on the cover.
But let’s pretend it’s January, 2018. One year from now. Let’s pretend that you receive a call from the Editor of this magazine, “Living Better,” with a request for an interview.
“Last year, in January 2017, you were feeling pretty miserable, unhappy, stressed out, full of worry, anxiety, and self-loathing. Now, well, you’ve turned it all around. We want to put you on our cover and have you tell everyone what in the world you did to go from being filled with negativity, hopelessness, and worthlessness to a shining example of living well, with true joy, self-satisfaction and self-acceptance.”
Oh no! What do you tell them you did from January 2017 to January 2018? Relax. Let me offer you my best-in-class, curated transformational coaching tools that will equip you with solid, quotable responses to our mythical editor.
How To Think Better To Live Better
1. Prevent stress entirely, don’t waste energy managing it.
It was Marcus Aurelius, the great Stoic philosopher, who observed:
“Everything we see is perspective, not the truth.”
Think about this. It means that, of course, events occur in our lives that we’d prefer didn’t happen. But do we know if these events and situations are really harmful, OR do they just appear that way?
You see, I never experience stress because my lens helps me see that everything happens FOR me, not TO me. I don’t Demand, Insist, or Expect (D.I.E.) that life events happen differently than they do (though I may fully prefer they would).
I have unconditional life acceptance. View the events in your life in a C.A.L.M. way: Catch your thoughts, Accept them, Learn from them, and Magnify your inhaling. This is how you begin to think better.
Manage stress? Ugh. What a waste of time. Through the lens I’m suggesting, you can truly be stress-free. “What, Me, Worry?” can be your new mantra if Alfred E. Neumann allows you to borrow it.
2. Delete the negative and invest in positive – people, that is.
There are two kinds of people we bump into in our lives. There are those that thrust and lift us, AND those who drag on us and weigh us down. What are you getting out of spending time with the latter? Would you fly in a plane that had lots of drag pushing it back and weight pushing it down? Sure hope not.
Think better for yourself by investing in positive people. Nicely, respectfully, lighten your journey to assure you land safely and where you had planned. Our social media geniuses understand the need to un-friend, block and un-follow others.
You wouldn’t rent space in your home to a dangerous, potentially harmful, highly contagious ill person would you? Why invite and house them into your mind?
3. Know your beliefs, your thoughts, and feed those that advance you.
Our by now good friend, Marcus Aurelius, also observed:
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
The link (to all good in life) is to think better – that’s my observation. Since you have the power over your mind, you can catch, challenge, and change your negative thoughts, the central path to helping you reach your destiny. Events, conditions, situations and people have NO impact on your feelings. Only your thoughts about those outside events create your emotions.
When you begin asking yourself, “What was I thinking that made me feel this way?” you will come to know your thoughts. Your self-talk would be able to nurture, sow, and feed thoughts that promote and advance you.
Delete and change those erroneous thoughts that fool you into thinking there are limits outside of your mind. Even those who stop you shouldn’t be allowed to stop you. Only YOU do.
4. Spend time growing your self-compassion. It’s survival, not selfishness.
OK, I really hate to do this but again, Marcus observed:
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”
Kristin Neff, Ph.D.’s research demonstrated that when we grow in our self-compassion, we see ourselves more clearly. That in turn fuels our ability to reach our destiny.
When you fly with children, you are always instructed to “put the mask on yourself first.” That’s not selfish. That’s smart.
How can you help others if you aren’t fully well? Being hard on yourself, being your own worst heckler, won’t help your health and longevity. It only creates discontent, anxiety, despair, and anger. Survival requires a much healthier response to life. Choose to think better about yourself.
5. Slow down, live in the moment and learn to respond – not react – to daily life.
Unless you live in a dream, you don’t have the opportunity to have the same moment twice in life. Every moment passes.
It’s not unusual to wish you treasured and savored many more of your life’s moments than you did. There is no replay, no rewind. With so many distractions tugging at us IRL and digitally, our ability to function effectively has been sorely compromised.
Get this. You have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts floating in your mind daily. And with 95 percent of those thoughts the same ones you had yesterday, and 80 percent of our habitual thoughts being negative, well, you can see why we can barely make healthy decisions.
The best thing you can do for yourself is slow down your mind and create mindfulness, NOT a mind full of nonsense. How? No need for robes, incense, sitting cross-legged, and humming a mantra. No, just breathe deeply, focusing on inhaling.
A recent study found that while we inhale, our brains activate positive emotions, memory, and even smell, which helps control our mood and instincts. Take more deep breaths, particularly inhaling, and your brain will do the work you need to help you make better decisions, curtail self-destructive thinking, and help you respond – not rapidly and often incorrectly react – to life’s events.
Congratulations on your first cover story! Now that you’ve told the Editor how you got to think better to feel better to live better for 2018, use this as your game plan for 2017. You’ve just thought backwards from the future!