Positivity takes Practice!
I’ve been reading a lot lately about the value of shifting perspective – seeing the positive – focusing on what you want more of. Well… yeah! In theory… that sounds great! The actual changing of perspective in the moment is where I tend to get a little stuck. How about you?
So, I was thinking today about how that shifting in the moment happens… or doesn’t happen, as the case may be. Most everyone I know, myself included, find the negative aspects of any situation so much more compelling and convincing than the positive. It is so much easier to believe that something is not going to work out than to believe that it is. Why is that? I happen to believe that what we think, believe, tell ourselves, focus on… is what we get more of and what we tend to see in our lives. Why, then, do I not force myself to focus on the positive aspects of life more often? Why do I find myself still getting stuck in negativity and frustration?
Maybe it’s like so many other things that I struggle with… knowing is not doing! Just because I know that exercise is really good for me does not mean I do it every day. Even though it makes me feel better and has a direct positive correlation with my health and well-being. Perhaps mental thinking, just like physical exercise, is an asset that takes discipline. If I just casually hope that I get in some exercise every day, it rarely happens. If, however, I schedule it in… get some support from friends and family… check-in with myself on how I’m doing regularly… well, then I have a chance of it happening consistently.
So, the next question I have to ask myself is, “How do I schedule mental positivity into my day?” I do think that a daily gratitude ritual is a good start. Whether it’s acknowledging what you’re thankful for as you wake up in the morning… journaling about what you are grateful for at the close of the day… or making a point of acknowledging someone who you’re thankful for – there are so many ways to bring awareness to your blessings and gratitude. Involve other people. Share your appreciation.
Another strategy is to practice acceptance. Of course you’ll need and want it most when it’s the hardest to practice! So… to get the hang of it, practice when you don’t need it. Part of loving your life means accepting what is real for you in this moment. Now, to some of you that may sound like a major compromise. “Accepting” can come across as putting up with or settling. When in fact, one definition of the term acceptance is, “the act of taking something that is offered.” When I can take what is offered in this moment, there is no longer resistance to that something and it is then able to be released. It’s the opposite of repression… it is expression in a positive, non aggressive manner. “I accept and allow this feeling.” “It’s ok that I’m feeling xxx right now.” “Even though I am feeling xxx right now, I totally and completely accept myself.” Practice… check in with yourself throughout the day and notice how your body responds and shifts with the acknowledgement and release of these feelings.
Finally, one last strategy is to practice with specific issues that are bugging you. It can be hard to shift to that ‘glass half full’ mentality in the moment, when you are feeling frustrated. It’s easier to attempt to apply the shift when you are somewhat removed. Think about something in your life that was very difficult. Looking back, are there ways that you gained as a result of that situation? Take a few moments during the day to think about an issue you’re struggling with. Imagine yourself 10 years down the road looking back on this particular time. With that distance, from that perspective, what are you able to appreciate about this situation? What have you gained as a result of having this experience? Let yourself be creative… don’t censor – just play with it.
Schedule some time to shift your perspective. Get support from family and friends where you can. Check in with yourself and take time in this moment to give thanks. When you work on your mental fitness… just like your physical fitness… you will see great gains over time.
Love and laughter. ~Rashel