When something goes wrong in someone’s life, we often hear people say things like “you have to stay positive”, “there is always a silver lining”. These are words of encouragement that we offer those who are afflicted with a tragedy, a loss or sometimes when things just don’t go the way as planned. But what is “Positive thinking”?
“positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to growth, expansion and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. It is strategy that can be used to make you feel good about yourself.”
It is a mere perception on things that happened, is happening and will happen. It is not something that you develop overnight. There are many ideologies that dwell on the meaning of positive thinking. Over the years, many religions has positive thinking supplemented in their doctrines to help people ease the pain and suffering that they feel, and also to make sense of what was, what is and what will be.
In terms of Positive thinking it is a matter of whether you’re seeing the glass half empty or half full. In my years of existence, I have learned that encountering negative things is a fact of life. But that doesn’t need to rule yours. Yes, it is prevalent, but you always have a choice whether or not that negative or unhappy thing will be there for a very long time. Although, I am no expert in the science of mind and human psychology, I believe these steps or suggestions are a great way to start thinking positively. Remember, doing something for 21 days can be a habit.
BREATHE. Yes, it’s normal for us to breathe, but do you know that doing a breathing exercise can help you calm down and see things clearly. You would notice that if you are stressed about something or upset about something the negative feeling consumes you. That’s where the saying “Do not decide on anything if you are extremely mad or happy”. You have to be balanced in order to think things over and decide on things that you have time to really think over. If you are mad, you would act on it based from your feeling of anger, thus resulting to actions that you later on regret. So breathe. Give yourself time to relax and think things through before you open your mouth and say anything.
SELF AFFIRM. No one else can boost your morale than you. The only way you would see the positive side in your situation is if you believe in it yourself, believe in you. Self affirmation would help you see positively through things that may seem unstable or unsure at the time. For example, you have a presentation before your bosses. There is this constant fear that you will slip up or embarrass yourself in front of everyone. You just have to re-affirm yourself by saying “I have worked really hard on this, I did my research, I have the experience and the skill and resources to pull this through.” Yes, positive thinking doesn’t really just involve thinking that it will be good, you have to work on it and make sure that it really does. At the end, there will be no “what ifs” because you have done your part and you know you did your best. And that too can calm you down and give you confidence in what you are doing.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There will be times that no matter what you, no matter how hard you prepare for things there will always be something that is beyond your control. To stay positive, you have to tell yourself “I did everything I can at my power to ensure everything will turn out the way it should be.” You have to accept the fact that you cannot control everything, so control what you can, which is how you think. If you believe in yourself, believe that you can do it and that you have done everything that needs to be done then there will be no room for regrets or worries. Problems may arise, yes that is true, but you know that no matter what it is you will always find a way to make it better by believing that you can.
BELIEVE IN THE GOODNESS. Not everyone will agree with you or like what you do. This could surely dampen your spirit and think negatively towards what you are doing or saying. You cannot stop them from doing so because everyone is entitled to their own opinion and you have the privilege of seeing a different perspective than yours. We talked about Self Affirmation, others affirming your work or what you do matters to you too whether you accept that fact or not. What matters here is what you do with what others say. If they comment negatively on you, you do not have to be upset about it. Instead, what you can do is to see what their point is and think what you can do to make it better by considering their “suggestion”. It’s up to you to accept it or not, but primarily the key there is, although it is a criticism in their part it is a new idea on yours. But I am not saying that you should adjust what you have because of what others say about it, but see if you can use that “suggestion” to make your work better. As the saying goes “Criticism should be like rain, gentle enough to nourish someone’s growth without destroying their roots.”
RE-ENERGIZE. No one runs on batteries, we need to recharge and re-energize from time to time or we will eventually burn out and be destructive in so many levels. Do not wait for the time that you feel exhausted and hungry. By that time it is really impossible for you to stay positive. You have to take care of yourself too. Take time to pause to make time for you. Do things that make you happy, read a good book, and cook your favorite meal. If you do not know how to cook you can dine out. Basically, make time for YOU. Look at it like a machine; you cannot use it until it explodes. It needs some shut off or else it will not function the way it should be. The most important thing is take time to rest and refuel. Study shows that a man can last for a couple of days without food, but a man who is without sleep for 7 days can die.
EXPLORE. When you’re burnt out and stuck in just one place chances are you will blow things out of proportion. Take time to go out and enjoy with friends, family and/or significant other. A new environment will help you relax and see things differently. I for one love to explore and go to places I haven’t been before to give me a new perspective on things and generally on life. After that much needed get away, you will feel refreshed and vibrant again. You will have better perception, have new and great ideas, you feel that you have accomplished something for you. As I have said time and time again, positive thinking not only involves just thinking it but making sure you are capable of being positive by taking care of yourself. If traveling to a different town or place can’t fit into your schedule or budget at least go to a place where you can see other people, get to experience something new or just be where you can think in peace. You can go to the mall, to a park, an amusement park or a coffee shop, or like me, go to a Church and be at peace and pray.
PRAY. This really helps and I can definitely attest to that. Regardless of your religion or belief, take time to talk to the one who made all things possible. It brings peace and serenity and helps you stay grounded, fair and positive. There was a point in my life that I got too distracted, too frustrated and a bit too much angry. I felt really exhausted, and I paused and prayed that I don’t want to feel all those negative things anymore. And after that I felt relived and rested. I understand that not all are religious to some extent but everyone has faith and that faith will keep you positive no matter what.
KEEP YOURSELF BUSY. Idle minds are the devils playground that is definitely true. If you have nothing to do chances are you think of too many things that just doesn’t sit right and you can end up feeling negatively about something or someone. Too much thinking can make you paranoid. You do not need to go out of your house just to be busy. There’s a lot to do in the house, like clean, do the laundry, cook, wash the dishes, try to rearrange the furniture and yes even repaint your house. Okay, repainting the house can be a little bit tricky, maybe you can just repaint a room in your house where you can spend time working or simply just relaxing. For me, I repainted my room/office. Since I work at home, I usually stay in my room tapping on my laptop. I felt the need to rearrange things to make the room more conducive to working. I hang my diplomas on the wall for they have been in the boxes for far too long. I also rearrange some of the stuff and googled designs that I can do by myself. Being busy will take your mind off things that makes you paranoid or simply think negatively about things.
SEE THE BEAUTY IN LIFE. Life is beautiful regardless of what is happening to you. I used to find it hard to see that. But if you’ll look at it in a different perspective you will learn to value it. I have a sister who was diagnosed with lung CA, and after 2 months in the hospital she have given her everything and fought a good fight. She was 46. That made me realize that life is indeed short and I shouldn’t waste it on negativity for that only hampers my growth as a person and my happiness as well. Since then I have spent my time on the good and happy things.
I never said there weren’t any bad, but I didn’t let that destroy the hope that lives in me. That hope lives in all of us. We must always nurture that by seeing the beauty in life. Always live life like it’s your last, love like you have never loved before. Even bad things come, know that the darkness that brought to you will not be last forever. You have the power to change things and make things happen. You are equipped with the knowledge and the strength to persevere and make things better. You are unique, you are loved and special.