Ever looked at some people and they just seem to have all the luck? As though some invisible helping hand has handed them the golden spoon of life and they can do no wrong? In the same hand you are given the bad luck, the glass half empty and woa is me, my life is rubbish rusted spoon of life. Don’t worry, these people are not blessed as some might have you believe, they are just slightly ahead on the pursuit of positivity curve then you/I are.
What is it I hear you ask? Well in its simplest terms, it is the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude. That’s not to say you can’t be anything but positive, it tends to mean that when things don’t go as planned, your response to the event, issue, person etc is to see it in a better light, learn from it, let it inspire a new direction and not get you down.
In the immortal words of Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams – “If you build it he will come.” Now this may not be remembered by everyone but it does hold an important point to positivity, and if you haven’t watched it, I implore you to do so right away, it’s a great film! If you put thought and energy into a project, person, life etc, you increase the likelihood of success, and give it the best opportunity to grow and thrive.
As a nation we are very quick to embrace the negative, we worry till we’re in knots and can’t think straight, we self deprecate and take our faults as our main defining feature all too easy because accepting the negative comes far more easier than being positive. We rely on past bad experiences to define our current situations and when something happens, it validates our previous concerns and justifies us to have been worried in the first place.
We have been trained from childhood to choose and accept these feelings, so much so, we have become doubting ninja’s that it almost feels like its engrained in our DNA. It’s not, we can re-train our thought process and behaviour to be positive and react to situations, people etc differently and in a more beneficial and healthier way.
So to help here are my 5 top techniques to boost the pursuit of positive in your life...
Let it Go
A key factor to overcoming our fear, doubts, negative thought processes and the “It won’t happen” mode is to let it go. Not in the sense of Disney’s favourite Ice queen, but in terms of relaxing your beliefs enough to let something else enter. I do realize that is a lot easier said than done. The truth of the matter is we have programmed our brains and our hearts to accept things not working out, not being lucky, feeling down in the doldrums and every other feeling of worry doubt and negativity that is associated. As a result all of our history is tied up in this and thus our experiences maybe tainted with what we do now.
Now imagine that history, worry, pain, hurt etc is a ball of wool. All knotted and fractured and your heart and brain are in the centre of this. Imagine getting a pair of scissors and cutting yourself free from all that. Letting the past just be, it happened yes and it’s something to take notes from but it’s not something that defines you. The one amazing ability all people have is to change… I won’t lie, it will feel scary as hell but embrace the uncertainty and the unfamiliar and see it as a challenge to grow and develop all that you truly want. You have already spent your life doubting, now try letting the daemons lie and the hope and desire to be better, trickle in and take over.
Out the Box Brainstorming
Get a piece of paper, or your computer, or anything that you can jot down ideas… Pencil at the ready start writing all things you want to do in life, in work, with your loved ones, holidays to go on, adventures to try out, visits to see, courses to take, everything and anything you can think of, don’t worry about anything. It doesn’t matter if they appear unrealistic, crazy or whether they would be out of your price league, the aim of the game is to indulge in your dreams. If you have a partner, work on the list together, what to do together, what you want to strive for yourself and what you will support each over and try out.
The point to begin with is to invoke your desires and allowing yourself to hope and dream, this is in itself is a powerful positivity booster. Once you have exhausted the list for now – pick something that you know is achievable and something that may take time and work together or by yourself on how to accomplish this. One step at a time will slowly and surely bring about change and a positive outlook starts to form. PS: When you tick something off, add a new idea… the list is ever growing…just like positivity.
Focus on The Now
Be present, be mindful, take a moment, stop wishing for the future or focusing on the past. You are here, in this moment, right here and right now. This is where you need to be. Start each morning with a positive thought “I’m going to have a great day”, and put one foot in front of the other and try as much as you can to be present in everything you do. If something stressful happens, take a breath, exhale the stress and inhale a deep relaxing breath and give yourself space to think and feel clearly, let whatever is bothering you fade with the exhalation… if you can’t, then ask yourself this: Will it help? Will it help if I’m angry or stressed or worrying etc, will it get the job done, and will it make a conversation better or resolve any issue? – No.
So focus on what you can control and that is you, how you react, how you speak or approach something. Being present can allow you to change your preprogrammed natural response to one that is geared to a more positive outlook. Being in the moment helps you develop better relationships with those around you, as they too feel your presence and feel happier which in turn makes you happier. Put down your phone when you are with people, pause the TV to talk, sit and be still for a while and focus on being in the now with yourself and others as a priority.
See the Happy
This might sound obvious but looking on the bright side is not something we naturally do, that doesn’t mean turn into a crazied lala loving oh it’s such a wonderful breathtaking day, everything is wonderful, “you stubbed my toe - oh thank you” crazy person! I mean be genuine, make a point of seeing a positive spin on things, You get stuck on a tube – instead of ranting and raving and increasing your anxiety and blood pressure, breathe, ask yourself – will getting angry help? – No so do something different and talk to your fellow commuter, you never know what you might find out. Breathe, accept what is and let it go and find a positive solution out of everything, I guarantee there will be one.
Compliments and gratitude is another great way to spread the positive vibe, appreciate people in your life, support them and allow the happiness you have for them show. Laughter, happiness, smiling, good vibes, positivity is all contagious and spreads easily from person to person, so let it flow.
Never Give Up
Yes you read correctly, changing your thought process to feel and think more positively takes time, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work the first time, or the second time, or even the fiftieth. Let go of your expectations on yourself and others. Allow yourself to be happily surprised and try each and every day to think and be more positive and not to give up because you will start to find your life becomes very slightly easier, happier and everything and everyone around you will be reveling in your positivity without even realizing it.
The power to be positive is something we covert dearly and something some people are better at than others. It can feel like an un-achievable expectation. It isn’t, like everything in life, positivity is something that takes time, it takes repetitive, sometimes boring practice and more often than not it won’t work the way you expect or hope but the more you keep going, the happier you will become, the stresses will drop off you, opportunities will find you and life will become a lot more interesting and happier and you, well you will be exactly where you dream to be. Isn’t that something everyone should aim for?
Words by Carole Armitage: Personal Trainer, Wellness & Food Writer and Chocolatier