Much has been written about positive thinking. Books make positive thinking sound like a prescription for happiness. Many individuals are quoted on how positive thinking turned their lives around.
But, how can we implement positive thinking, when our thoughts can be fickle? Something may set us off, and we’re suddenly sad. Moments later, a pleasant memory can give us the “warm fuzzies”. A cartoon in the newspaper makes us laugh. Then, a story on the news, gets us angry. Before you know it, we’re feeling like we’re on the roller coaster ride of emotions, in this amusement park called life. By days end, we’re mentally exhausted.
So, what do you do?
First of all, I think it’s important to start your day with the right attitude. I find a quiet place to sit and read my Bible, or a daily devotional, for 10 to 15 minutes each morning. Some people prefer to meditate. Others put a headset on, and listen to calming music. Find what works for you.
If you start your day with the thought, “Today’s going to be a good day”, you’re at least starting on the right foot.
If something goes wrong, don’t dwell on it. Let it go. Learn from it, and move on. What just happened is now in the past. There’s no turning back. Granted, sometimes something tragic happens, and letting that go, will take time. But, in everyday life, when little things happen, in order to continue having a good day, we shouldn’t dwell on what we can’t change. If the news gets you angry, don’t watch it. If reading the newspaper or a book depresses you, don’t read them. Your choices can affect your thoughts.
After the 9-11 tragedy, I remember receiving an email that contained stories of how “little delays” spared people’s lives. One person spilled coffee on their shirt, and was running late because they had to change clothes, another was delayed in traffic, and there were others, who, due to “little” delays, are still alive today. The message in that email stuck with me. Now when I’m in a hurry and experience a delay, my thought is, “this delay could be helping me avoid an accident”, or whatever…. I prefer to be in the right place at the right time, not in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Do your thoughts keep going back to something negative? Practice changing what you’re thinking about. Try this the next time you’re feeling blue and can’t shake the negative thoughts. First, be aware that you’re thinking negatively. Then, find something positive to think about-a happy memory, a funny story, or your favorite person. Stop what you’re doing and “live in the moment” “Smell” that rose. “See” the beauty of the day. “Taste” your food. “Feel” the softness of that fabric. “Hear” your child talking to you. Use all of your five senses, and concentrate on “the moment”. Within a short time, you’ll “feel” your attitude and demeanor change. You’ll begin to start feeling happier and light hearted. I believe, using all of your senses and “living in the moment” can create precious memories that’ll last forever.
Another method of generating happy thoughts and feelings can be done through music. Find some peppy or sing-along type music. Play it, sing along, and before you know it, you’ll have had an attitude adjustment. If you’ve just broken up with a partner, don’t listen to the “crying in your beer” type of music. Listen to, and sing along to old songs like, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.
Keeping a positive attitude can be threatened by spending time around negative people. You know the ones. They’re always having a “pity party” and they want you to “attend”, or participate in their “doom and gloom”. They’re right, everyone else is wrong. They should have gotten that promotion. They’re worse off than you. Their problems are bigger than yours. Blah! Blah! Blah! In the beginning, you may try to give them advice, or may even help them out financially, but before long, you see that they’re content, just being miserable. You have to learn how to “tune them out”. If they’re co-workers, do your best to ignore them, by concentrating on your job. They may try and sabotage you or your work, so be prepared. If you befriend them, before you know it, you’re caught up in their “web”, and you’ll find yourself talking negatively about the boss, or other employees. In your heart, you know demeaning or gossiping about others isn’t a good thing, so it’s best to just avoid negative people. It’s said, “you can tell what a person is like, by the friends they keep”. So true.
With negative people, you can always try playing “devil’s advocate” with them. Turn the situation around. Make them look at the other side. Tell them, “It could be worse…”, and give them an example. Whatever you do, try not to let their negativity ruin your day. Let them know, you’re not interested in attending their “pity party”. Leave the room, do something you enjoy, go outside, take a drive, go for a walk,… Everyone is entitled to be “grumpy” occasionally, and a lot of time, all they need is a good leaving alone. Don’t assume you’re the one that irritated them. Usually that’s not the case.
Occasionally, you may wake up feeling “blue”. That’s normal, especially if you haven’t gotten a good nights rest. Sometimes it may take all day to “shake” that. If time permits, take a nap. Let those around you know you’re just having a “blue” day. Maybe you just need to “vent”. Ask a friend or family member if they’ll be your “sounding board”, so you can voice your frustrations. Do the same for them, when they’re having issues. Most times, just talking about what’s bothering you, will solve the problem.
Finally, we get to the issue of how men and women think differently. That’s another aspect to consider. Apparently, men like to “hole up” and think about their problems. If a man in your life needs to “go to his cave”, quietly close the door to the cave, and leave him alone. Don’t let his glum mood affect your positive outlook on life.
Some people can’t shake negativity or depression. Oftentimes, it’s a medical condition. If you feel that’s the case for you or a loved one, seek medical attention.
On this roller coaster ride of emotions, at the amusement park called life, it’s how we deal with the twists, turns, hills and valleys that determines if we get off the ride with a smile on our face, wanting more, or if we prefer to go home alone, “hole up” in our cave, and “have a pity party”. The choice is yours.