January & February is hard for many people. Those grey days can bring you down and it can sometimes feel like the bad stuff life throws at you happens exclusively during this time of year. Despite all this, we’re always hearing about how important it is to maintain a positive attitude, even when it’s hard to do so. The question becomes how to maintain a positive attitude, even when the world feels like it’s falling down around you.
First of all… Why is a positive attitude SO important? We hear about it all the time, with people telling us to “Be More Positive”, but what is it about that optimistic attitude that is actually beneficial to us? Well, the obvious one is that being more positive feels better. When you’re feeling positive, the world around us seems to be a whole lot easier to manage and we feel like we can take on anything. But, interestingly enough, it doesn’t stop there:
A positive mental attitude can do wonders for our physical well-being, too. When you think positively, your brain releases a hormone called serotonin, more commonly known as the Happy Hormone. Sounds good, right? It gets better: This happy hormone doesn’t just regulate your overall mood, it has a direct influence on your immune system. In other words: more serotonin means a better immune system, which means better overall health. You can literally think yourself healthy!
Now we know why a positive attitude is so beneficial, let’s talk about how to be more positive even when faced with difficult situations.
It’s important to note that when things go wrong and there are troubling times in your life, it is perfectly normal and healthy to feel sad, unhappy, or negative. Many people, when faced with these natural emotions and reactions to difficult circumstances feel guilty as if they should feel positive and upbeat all the time. But if a big change comes along in your life, perhaps a break up, loss of a job, or even the death of a loved one, there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling sad and finding things difficult. It is perfectly healthy to feel everything you feel during those times. What can happen, though, is these big things happen and weeks, months, even years go by and that event is still affecting you. Life can be hard, but being able to let go and move on and take emotional control is an important step to becoming everything you are meant to be.
If you’re ready to take that step into a more positive mindset… let’s get going!
How are you thinking?
Put aside for a second how you are feeling, and ask yourself… how are you thinking?
Listen to the thoughts that are going through your mind. What are you telling yourself? Are you thinking about how exciting it is to learn about new positive tricks, or are you thinking about how hard this is, about how you’ll never get it right, you’ll never be able to do it… really listen to yourself talk. It can be a pretty shocking discovery to learn what we’re really telling ourselves, but guess what? You’re in control of your own thoughts. We develop habits of thinking, so when we’re not really paying attention to our thoughts it can slip into Negative Mode, but if we’re in control of our thoughts… we can actually reprogram how we think.
Each time you notice yourself saying something negative to yourself, intentionally think the opposite. If you catch yourself thinking “I’m not very good at this”, purposely think to yourself “I AM good at this”. Don’t just say it once – say it ten times. This really reinforces it in your own mind and helps your brain pick up the new programming. It might take a few times to start really kicking in, but every time you catch yourself saying something negative, immediately turn it around and say the opposite ten times. And keep doing it. For everything!
“I can’t possibly do that, it’ll take forever.”
What was that?
“I can DEFINITELY do that, it’ll take me just a moment!” Repeat ten times!
“I sound stupid doing this, people will judge me.”
“I sound AMAZING doing this, people will be inspired by my positivity!” Repeat it ten times!
Repetition is the key here. The more you repeat it, the more you are telling your brain “THIS is how I want to think from now on, get the hint!” and the faster you’ll be able to reprogram your mind to think more positively. (Anything you repeat becomes an affirmation whether it is positive or negative)
Flip those buts!
No, not those butts! Here’s a but that requires some flipping: “I love the work I do, but I really don’t like my colleagues”, or “I love my family but my children drive me up the wall”. Look at these sentences and think; where is the emphasis? It’s on the negative part of the sentence. You are naturally drawn to focus on the end of the sentence.
Here’s how to flip that but: Take whatever was BEFORE the but, and put it afterwards. Change the places of the two phrases. “I really don’t like my colleagues, but I love the work I do!”
“My children drive me up the wall, but I love my family”
See what happens? Suddenly, the sentence sounds so much more positive and it feels better to say, too. You’re saying exactly the same thing, but the emphasis is on the positive. It doesn’t just make you sound like a really positive person, focusing on the good stuff, it makes your brain focus on the positive, and it shows your subconscious mind how you want to be thinking from now on. And when your subconscious mind realises what you want to focus on, it’ll think of nothing else but all the good stuff coming your way. Let’s try some more examples, shall we?
“My life is good, but my boyfriend broke up with me so I feel sad”, becomes “My boyfriend broke up with me so I feel sad, but my life is good.”
“My holiday was really good, but it was really expensive” becomes “It was really expensive, but my holiday was really good.”
Can you hear the difference? Try it with some of your own ‘buts’ that need flipping!
I’ve done all this, but the world is still falling apart! What do I do?!
It’s alright! Thinking positively doesn’t magically stop the bad stuff from happening in your life. The goals you want to reach, the things you want to attract into your life, that’s still something that will need work even if you think positively 100% of the time. What thinking positively will do is help you cope better with life’s challenges. It means, when life throws you lemons, instead of collapsing and finding everything immensely difficult, you’ll be able to pick yourself up again and keep moving forward… and then make lemonade. When everything goes wrong, you’ll be able to see the way out, you can feel those feelings of pain and sadness (which, as I mentioned above, is a perfectly normal response to hard times), but then you’ll be able to get back on your feet again.
A positive mental attitude is a rare skill set for someone to have, but it IS a skill. As with all skills, you can cultivate it and help it grow. Flip those ‘buts’ and listen to how you think, and you’ll be well on your way to being a positive thinker.
If you’re feeling a particular amount of resistance to developing that positivity (perhaps those buts are hard to flip) then perhaps book yourself in for a session of EFT! EFT is a great way for you to tackle your negative self talk and remove any pesky emotional obstacles that are blocking you from reaching your true self. Give me a call and we can talk about what you need.