Eudaimonia Tip # 17 – Positivity is a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger you become
There you are, cruising through the first six weeks of 2019 with your positivity shield set at 100% to ward off any negativity, worry or anxiety when suddenly, week seven serves up a giant turd burger called “disappointment.”
Ah, disappointment… the “gateway drug” to negativity. If it’s not checked right away, things can spiral downhill fast. The crazy thing about life is that change happens in an instant when we aren’t ready and when we are ready, change is a slow crawl.
I’ve always been a realist, weighing out the pros and cons of everything life throws at me, but ultimately waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, this year I decided to turn the tables and drop the shoe altogether. I consciously chose to dawn an “it will be great” attitude, and I have to say that living with a positive mindset is way more fun than the pity-party kind.
But let’s be real, we all know, or should know, that this world does not give us everything we want when we want it. If we didn’t have some friction or setbacks, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate when things do go right. So what should we do when the weight doesn’t fall off fast enough, your job search is turning up dead ends, and your cat just ate a huge fur ball that you hope won’t turn into a blockage resulting in surgery.
In the infamous words of Dory “Just keep swimming”
I like to think of positivity as a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger you will be. Earlier this week I found myself on the precipice of jumping head first into the black hole of negativity but quickly slapped myself back into reason with these five simple steps that you can do anywhere in the world with no equipment required.
Cancel your thoughts. When a negative thought creeps into your mind, literally think (or say out loud depending on your surroundings) cancel, cancel, cancel. Honestly, you could say banana, hippopotamus, or I love Christmas, as long as you say or think something to disrupt your train of thought.
Breath deep. Once you’ve slowed down the negativity train, it’s time to take a deep breath. Breathing is a great way to calm and center the mind. The more frustrated and angry we get the more shallow our breathing becomes causing our blood pressure to rise. By focusing on our breath, we regain control over this physical reaction that negativity can have on us.
Look around. You should be calmer now, which is a good time to take stock of your life. List three things you are thankful for, or better yet write them down. When we shift from have-nots to have-lots our minds instantly get a boost of positivity.
Find the silver lining. I know, groan, but silver linings are there to stop us from going over the edge. Car battery died? Thank goodness you were in the parking lot! Your exercise goals are not as consistent as you like? Hooray for sticking with a clean eating plan. The post you uploaded didn’t get as many likes as you hoped? Good for you for starting a blog in the first place.
Know that tomorrow is a new day. This moment, week, hour, or whatever the duration is only temporary. There will be new days with new opportunities that will move you in the right direction.
So, when the ugly beast of negativity tries to ram your cerebral cortex (because it will) trust that with a little self-talk, deep breathing, different perspective, hidden treasure and understanding of tomorrow you can control your mind and bring your positivity shield back online. While I won’t say there is a reason for everything, I do believe there is a reason for most things; we just have to keep on swimming to find them.