There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — William Shakespeare
The bard with the beard makes an excellent point. Sometimes I see all these lifestyle blogs and different articles with quotes like, “One positive thought in the morning can change your entire day.” Is it true? To some extent I believe it is. Positive thinking is a powerful tool for anyone to have and use in their everyday life. But the question is, “Is it easy?” Absolutely not.
Some people seem to radiate positivity and you might be asking yourself (as I do), “how do they do that every day? How do they seem to not ever have a bad day.” The real answer is, they of course, have bad days, but they probably have more positive ways of coping with it.
Second question: How do I do that?
Being more positive is something I have personally been trying to work on for a long time. In my first job search after I graduated, I had some luck here and there with interviews, but in the end, I had applied to over 300 jobs before I landed my first part-time advisor position. Despite being automated from HR, reading rejection email after rejection email takes a toll on your spirit. And then of course, the rest of life is happening around you; family, friends, bills to pay, car repairs, student loans, kids, spouse, whatever…it all seems to pile up at once, and always when you are feeling at your lowest, am I right? How do you combat that? How do you not let all that stuff swallow you whole?
It’s hard. I believe it’s harder for some people than others, but it is hard. Even the sunny, radiating people will tell you that. But I also think most of us know that deep down, we don’t want to be lost in the negative oblivion; we want out of this rabbit hole.
So how do we do this. I’ve read more than a few articles on the subject, and the items below seem to be the most agreed upon.
An article from Huffington Post suggests that the difference between those who see the positive over the negative lies in their observations, aka automatic negative thoughts. Positive-minded people squash those ANTs as soon as they start to appear. Which sounds almost fun in theory, but how do we actually put that into practice? This may be the most difficult of these tips because most negative thoughts aren’t conscious, meaning we may not even be aware of them. So they idea behind this is to be aware of the negative thoughts as they happen. This can help you catch it, flip it, and reverse it right out if that rabbit hole.
Write down three positive things about your day
This is something I would like to start doing myself. I love writing, but sometimes I find that some of it revolves around negative emotions. While that makes for decent pieces, it’s good to write about positive things too. It allows you to kind of take stock of your day and decompress. You could also make this three things you’re grateful for. Try to focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Related to the last point, really put an effort into not comparing yourself to others. This is a tricky one, and admittedly, a hard one for me. Being in my late 20′s, sometimes I feel like I’m surrounded by engagements, pregnancy announcements, people getting new jobs, buying a house, etc. and I’m over here counting how many stamps I have left until I get a free coffee. Free coffee is undoubtedly important, but sometimes it’s hard not to think “Well, why aren’t I doing all those things, why hasn’t A or B happened for me yet, what am I doing wrong that everything seems so hard for me, but is seemingly easy for everyone else?” It’s so easy to spiral out of control with these questions, but the real question is, why does any of that matter? Why does it matter what is happening to other people? Does it really effect you? Probably not. I’m not saying this is easy to reverse, it’s not at all. When you see others achieving the same goals you have or doing the things you wish you were doing or could do right now, it’s difficult not to ask those questions. I struggle with this a lot, but I have come to the conclusion that the universe (or God, whichever) has something else planned for me. For whatever reason, it hasn’t been the right time. Sometimes it’s really hard, but it’s something I have to believe. You’re at the place in your life you’re at for a reason, whether you see it now or not. Hang tight.
Feed your positivity
Take note of things that make you feel better. Does working out make you feel more positive? Actively plan your gym or workout sessions. If you are a list maker and a planner, make sure it makes the cut, even if it’s just a walk after dinner. Activities that result in positive feelings like journaling, meditation, spending time with friends, etc…do more of that. Positive feelings = positive thoughts.
This won’t be an overnight change, but even just shifting little things can blossom into drastic changes for your attitude and mindset. Don’t let negativity stop you from living your life and achieving whatever goals you may have. Remember, you can choose how you react to things; like the quote at the top of this post says, it’s neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.