It is very easy to get consumed by negative thoughts. Between normal life events and public occurrences such as drama, world events, environmental, and political situations. It can be, and often is, very overwhelming. We live in a society that thrives on drama. We think everything is a personal attack or something that needs to be fought. We live in the negative.
Negativity is not only detrimental to our mental health, but also to our emotional and physical well-being. Negativity destroys.
How can we change to a more positive life? It isn't easy, but it is possible. Like all new habits, it takes time, practice, patience, and determination. The results are most definitely worth it. Here are some things you can do to help make the switch from a negative path to a more positive path. These are things that have worked for me. I don't claim to be an expert. Far from it. However, they have worked for me and if you give them a try, may also help you.
1- Awareness. In order to change something, we have to be aware of the problem or situation. Take some time to reflect on your behavior and thought patterns. How do you feel physically? What is your normal response to things?
2- Flip the Coin. Once aware of your normal responses, flip them. If your response tends to focus on the negative or has a negative tone, immediately pause and change that thought to a more positive one. For example: "I'm so overwhelmed! I can't do this anymore!" That statement may be true (you are overwhelmed) but it comes from the negative. Change it to "I am so busy that I am getting overwhelmed. I will break down the tasks into more manageable tasks. I'm so thankful to be busy!". See the difference? You are not denying that you have a lot on your plate. BUT, you are coming at it from a different perspective.
3- Gratitude. No matter what the situation, we can always find something good. Even the death of a loved one. This may be the most difficult, but look at the positive. "I was happy to have the time I had with them. I learned "xyz" from them. They are in a better place. I will live my best life to honor them".
4- Let go and Forgive. Let go of things that you cannot change. Remember, we are only responsible for our own actions, thoughts, and feelings. How others react or behave is not a reflection of us, but a reflection of who they are. Also, circumstances. If you find that you are tormented by something you never accomplished, you have two choices: a) do it now, or if that isn't possible, b) let it go or find something that can replace it closely enough. Bottom line, letting go is a gift. It opens you up to new possibilities. That is beautiful and exciting! Forgive yourself and others for things done to harm you. Forgiving is NOT saying the bad behavior is ok. It is a very powerful took that takes back your power and allows you to move forward.
5- Give back. The joy and love we give through giving to others comes back to us ten-fold. Find a way to give back to the community or a specific person or event. It can be as simple as making donations or as complex as becoming a volunteer. Words of encouragement to someone struggling is also a way to give back.
6- Do not have expectations. I'm a planner. It is how I stay organized and accomplish everything I want to accomplish. This works well for me, however, sometimes my expectations are not realized and that can upset me or push me towards negative feelings. Releasing expectations does not mean not planning, or not hoping. It simply means that perhaps your expectations were not the best outcome and Universe has a better plan. It can also mean that the individual is not ready to accept what you are offering. Again, that is THEIR thing to work out, not yours. Enjoy the process and let go of how something should look like at the end.
7- Be joyful. Take a few minutes everyday to be still and appreciate little things. Allow yourself to be surprised at a butterfly or bird. Enjoy breathing in the fresh air. Admire the colors and sounds of nature.
8- Always do your best. Your best may look differently from one day to the next. We are never always "on point". BUT, if you always do your best, you can be proud of yourself and appreciate yourself.
9- Put yourself first. I don't mean this in a selfish or self-centered way. I mean this in a loving way. When you take care of your needs (mind, body, spirit) you will be in a better position to help others. Then it circles back to #5- Give back.
10- Be patient and kind with yourself. We are humans and flawed by nature. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Forgive yourself and others for mistakes. Take action to correct them as quickly as possible.
I tend to be old-school. I like to write things down with pen and paper. There is something very powerful about writing. The mind holds on to it more than if you typed it out on a computer. I have lists for everything. Seeing them daily, working on them and crossing out when accomplished is very powerful. So, write down at least 5 things that you love about yourself. Put is somewhere where you see it every morning. Say it out loud to yourself and begin transforming your negative thoughts to positive ones. You will find that the positive outlook is not only beneficial to you, but also very contagious! Imagine a world where positivity was the trend?! How beautiful is that!