Positive thinking can be tough; sometimes even the biggest optimist can struggle. The past 18 months or so have taught us the importance of some mental toughness, but being “tough” doesn’t mean ignoring issues, it means having the ability to change our mindset, to focus on accepting the situation and creating something positive. And you can’t create something positive if you’re always focused on the negative.
In CEO World Magazine, writer Diana Cole says, “To keep feeling better in life, we need to have an internal commitment to choosing better thoughts. One positive idea leads to positive inner dialogue, which ultimately leads to feeling good.”
She suggests writing down up to five aspects of your life that are positive: “I am a good friend.” “I love my dog.” “I am a good teammate to my coworkers.” “I am a person my friends can always rely on.” These should be things you can honestly accept and focus on. It could be something to do with you as a parent, friend, co-worker, cook, crafter – really anything that you like and appreciate about yourself.
Then go someplace quiet that you can be alone. Close your eyes, calm your mind with a few deep breaths, focus, then repeat your positive statements. Repeat them a few times, until they feel comfortable.
Next, build the next link in your positive thought chain. Try looking around your space and noticing something positive about your surroundings. “The flowers in the yard are so beautiful.” “This blanket is so soft.” Or something more emotional. “I feel very loved.”
Say your positive thoughts out loud if possible, or jot them down in a journal. Move from one positive thought to the next, absorbing each thought. You can make your chain as long as you want. Try repeating the full chain from the beginning.
Stay in your quiet place if you can, soaking in the positivity. If negative thoughts intrude, start your chain again. Your goal should be to hold your positive thoughts for three minutes at first, and work up from there. If possible, set aside a few minutes at the same time each day to practice your positive thinking.
Really notice how you feel after focusing on these positive thoughts. Doing this as a daily exercise will cue your mind to make connections among multiple positive ideas. Over time, this habit will become automatic, a base of optimism to get you through even tough days with a more peaceful mind.
What would be the first link in your “positive thought chain” today?
Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications