Mary Shelley's famous 1818 "Frankenstein" novel about a bio-engineered experiment that went monstrously wrong, and George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (in 1949), which foresaw draconian government control of information and behaviors, have both proven to be...
Busting The Positivity Myth
There’s an awful lot of BS out there about ‘the power of positive thinking’…
Not only that, but we’re creating an insane amount of pressure that might actually result in us feeling worse!
If we’re to believe all those memes that fly around Facebook, we have to be happy all the time, constantly wear a smile, never outwardly display any worries. It’s no wonder so many of us are screwed up!
Get real people. That’s not positive thinking – and there’s certainly no power in it!
Pretending everything’s rosy 24/7 is a fast track path to the doctor’s office at best. Nobody needs that kind of stress.
Last week, I wrote about the power of optimism and, as the internet has been swamped with more posts about the power of positivity this week, I thought it was worth a recap.
The thing is, we need to be practising and working towards a good mindset every day – not just when we think about it, or as a kneejerk reaction to what’s going on with the world. Even then, living in a perfect bubble of joy just ain’t realistic, and that’s why I wanted to follow up this week.
Sure, we can work towards a more positive / optimistic outlook, but we do need to remember we’re not robots.
JUST CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY… AND OTHER BS
It’s way too easy to just tell everyone we can choose to be happy – that’s an oversimplified, saccharine statement.
Though I do believe we can learn to control our moods far more, we can’t just decide to be cheery and miraculously wake up with a smile that looks like we’ve been sleeping with a coat hanger in our mouths!
If we want to create a more positive/optimistic mindset, we need to be creating habits.
And even then, it doesn’t mean we’ll be 100% buoyant 24/7, or that we’ll suddenly develop a Teflon coating to all that’s happening in the world.
Creating a positivity/optimism habit simply means we’ll be far more aware of our mindset and, perhaps, able to pull up from those dips more quickly, or avoid falling so far so fast.
Here’s the truth…
Positive thinking is absolutely not about a constant state of happiness or never having a negative thought. Positive thinking is about being AWARE of our thoughts.
The mind is a beautiful thing, yet it also talks to us 24 hours a day, and much of its chatter can be negative and self-critical.
Positive thinking – for me – means learning to direct our thoughts, learning to understand where some of our inner conflict and dis-ease stems from, learning who we are and what we want/ need in our lives, and then making positive strides to make the changes needed to edge that bit closer to fulfilment.
Positive thinking does NOT mean feeling happy all the time.
Positive thinking means recognising when we’re hitting a downwards spiral, understanding what triggered it, questing for what’s needed to overcome/cope with that and choosing not to stay there.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean we never sink… it just means choosing to grab the rope or build a ladder.
So, what can we do to help create a more positive mindset?
Well, if you want to go really in-depth, check out last week’s article, but, if you’d rather just grab a quick snapshot of ideas that might help, here are a few bullet-pointed practices that have helped me:
Meditate. Regardless of whether you actually sit with your legs crossed and chant ‘Om’, listen to Headspace (or similar) or merely take a few moments of quiet time, perhaps focusing on your breathing, regularly finding that space can be really helpful. If nothing else, it teaches us to switch off that mind chatter and take time out when we need to.
Exercise. Go to the gym. Walk around the block. Do some sit ups. Jog up and down stairs. Lift some weights. Exercise lifts our spirits AND creates clarity and energy.
Set an intention for the day – it’s like giving myself a headline to live by, first thing in the morning, and sticking to it.
Time blocking. We’re all busy. To avoid overwhelm, map out your day block by block, hour by hour. I swear, if I didn’t do this, I’d achieve far less.
Pray. Yep. I’m not religious by a long shot, but I still send my appreciations, thanks and hopes out there every night, before I go to sleep.
Attitude of gratitude. Find a way to be grateful for everything in your life – not just the good stuff. Do this regularly and everything shifts for the better – your mindset is responsible for so, so much of your outlook on life, so it’s worth investing the effort here!
I hope this has helped. Remember, there are no real benchmarks when it comes to your mood and mindset, other than the ones we create ourselves.
Don’t fall into that trap of trying to compete with all the extraordinary ‘happy’ lives you might see depicted on Fakebook and Instaglam – you’re only seeing the image people *want* you to see and it’s rarely the full picture!
Live life for YOU and find your own level when it comes to creating a positive outlook and optimistic mindset. Just be open to improving on that if YOU feel the need to… not because you feel pressured into it.
Until next time,
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