If you’re like me, you can sometimes get stuck in a “negativity rut.” Your thoughts travel to the worst situation almost immediately, your anger is quick to rise to the surface, your outlook on life’s day-to-day activities is at best apathetic, the smallest problems seem larger than life.
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way—there’s a better way to live this life. You CAN break that cycle and walk through the valley to the other side. It will take some practice to break the negativity habit. It will take some concentrated effort and re-training of the brain, but you can do it.
Let’s chip away at those negative habits with seven basic tips, shall we?
Oftentimes you don’t even realize you are living with a fixed mindset - it’s how you’ve always reacted; it’s how you’ve always viewed XYZ. When this negative, fixed mindset clouds your view, you are unable to discover the opportunities and blessings that life sends your way.
The key to this first task is awareness. You won’t be able to move forward in your efforts of achieving a more positive YOU without first identifying what needs to go.
Stop and think about how you respond to difficult situations, circumstances you don’t particularly enjoy. Grab a journal or notebook, and write them down as they happen throughout the day.
Perhaps your children make a mess in the bathroom or leave crumbs all over the table. Write down how that makes you feel. Perhaps you walk past a mirror and see your midsection drooping over your pants button. Perhaps a coworker gets the promotion you’ve been gunning for.
What thoughts cross your mind? Write them down in your notebook.
Keep this with you and jot down your thoughts and reactions as you go about your day. Before bed, review them. Notice any patterns?
Now that you’ve taken inventory of how you generally react or respond to life’s annoyances, let’s talk about how you can reverse that way of thinking.
Get out your notebook or journal. Pick out a few phrases you caught yourself muttering. Write those down on a new page, but leave room for a re-work.
Perhaps you heard yourself say, “There’s no way this will work.” Now take a moment to think about how you can turn this into a positive statement. How about this? “I love a good challenge; I am going to approach this from a different angle.” See the shift?
Let’s try another. Maybe you often mention to yourself as you walk past the mirror, “I will never lose this weight. Who would love this?” Yikes - what a punch to your inner self! How can you stop this negative talk in its tracks? Try → “I can make small changes that will lead to healthy results. I am beautiful no matter the size of my pants.”
Your turn! This exercise will challenge you to have a new perspective. Attack those negative thoughts and take them captive. Release them only when they’ve submitted to positivity.
We have SO many things to be thankful for, but we often overlook them or take them for granted. That soft bed you sleep in - blessing. Those clothes you wear every day - blessing. That car you drive - blessing. That paycheck you receive - blessing. That air you’re breathing in - blessing. See how the simple things in life, the ones we often consider as just “part of life”... we can count them all as blessings!
Starting the day off with a heart full of gratitude can really make an enormous impact on your attitude as you move throughout the day. According to a study done by The University of California and Washington University, expressing gratitude increases joy, which is a distinct positive emotion. Joy, in turn, increases gratitude. What a great cycle to be stuck in!
You can also set your intentions for the day by repeating affirmations aloud. Start telling yourself the story you want to be a part of. Use positive language; speak truth over yourself. Try these …
- I will have a great day!
- I can choose my attitude.
- I am confident in my abilities.
- I choose patience and peace.
Take a moment to jot down some things you are grateful for AND some positive affirmations you would like to recite in the mornings. If you feel comfortable doing so, reply back and share what you came up with.
Fragrances can have quite a powerful impact on your emotional state. As soon as you take a whiff, the airborne odor molecules travel up the nose to your olfactory receptors, which then relay messages to other parts of the brain. Your sense of smell is the only one of the five senses that is directly linked to the limbic lobe of the brain, the emotional control center.
Did you know? Sesquiterpenes can increase blood oxygen levels in the brain. Guess where those are found? You guessed it - essential oils.
The stimulation of both aroma and oxygenation seems to affect the amygdala (part of the brain that plays a major role in emotional processing). This stimulation - accompanied by mental focus and intent - actually facilitates the release of stored emotional blocks. How cool is that?!
So grab those oils and inhale or diffuse them! Some of my favs are Valor, Frankincense, Orange, Bergamot, Stress Away, Envision, and Release. Find what works for you and use them consistently!
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Take a few moments to reflect on the things you surround yourself with - your friends, family, coworkers, music, tv, social media, podcasts, books, etc. Are they positive?
Do you remember that old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”? Same is true today. If you are surrounding yourself with negative influences, your inner thoughts and attitude will most certainly be negative.
Sift out the bad and start focusing on what positive influences you can begin implementing. If it’s a toxic relationship, take the steps required to set proper boundaries. If it’s something toxic on social media or perhaps gloomy, depressing music… change that! Remove it. Delete it. Do what it takes to set yourself up for success in this area.
Foster the positive relationships you DO have. Play upbeat, uplifting tunes—sing and dance it OUT! Read books and listen to podcasts that inspire you, not give you nightmares. Watch comedy shows and LAUGH! It’s good for the soul, friend. Bring in so much positivity that there’s NO ROOM for negativity.
One of my fave quotes to live by:
I don’t sing because I’m happy … I’m happy because I sing.
Becoming a more “positive you” requires a change of the mind AND the body; your daily habits need to shift. Consider implementing exercise as a way to bring more positivity into your life. Why?
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These chemicals help suppress the hormones that cause stress and anxiety. They trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine, but without the dangerous possibility of overdosing or becoming addicted.
While you’re at it, start spreading positivity by doing something good for others and the environment. Start recycling. Collect trash along roadsides. Volunteer at a shelter. Find ways to give back and you’ll be surprised at how uplifting it can be in return.
As you may have guessed, these tips are not all-inclusive. There are MANY ways you can become a more “positive you,” but perhaps one of the most important things you take away from my message is this: turn failures into lessons.
You are not always going to get this “positivity thing” right. You will have “off” days, moments where you lose your cool, situations that put you in a funk. Don’t let them derail you.
Take what happened and LEARN from it. Figure out how to avoid those situations or how to handle them more effectively the next time you encounter them. Break the cycle. Stay the course. Become the change you want to see.
I hope these tips will challenge your mindset and help you take those negative thoughts captive. If you like what you’ve read, feel free to share it with your friends and family.
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