When life appears stressed and out of order, how can we use simple suggestions and journaling to feel positive?
Thinking With Positivity
Positive psychology and the “power of positive thinking” tells us our inner thoughts are always reflected in our outer circumstances. How one thinks about something can set into motion changes in our life.
I remember my mom always telling me when I was growing up, “Look on the bright side.” But I’ll admit it is hard when faced with transitions and not knowing from day-to-day what tomorrow will bring.
Positive Mind, Positive Life
Author Joyce Meyer is quoted as saying, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” These words leave me thinking that the importance of always looking on the bright side of things is something to always put at the forefront of your existence.
I believe that a lot of our angst in life is about the inability to look on the bright side, which then leads to control. In Western culture, we are taught early on to be in control of the direction of our lives.
We hear many messages, such as “plan for your future,” “study,” “get good grades,” “try harder,” etc. Don’t get me wrong, goals and plans for your future are NOT bad, they serve a purpose of direction and motivation. But I think what happens in the process is that we forget to look at what is right in front of us, which can leave us with negative feelings of “not measuring up” to the goals that were planned.
We want to have a positive life, but the process sometimes leaves us feeling empty and unproductive.
Let Go Of Control
For me, the most profound lesson in living a more positive life happened when I let go of control. I was working through the grief of losing my father. In addition, I began to finally grieve the loss of my mother from twenty years prior.
Life seemed as if it was closing in around me and the more I tried to control the outcome, the more I became negative. Nothing seemed to work anymore. I later learned that my negative thinking was releasing brain chemicals that was reinforcing the negative thoughts. I knew a change was needed.
Through a little divine intervention (maybe more on that another time) and somehow getting reconnected to the wonders of nature, I began living a more purpose-driven life with a spiritual direction that was amazingly profound.
In reality, I had a choice. I could continue to wallow in my negative thoughts, but after letting go of the control of the loss, I noticed I began to positively express myself again.
The one thing that I did during this time was journal my thoughts. Focusing our minds on the positive things in our life that evoke feelings of gratitude and then writing them down is worth the effort.
We go through our day, at times, taking for granted that the traffic lights work, our tap water turns on, etc. But by taking the time to privately express thankfulness for all the good that happens around us and the good that nature provides to us, we will be more inclined to positively express, only to create a chain reaction of the effect within ourselves and onto others.
Expressing gratitude for what nature offers us through our five senses is not only a way to engage our senses, but it creates mindful and positive expression. Being around nature has psychological benefits as well. Handling living plants, watching them grow, smelling the aroma, listening to the sounds of nature and tasting what nature provides for us is a way to let go of the control that may otherwise keep us from positively thinking. Nature is one constant in life that we have no control over.
Mindfulness is another way of living with more positivity. However, I’ll have to admit that becoming mindfully aware can be a little scary.
I heard a quote once that said, “If we always focus on the behavior of others, we may miss the origins of that behavior—ourselves!” At times, being judgmental of others creeps into our existence, thinking others are ungrateful. It’s typically easy to improve efforts when focusing on the offender, by trying to change others’ attitudes or behaviors. However, unless we take a step back and look more objectively at our own perspective, we may miss that it is US!
Living in the moment (not looking back and not looking too far forward), although hard, is something that nature provides for us. Nature lives in the moment and engaging with it, whether actively or passively, has a way of guiding us to a centered focus of mindfulness.
The Hope Grows Simple ‘Self-Care’ Suggestions theme for February was Positivity and were put in place to help you have a happy brain, which leads to a happy life. Susan Reynolds, author of “Fire Up Your Writing Brain,” says that happy brains are more creative, quicker and more mentally alert. So, grab a little bit of what your surrounding environment has to offer to enlighten your heart. By positively expressing gratitude, becoming mindful of how you interact with nature and life, and journaling about it, you just might find that the psychological benefits will become self-perpetuating.