In order to carry out a positive action we must develop here a positive vision. – Dalai Lama
What is your positive vision for yourself and for your life? This is an important questions to consider when making the choice to move through life with a positive mindset. Last week’s blog post discussed staying positive as an approach to life rather than constantly searching for happiness. By choosing to look for the positive in any situation, you can develop the attitudes and behaviors to respond to life with positivity. Remember: staying positive is intentional. It requires commitment and practice. The benefits to your health and well-being are tremendous. Ready to start your positivity training? Here are 5 things you can do to help you stay positive.
Take a breath and take your time.
Any time you are faced with an intense situation, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This is hard wired into your DNA for survival and releases chemicals into your body. While the rush of chemicals and rush of stress energy is great for fighting wooly mammoths, most of today’s situations are not a matter of life or death. What winds up happening is that stress builds up over time. By taking a breath, you give yourself time to analyze the situation and respond instead of react. Ask yourself: Is this life or death? Chances are, if you have the time to ask, you have the time to take a slow breath. This calms your body down so you can think more clearly about how you want to respond in a positive way. Realize that you have a choice. This is always the first step to staying positive.
Find something positive in the situation.
If you look closely, there is an opportunity for you to learn, grow, show courage, or respond in any number of ways that build your capacity to stay positive. Asking questions will help you find something positive. Examples of questions: What is the opportunity here? What do I have the power to change? How can I show _____ (strength, courage, humor, etc.) in this situation? What is the blessing in disguise?
Silence the critic in your head.
We all have this inner voice that criticizes, brings up our fears, and tells us we don’t have what it takes. Shut this voice down! It brings forth the negative but ignores the positive. Talk back. Tell that voice that you have what it takes to move through a situation and come out victorious. Call on your strengths, your skills, your spiritual faith, and any resources you have to shut up that negative voice with a loud, strong, positive one. Directly challenge that negative voice inside your head. For example, if the voice says “You’ll never get that promotion,” say this: “Actually, I have the skills and the experience I need to excel in the management position. My record shows my accomplishments and I cm confident I can add value by managing the department.” Start the challenge by stating “Actually, I ______.” Say it with confidence and clarity.
Find something humorous in the situation.
Once again, research has shown there are many health benefits to laughter and seeing the humor in life. If you shift your perspective a bit, you will likely be able to see something funny about what is happening. It’s a great opportunity to use your imagination and “play” with the situation. Allow yourself to over-exaggerate, ask yourself what a TV personality would say, create silly scenarios, or any number of humorous responses. Humor is powerful in its ability to lighten us up, create space, and move through a situation in new ways.
This practice goes hand in hand with the practice of staying in the present moment. It is so easy to take for granted those times when life runs smoothly, isn’t it? Remember to stay present, and to express gratitude for your life. Start each morning by reflecting on the gifts you have been given. As you go through your day, any number of situations can arise. In each of those, you have the power to choose your response. You can react out of habit, or you can be grateful for the opportunity to stretch yourself and grow from the situation. With each day, as you practice gratitude for your life, you will grow stronger in your capacity to see and experience the gifts and opportunities.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl
The gift of choice – putting power in your hands to respond – is one of the most powerful ways to develop a positive mindset.