By Jan Tinsley | PowWow
Are you resisting positivity? Do you think it’s uncool? Are you embarrassed to sound positive? What happens when situations are difficult and spiralling downward into a fest of doom and disruption? It may take creativity to sort the problem, or innovation, or a lightbulb revelation or an earth shattering discovery. And it may only take just the right amount of Positivity to engage anyone of these processes to rescue the situation and save the day.
I heard a lovely story about a hard working farmer who had lost his beloved wife. He was stricken with grief but when in company, he persevered to make conversation, be pleasant and put on a brave face. One of his farm workers was intrigued by this, knowing that the relationship had been so wonderfully loving and precious. Sensitively he enquired ‘You appear to be coping so well, yet you must be feeling so desperately sad. How do you do it?’ ‘No-one likes a moaner, lad’ the farmer responded.
Positivity is a powerful tool. It can be like a magic potion to create a gentle upward spiral of capability and transformation. Negativity can be like a poison and undermine our lives and the day to day actions within it.
DECREASE YOUR NEGATIVITY
A good idea for IMPROVING our positivity, is to first decrease our negativity.
Use AWARENESS as your guide. Be aware of what situations, which people, or what behaviour pulls you into negativity. Make a plan to change or modify these circumstances.
Challenge, dispute or neutralise some of your negative thoughts.
Be aware of the things you’re saying. Choose something nice instead of something cruel or sarcastic. Be aware that people often use something negative to start a conversation or to get attention. Monitor your reaction. Engage less to disengage when something is unpleasant. Or engage more with the positive sentiment, if you want to stay in the conversation.
Avoid mind reading and judging a situation. Don’t make up stories or let ‘this’ mean ‘that’. Listen well and learn something.
Assess your media diet and avoid a constant news feed. Keep in touch with current affairs but don’t check in every ten minutes.
Use healthy distractions, physical exercise or any pleasant activities to provide distractions when your negative mood is looming.
One last thought. I love this saying – ‘Finish the day and be done with it’. In other words avoid over thinking things and going over and over past events. This often leads to a host of adverse reactions and feeling besieged and pessimistic. In the words of the song, ‘Let it go!’
INCREASE YOUR POSITIVITY
As well as decreasing your negativity, the good news is you can increase your positivity. Even if it isn’t genetic, you can learn to engage your positive emotions in your daily activities and mental habits. You can choose joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, love. They may sound like literary terms but they are also scientific terms that can be measured with precision. You can build up your positivity and focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
In simple terms, as well as seeing the silver lining or the cup half full, even some gradual steps in the right direction can help you to stop wallowing in negativity and pessimism and accept that ‘this too will pass’. Here are some other pointers to help increase your positivity.
Expressing gratitude or counting your blessings bolsters self-worth and is an antidote for negative emotions.
Practicing kindness by doing good things for others, has a wonderfully reciprocal effect for ourselves. Whether it’s for friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or planned, practicing kindness will raise your positivity.
Engage play and have more fun. Who says life has to be dull and serious?
Engage Passion. Find those experiences that truly help you to lose yourself and enter ‘flow’. Involve yourself in something you’re passionate about and where you lose track of time and stay in the moment.
Cultivate Optimism by contemplating or imagining. Just thinking about good things turns up our positivity volume.
Use your Strengths. Find out what your good at and do more of it. If you’re not sure what these are, there are many Strength Profile sites on line and well worth a look. Using your strengths helps you to feel more fulfilled, more engaged, more resilient, better able to cope and have more energy.
Enjoy good connection. Something we’re missing at the moment (especially the physical hugs!) Generally people who flourish have good social relationships. And likewise those isolated, find it difficult to reach their full potential or even function normally. There is growing evidence during lockdown that isolation has created significant mental health challenges, so as soon as you can, enjoy the positive experience of being with others.
Whilst we’ve been able to virtually connect with others, we have been able to actually connect with the great outdoors, especially with this super weather we’ve had during lockdown. There’s no doubt that this has lifted peoples mood, improved their outlook and given them something to be grateful for as well as generated some Vitamin D nourishment.
These ideas are backed up by many scientific and psychological studies and some are referred to in the books ‘Positivity’ by Barbara Frederickson and ‘The How of Happiness’ by Sonja Lyubomirsky, both books I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Positivity is good for you!
I hope that you will be able to make some of these small changes in your life, if you would like to enjoy a more positive outlook. You have more control than you think and simply by choosing any of the above options, you can reduce anxiety and stress and become a happier and more positive person.
I have personally made a decision to spend more time with positive and inspiring people and I have made a concerted effort to avoid the BMW’s – the Bitchers, Moaners and Whingers! For the last few years, I have been fortunate to meet monthly with like-minded people to unashamedly work from a place of Positivity and Optimism. Our early morning meetings every third Thursday of the month is on Zoom, so please do join us.
IMPROVE your positivity my friends. It’s good for you!