Positive thinking made easy
ďSee the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.Ē - Dalai
Even though Iím a yoga teacher, I still find itís easy to fall prey
to negative thinking. Having negative thoughts play out like a movie and
can only bring you pain, something that Iíve experienced many times
throughout my life.
Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the
present moment. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the
stronger they become. I like the imagery of a small ball rolling along
the ground, and as it rolls, it becomes bigger and faster.
Thatís what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge,
speeding ball of ugliness. On the contrary, a small positive thought can
have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome.
Iíd like to share with you an example of how one small thought can
turn into a very negative experience.
I have lived on my own for the last ten years. Obviously during this
time, Iíve grown accustomed to living in a particular way; I have my
routines with cooking, cleaning, and living happily in my place.
My boyfriend of two years, who I have had a long distance
relationship with, will soon be moving here and we will be living
together. Lately, Iíve had negative thoughts of moving in with him
knowing that my living routine will have to change and we will have to
create a new routine together.
Unfortunately, Iíve already jumped into the future and have had
thoughts that we will not be able to come up with a living arrangement
that will make us both happy. In my mind, I have seen myself already
getting angry about our cooking and cleaning situation.
He came for a surprise visit this past weekend and boy, was it a
surprise for him. We had a miserable weekend together.
I did not enjoy his company because I was already angry with him, and
he was confused and equally frustrated with me. What could have been a
really fabulous weekend ended up being a painful and heavy weekend.
When we start to have negative thoughts, itís hard to stop them. And
itís much easier said than done to shift your focus to positive
thoughts. But itís the only way, especially if you want to avoid going
down a path that is painful and unnecessary.
Here are ten things I did to help overcome my negative thoughts that
you can also try:
Meditate or do yoga
One of the first things I did was head to a yoga class. It took my
focus away from my thoughts and brought my attention to my breath. Yoga
is also very relaxing which helped ease my mind. Yoga helped me stay
present to my experience so instead of jumping to what could happen, it
brought me back to the nowóthe only moment, the most important moment.
I didnít do much of this during the weekend so I literally had to
bring myself in front of a mirror and force myself to smile. It really
does help change your mood and relieve stress. I also felt lighter
because it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
* Surround yourself with positive people
I called a friend who I knew could give me constructive, yet loving
feedback. When youíre stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can
put things into perspective and wonít feed your negative thinking.
* Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive
For example, instead of thinking, ďWe are going to have a hard time
adjusting to our living situation,Ē think, ďWe will face some challenges
in our living situation, but we will come up with solutions that we will
both be happy with.Ē
Donít play the victim. You create your lifeótake responsibility
The way I was thinking and acting, you would think I was stuck. Even
if our living situation becomes unbearable, there is always a way out. I
will always have the choice to make change happen, if need be.
* Help someone
Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another
person. I decided to make a tray of food and donate it to the Salvation
Army. It took my mind off of things and I felt better for helping
* Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward
Itís easy to dwell on your mistakes. I felt terrible that I acted
this way and that I wasted our weekend. The only thing I can do now is
learn from my mistakes and move forward. I definitely donít want to have
a weekend like that again.
I donít remember lyrics very well and itís probably the reason that I
donít enjoy singing, but every time I do sing I always feel better. When
we sing, we show our feelings and this provides an amazing stress
*?List five things that you are grateful for right now
Being grateful helps appreciate what you already have. Hereís my
list: My cats, health, a six-week trip to Asia, a new yoga class that
Iíll be teaching, and for my momís biopsy coming out clean.
* Read positive quotes
like to place Post-It notes with positive quotes on my computer, fridge
door and mirror as reminders to stay positive. Also, Iíd like to share
with you a quote by an unknown author that was shared in a meditation
class that I attended:
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Happy positive thinking!
(The writer is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Owner
of LoveActionYoga. She is Co-Creator of the Eat Well Feel Well Program,
a yoga and nutrition program, and she is also certified to teach Yoga
Thrive, a therapeutic yoga program for cancer survivors. For more tips
to live happier and healthier, check out Thatís Fit.ca. This article was
originally written for Tiny Buddha)