The amazing power of positive thinking
What if I told you that there is a way to change your whole life that is both easy and free and is accessible right away?
You'd probably think I'm crazy, and unrealistic at best. It doesn't change the fact that there is indeed a way and that it's easy, but only IF you are willing to give it a fair chance and let go of things you might have believed in until now.
This near magic power is called positive thinking and it is available to anyone, anywhere, right about now, or anytime you are willing to tap into it. It opens doors that you didn't know existed before and pretty much changes how you look at the world around you (the world itself was always there).
I know some of you are saying things like "Easier said than done" or "It's not possible to be positive ALL the time", or still yet "Being positive doesn't make bad things go away"... But ask yourself this first : Is being negative, or complaining about how everything is going bad helping at all?
life is 10% of what happens to you, the other 90% is how you react to it.
I heard this quote or one going along those lines in one of the Fearless motivation speeches I keep on my iTunes playlist. I have been practicing positive thinking and the law of attraction since I was a teenager and stumbled upon a set of sophrology audio tapes my parents had at home. For those who don't know, sophrology is a type of dynamic relaxation / guided meditation developed by Alfonso Caycedo, a Columbian neuropsychiatrists back in the 1960's. The core idea is that if you go in a deep state of relaxation and then visualise goals and outcomes, you are more likely to see them through in your everyday, active state because the idea that you can has been planted deeper in your subconscious. I remember playing those tapes on my walkman when I was around 15 and really enjoyed them and actually put all the exercises into practice to help me perform better in school and in my synchronised swimming training. They worked, gave me results and that was the start of a lifelong dedication to adjust my mindset in order to go through life. I think when I was around age 20, I even took a sophrology class in an evening school just to understand it and myself better (some people in my family thought I was nuts) Since then I have read, and still read a lot of self-help books, meditate frequently, practice the art of gratitude and of course I journal.
That quote above? 1000000000000% true by the way, I had a friend in high school who was probably a more dedicated student than I was, the type that would pull all nighters to study for an exam persuaded she could always use more studying. I was a bit more laid back in my approach to it and quite frankly in some topics, I bordered on having a "Tourist" approach. Yet, I used get high grades, at time even higher than my friend. The difference was in how we thought to begin with. We had the same classes, same teachers. The difference was in how we approached exams. My friend was a near constant worrywart, persuaded at all time that all the odds were stacked against her at all time and that her only shot at not flunking a class was to study to her possible grave. She was often playing all kind of negative scenarios in her mind, persuaded that if she wasn't ready to face a possible apocalypse, she would fail. Me? I knew my weaknesses, I knew my strength and I knew that the key was to remain calm. rich of my sophrology training and having learnt visualisation techniques, I simply took time out of my studies to go in a deep relaxation state and visualise how I wanted my exams to go, especially the spoken exam where you are one on one with the teacher presenting a random topic. I would go to great length in those visualisation to get as many of the details right, and usually decided before hand what paragraph of a book I wanted to be interrogated on before hand and visualise myself talking about that. It never failed, I ALWAYS picked out the exact topic I wanted in the lucky draw before a spoken exam. In a way it was the first experience of the law of Attraction I had, but to be fair, even if I had picked a topic I was not super prepared for, I would still have pulled through because I was positive I would pull through thanks to visualising how I wanted it to go. I chose before hand to stand tall, keep going even if that meant winging it. My friend frequently got the ONE and ONLY topic she didn't aggressively prepare for and would go in a state of panic in her exam because she had set up her mind from the start for the potentiality of something, anything going wrong, and lo and behold that is exactly what ended up happening and it just confirmed her innate belief that the entire world was out to attack and destroy her.
It's easier said than done!
Agreed! it actually requires a HUGE leap of faith to see things positively, mostly because it goes against deep rooted self-preserving instincts that are probably coded into our very own DNA. Seeing danger is what kept the human race alive, and it has its merit in plenty of situatio even today. The problem is that this very instinct can also play cruel trick on our mind and what kept your ancestors safe from a trampling herd of mammoth is also preventing you from seeing non life threatening events in a rational way, or pushes you to react in a defeatist way toward a challenge. Of all the self-help books I read, Jen Sincero is the author who explained it the best in her two books : Your are a Badass and You are a Badass at making money (affiliate links). Somehow, we tend to believe that being critical, and afraid of certain things, or buy in the general doom and gloom of the world, we are keeping ourself safe, and that it also keeps things under our control. This is why the comment section of even the cutest baby animal video online will inevitably have a bunch of people pointing out something horrible, or why you can't post a beautiful photo of spring flowers without people trolling you pointing out how inconsiderate of people with allergies you are.
Positive thinking doesn't change an even, it changes how you perceive it.
We all have crap happening to us, nobody is immune to it. Bad things happen all the time and yes they happen to good people (including me). But deciding for YOURSELF to not collapse on the ground in a big mess and throw a tantrum about it is not living in denial. Deciding to keep looking at what DID WORK out a crappy situation is not naive, it's actually what will get you to find a way around the problem, and keep going. See it that way : If you are on a journey that requires you to cross a deep river and you walk down a path at the end of which a bridge should be there to cross that river, only to find out the bridge has broken down or been washed away, what would you do? Which kind of thinking will get you were you want to be? You have 2 choices there : 1) Scream and throw yourself on the ground cursing the entire universe for being against you, claiming this always happen to you and that it's why you never get good things in life and walk back defeated 2) Look at the situation at hand and say "Okay not what I expected let's figure out something else" and then assess your new options saying things like "Lucky there is enough wood around I could use" or "Hey good thing I know how to swim" or "Maybe there is a better bridge downstream". The person who think that way is also positively certain they will achieve their goal anyway, so they don't see an obstacle as anything but a slight delay.
Ultimately, the only thing we are truly in charge of are our emotions and feelings. Thinking negatively is as free as thinking positively, we all have that choice, but the way we think release different hormones and chemicals in our body and brain. Negative thinking usually triggers an adrenaline release in the body to keep us in constant fight or flight state that over time has huge impact on our health and gives way to long term disorders. Positive thinking triggers endorphins because you are in relaxed, happy place that not only allows you to see things more clearly in the moment, but takes out the stress in the long term and safeguard your health. Faced with these two options, the incentive to work toward positive thinking as a natural state of mind should be a no brainer.
How to get started?
It may sound cliché, but meditation, just 5 minutes a day at first, is a good place to start. You can do that with just observing your breath for 5 minutes and see how it affects you. You can also join a guided meditation class if you aren't confident being able to do it alone at first, we all start somewhere. Then of course there is journalling about your experience, I even have a blog post with journaling prompt to get you started. You can also, and in fact you SHOULD read a few self-help books along the way. They all more or less will teach you the same thing, but in different formats and words, reading a few will help you resonate with the same ideas better. Aside from the two Jen Sincero books I mentioned above, some of my other favourites are "Lucky Bitch" and "Get rich Lucky Bitch" by Denise Duffield-Thomas. And of course there is "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne which qhite frankly is good but not as good as her other book "The Power". All the books link above are Amazon affiliate links by the way.
If reading isn't your thing, I suggest you listen to podcasts, just search for "manifesting", or "Positive thinking" and you should get quite a few results as they are very popular topics nowadays. You can also find guided meditation on iTunes and Spotify.
Just don't expect to be a master at it overnight, it takes time to change your mindset, especially if you are an habitual worrywart. Treat yourself with kindness and love and keep going. None of the techniques you will read about or hear about in books and podcasts give instant results, just keep going at it everyday and build a habit of being grateful and positive into your daily life, it will add up.