Retraining your mind
Really? Being more positive JUST takes practice? To be honest, today I could have told Mr McGill to go jump in a lake and take his positivity with him. But that’s just today.
Actually, that was just that moment, because things change quickly.
(If you’re in a bad mood, or you are really depressed right now, it might not be the right time to read this – maybe bookmark it for another day when you’re feeling a little better, otherwise you might want to do what I almost did when I saw that quote – smash something or tell him – you can tell me, to go and stick my positivity where the sun don’t shine. I won’t take it personally. If you are feeling depressed or anxious and you need urgent help, please reach out to Lifeline 13 11 14 (Australia)).
Some of us are wired to be optimistic, and some are wired to be more pessimistic. It’s our natural bias; it’s just the way we are.
But does that mean we can’t change? Does that mean we can’t train ourselves to see the positives?
Of course, we can! We can retrain our brains to see the best in things. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, it may not be possible to think that way 100% of the time, but it can be possible the majority of the time. That underlying bias is a hard thing to break, but it’s possible to act against it.
We all know a negative-Nelly (or ten), and we know what it feels like to be around them. I have to say, for me, it’s not the most delightful experience. I’m not big into the whole idea of “energies” (mainly because I just don’t know enough about it), but in this situation, I understand it. The negativity takes on a life of its own. It becomes almost palpable. You can feel the negativity when you’re with someone who is always negative.
I’ve been around some people who have been so negative, so pessimistic that I have wanted to either slap them out of it or go and take a shower to wash off all the negative junk that was flying out of them. I seek to leave those situations by taking away a lesson – usually, it’s how much I don’t want to be like that!
What’s the benefit of being more positive? Of seeing the best possibilities in everything?
The benefit is that we see the world through a nicer coloured lens.
We see the world & humanity as working with us and for us, not against us.
We see possibilities rather than challenges.
We see opportunities, not obstacles.
Life feels lighter, brighter, and more hopeful when you have a positive attitude towards it.
The Mayo Clinic reports that positive thinking may provide the following benefits to health:
– Increased life span – Lower rates of depression – Lower levels of distress – Greater resistance to the common cold – Better psychological and physical well-being – Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease – Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Is there a downside to being more positive?
I actually can’t think of any negative consequences of being more positive. I can see ways in which my positivity might rub you up the wrong way if you’re in a funk, or your mood is low, but that is because I’m not evaluating my interaction with you, or the situation, accurately enough. That’s a fault in my judgement, not my positivity.
Generally speaking, there is a time and a place for everything, though I’m yet to think of a reason or a situation in which being positive can be bad. And that’s because being positive, and seeing possibilities in situations doesn’t mean you ignore the bad stuff; you don’t ignore the dangers, the risks. You accept them, deal with them, and still choose to see the positive in every situation. Thinking positively doesn’t mean we deny all the bad stuff; it doesn’t mean we pretend that everything is absolutely-freakin-fine. Nope, it means we can say “this is really crap right now…. But I have hope that it will get better”. Or “this is really awful right now, but I believe/trust that in time something good will come of this”.
What’s the cost of being a negative-Nelly?
I don’t know where to start… Apart from the possibility of having fewer friends, more strained relationships, difficulties with colleagues, I would say in our population, the hypermobility community, the cost is even higher.
If I am always thinking negatively about my body, my health, my pain, my illness, then you know what? It’s going to SUCK.
If I’m continually focussing on all the things that could go wrong or have gone wrong, it’s going to be HORRIBLE.
If I’m constantly fixating on my injuries and how bad they are, life is going to be DISHEARTENING.
However, if I can find one positive in every situation, then I no longer experience 100% darkness in that area. If I can see that having this condition means I became friends with a particular person, then that is something to be celebrated and on which to focus. If I can see that lots of things have gone wrong in my life, but lots of things have gone right as well, and the challenges I have overcome have made me who I am today, then that’s worth celebrating.
Every situation, even the bad ones, have an “other” side. We can find a silver lining, or we can see a big black hole of negativity. In many ways, the circumstances of life seem like they are a result of a flip of a coin. Whether you were born a male or female; whether you were born with a connective tissue disorder or not; whether or not you were left or right handed; whether you were good at sport, or more musically inclined… in lots of life’s variables, the odds are 50/50… except in this one (and yes, most of those things are predetermined by genetics, so the 50/50 thing might not be entirely accurate!).
In this situation – the way you choose to think, it’s not a flip of the coin. You get to decide which side you’re going to be, heads or tails, positive or negative, optimistic or pessimistic.
The situations of your life might feel like they are “flip of a coin” situations, but the way you choose to think about the situation is in your control.
If you’re struggling, or you need someone to talk to, remember you should talk to your GP, see a psychologist or therapist, or if it’s urgent or after-hours, you can call Lifeline (Australia) 13 11 14, or chat online between 7pm-4am (AEST) at Lifeline Australia.Do you try to see the positives? Do you find it hard to do? Let us know by leaving a comment below!