For some positivity is second nature and a natural state of being. For the rest of us life sometimes gets in the way. Over time that natural positivity fades away. Until we have nothing to cling to except our sanity (yes I’m slightly over dramatic).
The truth is, life treats us all the same. The only thing that is different is how we choose to react to the situations that we find ourselves in. Our reactions, in turn, affect our emotions. Or at least that is how it’s supposed to work. The problem comes in when situations directly affect our emotions. They bypass our minds and evoke emotionally charged responses. This way takes away our control and we are left to go about life at the mercy of life’s events.
You need to train your mind to recognise that you are in control. Even the most positive of people cannot control what happens in their life, it’s all in the response. You can recognise an interaction with a colleague as something out of your control and choose how to react. The best reaction to negativity is non-reaction. Non-reaction won’t lead to an emotion filled rage on your insides.
So here are a few tips from the peanut gallery on how to be positive
1. Ignore the news
Ah the news, our to connect to whats wrong with the world. I’ve realised that the news is a stream of negativity that in actual fact has no practical use in our daily lives. We already know bad things happen right? So why should we be listening to the gory details? There is no logical explanation for you to listen to the news. It’s a bad idea to let this stream of negativity into your life.
You won’t miss out on important world events. Those will reach you through the grapevine or internet somehow.
2. Be conscious of your environment
Taking stock of the elements in your environment is key. Things like the music you listen to, movies you watch or the games you play do have an influence on your mood. Maybe not immediately but in the long run it can. Rap and rock are my genre’s of choice but I noticed it’s filled with negative lyrics. I urge you to do an experiment, exclude these environmental negativities for a while. Replace them with other music or a game that have a positive affect on your mood and note the difference. As a rule after conducting my own trail run, i’ve excluded rap and rock from my playlist at work. I now listen to music with no lyrics at work.
Test the effects of the following genres on your mood. Reggae, Jazz Fusion (Jazz and Latin American) and Classical.
Another way to be more conscious of your environment is to start meditating. Meditation helps you to become a better observer of the situations you find yourself in. Better observation allows you to take a step back and respond in a manner you approve of. Meditation can help you in be more present in the moment which is excellent for getting off of auto pilot.
3. Make gratitude a part of your day
If there is anything from these tips that you should actually take away and incorporate its this one. Gratitude will assist you in recognizing the positive things. Appreciating things will train your mind to take note of the positives in your life. The things you do have, that you have accomplished, the things you can do. You’ll also learn to ignore all the “nots” and “cants”. Start by being grateful for what you have, say them out loud or write them down. I know for some this practice starts with great amounts sarcasm. For me it started with:”Good on you cat, you got onto the counter and ate off the dirty plates. I’m grateful that you found a snack, sista’s doin’ it for themselves.
Alex Ikonn has a 5 minute journal that is worth checking out as a way to introduce gratitude into your life.
4. Take a look at those around you
Take stock of those around you. During my stock take i saw that most of my negativity stems from growing up in a society that loves to complain. A complaint is the easiest way to strike up a conversation. “Oooh this que is taking forever” is met with many grunts and nodding heads. Saying something positive like:” I love your shoes” results in the person feeling uncomfortable. Also my family is so logical. By that I mean bordering on the verge of cynical, which has trained me to hope for the best and expect the worse.
Do your stock take. See what habits of negativity you’ve learnt from those around you. Be aware of them and choose to break those habits. That way you will not fall into those conversational traps and thought patterns.
5. Acceptance of those who aren’t
Some of us can’t choose who we have in our company for most of the day. You can’t choose your colleagues after all (unless you have some blackmail on someone in the HR department at work). You also cannot tell those around you how to live. (You may want to but you can’t). You can’t change people’s outlooks and their love for complaining. The best reaction to those around you who are negative, is no reaction. Putting energy into dealing with someone who isn’t a positive influence in your life is a waste of time.
You should focus your energy on things and people who you find worth while. Where you spend your energy, that is the aspect in your life that will grow.
So yes that’s my two cents worth.
If these tips are helpful, or if you have more please share them with me.