In our current society, where we are confronted with shocking news once in a while, it is not easy to stay positive. Yet life itself is neither positive nor negative: that assessment depends entirely on your own mindset. Mindfulness expert Marisa Garau offers some helpful tips for consciously choosing positivity without running into denial.
If you follow the news closely, it seems that the whole world is made up of exploiters, scammers and criminals. But in reality, most people are just trustworthy and okay. How the world expresses you depends on your own focus: do you want to see negative or positive things? Positivity is good for your health, but it does not work if you try to deny the bad sides of life with it. With mindfulness, you recognize that there is suffering in the world, and you consciously choose the power of positivity. How exactly does it work?
3 tips for more positivity in your life
Positivity Tip 1: Notice positive actions
There are many abuses in the world where humans and animals are humiliated, exploited and killed. Nature is also being exhausted by our insatiable hunger for economic growth. Those are the facts, yes. But that does not mean you have to deal with it day in and day out. Unless you really roll up your sleeves yourself, worries will not solve this injustice. Limit the influence of the media because all the negative messages undermine your emotional health. Instead, take a good look around your own life.
As you sharpen your focus, you will notice a lot of good things: the garbage man whistling a tune, the neighbor cleaning up the park, school kids organizing a run for a good cause. In this way, you can free yourself from the negative influence of the media, and you can see with your own eyes that very good is happening in your immediate environment. This is not only reassuring, but will also inspire you to contribute something positive in your own neighborhood.
Positivity Tip 2: Ignore negative people
Negative people have a habit of constantly pulling you into topics that they know a lot about. It starts with an innocent talk about the weather, but before you know it, you are involved in an ugly discussion about everything that is wrong in the world. It is clear that they are winning these discussions because they know these topics in great detail.
You can try to avoid their verbal confrontation … but negative people are not just led astray. They will randomly throw their favorite hobby horses into the group to feed their appetite for conflict. Be aware that you can not build meaningful relationships with negative people because they just want to send – not receive or exchange.
So keep these people away. After all, they can add nothing to your life other than whining and exhausting discussions. Instead, focus on the people you associate with, who value you for who you are and who inspire you.
Positivity Tip 3: Appreciate your good sides
In our Western culture, it is normal to magnify shortcomings, while successes are often laughed at modestly. Just look at feedback processes: After the obligatory compliment, you usually hear out loud what is wrong with your performance and what areas for improvement you need to work on. It really is not bad to look at your own mindset and actions now and then and make adjustments where necessary. But many of us are constantly putting ourselves under the microscope and discovering more and more ‘mistakes’ and ‘shortcomings’. This is an unhealthy situation and leads to overthinking and self-undermining.
To counteract this, it is wise to recognize every day what you have done well. Even if it’s just taking the trash out on time … you’ve thought about it and patterned the discipline to drive that thing to the curb. Maybe you sent an email to an old friend or sent a message to your older neighbor. At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect on these seemingly trivial events, and appreciate that you are using your precious human energy in such humble but positive pursuits. By acknowledging your good qualities, you outweigh the overcritical ego that will only see negativity, and you give your self-confidence a healthy boost.
A new dimension
To consciously practice positivity, you need mental strength because the constant stream of negativity requires constant counterweight. Conscious positive thinking is therefore not a naive game: it is a principled choice that requires perseverance and discipline. But as soon as you start cultivating positivity, you will feel calmer inside, less likely to get upset and much stronger in your shoes.
Read more? You can find more inspiration and practical advice in my comprehensive article on positivity.
About Marisa Garau
Marisa Garau runs Growing Mindfulness, an online platform for zen-free mindfulness. Because she has always been an entrepreneur, her approach is down-to-earth and results-oriented: something that mainly appeals to enterprising men and women. She has lived in New Zealand since 2007, produces her own olive oil, loves The Bravery, but at the same time reads Dickens without embarrassment and sweats up with a personal trainer three times a week.
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