Life is hard. I’m not going to write that you should be positive all the time because that is unrealistic and quite honestly, it’s impossible. Even the most positive people on the planet have bad days and tough stuff happens to all of us regardless of if we are positive or not. However, it is so important to remember that it is not always what happens to us but how we handle those things and how we navigate troubled waters when they come. There is not always a life raft near by when we feel like we are sinking and it is then that we need to hang on tighter than ever to our attitudes to have faith that we will survive.
Life will throw curveballs. Sometimes those curveballs can be catastrophic in nature leaving a trail of global destruction causing fear, negativity and anxiety in its path. It is impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news without reading or hearing about a tragic event. Mass shootings, terrorist attacks, an earthquake or war. Other curveballs hit much closer to home with health issues, losing a loved one, loss of a job or divorce. And what about life’s annoying ankle biters as I like to call them? The daily annoyances that impact each and every one of us and on some days there are too many to count. Some are out of our control and others are not. Missing car keys, traffic jams, a lost pet, oversleeping, a child’s tantrum, the credit card declined or that cancelled flight when you are desperately trying to get home for your daughter’s soccer game. The list could go on but regardless of the what, these daily annoyances cause distractions, stress, anxiety, sadness and yes can shift a positive attitude to a negative one.
Again, it is not always what is happening to us on any given day it is how we handle it and what we learn to do with those things in the midst of those things that can turn our world upside down. It is not easy to maneuver these land mines but learning to focus on positivity can make a huge difference in our daily lives. So why is it so hard to be positive?
First of all, our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to the negative things in life than the positive. Our brains are also incredibly noisy. Studies have shown that human beings have approximately 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day and 90% of those thoughts tend to be habitual in nature. 80% of those thoughts tend to be negative. Think about that for a second! That is a lot of negative noise floating in and out of our minds at any given moment. It is no wonder it is such a jungle in there.
Keeping in mind just how loud and negative our thinking can be, how can we change it and shift towards a positive attitude more often and regardless of how troubled our waters might be?
- The first step is to be aware of it. Most people have no clue that they are being negative or how many negative thoughts are running through their minds. If you are unaware it is hard to change it or challenge it. Take a few moments each day and “just be”. Listen to your mind and pay attention to your thoughts. You might be surprised.
- Change your thoughts – change your life. Wayne Dyer believed in this principle and so do I. Again, you are NOT your thoughts. Your thoughts do not have to define you nor does your past. Be aware, be patient and slowly change those negative habits to positive ones. I believe that people can change their lives and their thoughts regardless of their age or their past.
- Forgive and let go. Often times it is the people who cannot forgive and move on that struggle with unhappiness and negativity the most. An inability to forgive others and yourself keeps you stuck in a place you no longer want to be. Learn to let go and focus on what is ahead of you instead of always looking behind.
- Practice a life of gratitude. Even when things are tough, there is always something to be grateful for and if you are struggling to find those things, make a gratitude list. You will be amazed at how many wonderful things are planted in your life. Focus on what you have and not always what you don’t have.
- There is wisdom in the wounds. Tough things are going to happen to all of us. Unfortunately, that is part of the life experience. It is important to remember that even the toughest of circumstances can hold valuable life lessons and it is sometimes at our lowest moments that we learn how strong we are and how to survive. Don’t lose hope and have faith that you will get through things.
- Find your purpose and passion. People that live life with passion and find their why tend to live happier and more fulfilled lives. Love what you do and do what you love and if you can’t professionally, do it on the side. Life is short; find yours.
- Love yourself. It is easy to fall when things are tough and often times, we beat ourselves up and immerse ourselves in shame, self-defeating talk and self-hate. You cannot expect others to love and respect you if you don’t first love and respect yourself. Be your biggest fan and be your own best friend. Be kind to others but also be kind to yourself. Positivity starts there.
There are so many other things that one can do to shift perspective and focus on being more positive than negative regardless of what is going on in our lives but it is important to start somewhere. As I said earlier, life is hard and life is not always fair. Being positive can be a challenge but you have what it takes deep within to find your courage and to be strong to fight back and live a happier life. Positive thinking and a positive attitude are two things that no one can take from you and in the end, it is positivity that will bring you to a much better place even when the world seems dark. My wish for you is to find peace in your hearts and to be happy. You are worth it and you deserve it.