After all, how can you think positive thoughts when:
- A hurricane, earthquake, or tornado hits and destroys your house…or some region of the country.
- You lose your job.
- You’re told you have cancer.
- Your husband leaves you.
- Your kids are taken from you.
- Your car dies.
- You can’t pay the rent.
- Your well-being or the well being of those you love is threatened by politicians (or by something else).
I get it. It’s taught unfocused your attention from such negative events.
I remember watching the same CNN news over and over again after September 11. And I got caught up for a while in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election news coverage. Most recently, I’ve struggled to turn my mind away from a family member’s problem, especially since I’m constantly thinking about the undesired negative outcome (rather than the desired positive outcome).
I call this an attention-management problem. I’m sure you can relate.
Negative Thinking Helps Nothing
But focusing on the negative never helps. In fact, when your thoughts get trained on the negative it becomes harder to look for solutions and to have the energy to follow through on those solutions once you find them.
The reason for this is simple. Negative thinking, including worry and anxiety, saps your energy. As you think those negative thoughts or focus on negative situations or outcomes, you can feel the energy draining right out of your body.
When you allow yourself to ruminate on negative thoughts, you also end up feeling defeated. You begin thinking, “Why bother? Why start?” If nothing is going to work out anyway or it’s so horrible, there’s no reason to seek a solution because you’ll just be disappointed, right?
Positive Thinking Helps Everything
If you switch your focus to positive thoughts, however, you’ll notice things around you changing.
You’ll have more energy. You’ll also feel better. And you’ll find solutions more easily—and have the ability and desire to act on them.
How to Stay Positive
You can quickly and easily shift your focus from negative to positive thoughts simply by finding something for which to feel grateful. I know this seems like a panacea, but it works.
And you may be thinking that you have nothing for which to feel grateful—especially if some disaster has affected your life. But you can feel grateful for any number of things. For instance, you can feel grateful if you still have:
- Your health
- Your family
- Your skill set
- Your tenacity
- Your faith
You can express gratitude for the people who provide assistance, the friends and family who reach out, or a stranger who smiles at you.
Force Yourself to Think about Something Positive
Sometimes I have to force myself to stay positive by thinking about something positive. I become conscious that I’m going down the negative-thinking rabbit hole, and say to myself, “Nina! Stop that. Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.”
And I close my eyes and visualize a positive outcome. I feel it as if it were already real. And then I express and feel gratitude for that potential reality.
Does my visualization make it true? Does it magically attract something more positive to me? Maybe…and maybe not (at least not right away).
It does make me feel better. It switches my mindset to one of possibility and gives me the energy to find (or create) solutions and take action.
I have to continually work to stay positive. Every time a new negative situation or experience arises, I know I must develop the habit of focusing on the potential for a positive outcome. I have to train my thoughts on what I want, not on what I don’t want or what I already have.
I know situations can seem dire, but you can stay positive no matter what. There’s always some type of light at the end of the tunnel…if you look for it. And by focusing your mind on positive possibilities, you will find life looking and feeling better.
Try managing your thoughts—thinking more positively—and tell me in a comment below if it changes your mindset and energy…and your experience of life.
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Photo courtesy of Marek Uliasz /123RF.com