I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.
– James Arthur Baldwin
One of my goals is to be a more positive person. For the most part, I like to think that I have a pretty positive outlook on life. But when things are stressful or if I feel overwhelmed or disappointed, negativity is my first and main reaction.
I’m not sure exactly why I do it, but I know it not only makes the situation worse, it makes me feel worse too. I have seen the way my negativity rubs off on those around me, but I still continue to do it.
This year on Mother’s Day, of all days, I woke up feeling yucky and just couldn’t seem to enjoy the day. I got to sleep in; I woke up to flowers and gifts; my husband was making brunch (and he hates to cook!); and the kids were so excited to show off their cards and pictures. I loved it, but my joy didn’t last because I was focused on all the things I needed to get done. I was also still consumed with a disappointing situation from the week before, which was draining my positive energy.
It’s the one day a year declared as “Mama’s day to do whatever she wants.” And instead of it being a perfect, wonderful day, I ended up feeling more annoyed and negative as the day went on.
Eventually my husband started being crabby too. When he snapped at the kids for no apparent reason (which he never does), I knew it was because of me. I asked if my negativity was rubbing off, and he agreed and commented that it was contagious.
Often it takes seeing someone else exhibit your faults before it sinks in that you need to change.
I finally snapped out of it and enjoyed the rest of Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, though, my faulty pattern continued during the next few stressful days. I couldn’t get excited for a 5-day trip to Mexico with my husband and good friends (with no kids!), because I was so overwhelmed with trying to prepare for the trip. I just couldn’t shake my negativity. It sounds so crazy to even admit that I was being negative right before a fun, kids-free vacation, but my reaction helped me realize I needed to get a grip on it.
Of course I got everything done and we had an amazing trip. Sometimes it takes getting out of your routine to make you appreciate all that you have.
I promised my husband that I would leave my negativity in Mexico, and he promised to help me be a better and more positive person.
Making the decision to improve is an important step, but I want to be prepared if I get stuck in a rut again. Here are a few tips that can be used to help shift from negative to positive energy.
1. The first step is to simply become aware of your negativity. Try to notice when you are being negative or ask friends to call you out on it.
2. Remember that YOU are in control of your energy! You have the power to change your energy and thoughts from negative to positive.
3. Don’t forget to love yourself unconditionally. It’s easy to be mad at yourself for being negative or not forgive yourself for things you said or did while in your rut, but resist the urge and just love yourself! Read more here for tips on unconditional love of yourself.
4. Breathe. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Focus on your breath and nothing else. A meditation of simply breathing can activate positive energy.
5. Along with your deep breaths, repeat this phrase:
May I be free of worry
May I be well
May I feel safe and at ease
May I be at peace
(*From Positive Energy by Judith Orloff, MD)
6. Express gratitude. Step back for a minute and think of all the things you are grateful for. Gratitude is a natural form of positive energy, so this one almost always helps! If you have time, jot down your list or open your gratitude journal if you already have one.
7. Get moving. Talk a walk. Go for a run. Do yoga. Participate in whatever form of exercise or physical activity that makes you feel good. Endorphins can do wonders!
8. Talk to a positive friend or loved one. Sometimes all you need is a little pep talk to help you feel more positive!
The next time I start to get sucked into the vicious cycle of negativity, I am going to really try to use these ideas. We all need a little support, so if you hear me come across as negative, please call me out on it! Change cannot begin without the first step.
Have a positive day