Choosing to be Positive

Some Tips To Incorporate Into Your Day To Change Your Mindset

Have you ever found yourself feeding off of someone else’s negative energy? Or, have you found yourself avoiding a person because of the negativity they bring into every conversation.

As humans, we often hold on to negative thoughts and experiences more than the positive ones. Why is that?

According to Psychology Today’s article, Our Brain’s Negative Bias, researchers found that it is the frequency of small positive acts that matters most, in a ratio of about five to one. Occasionally big positive experiences—say, a birthday bash—are nice, however; they don't make the necessary impact on our brain to override the tilt to negativity. It takes frequent small positive experiences to tip the scales toward happiness.

Our energy is contagious. It vibrates through our body and is shared with the people around us. Many times the negative state can be a patterned behavior that we have gotten used to and feels comfortable. It may have been passed down through generations in our family and we have never known differently. However, it is something that over time we can unlearn. It starts first by identifying if we are typically more negative than positive and choose to make a concerted effort to shift it. It takes work and a daily practice.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to help identify what your natural state is and what you can do to feel more positive than negative -

1 - When you are silent and observe your thoughts, would you be your own friend?

What do you observe most about the chatter in your head? Is it fear, anger, sadness, happiness?

As you observe your thoughts label them with one word (for example: judgment, anger, etc.) so you can better understand what feeling you tend toward. Rather than judging the answer, sit with it, observe the feelings that come up for you, and concentrate on following the inhales and exhales of your breath. With regular practice, you’ll start to see more clearly what’s behind the negative thoughts (possible fear or sadness for example) and as you do, you will be able to release them and create space for more positive feelings instead.

2 - Do you notice you focus on the negative experiences more than the positive?

If you notice from the labeling that most of your thoughts or stories in your head dredge up negative feelings, try to flip it to what you learned from the experience instead and how it will ultimately will help you in the long run. In some of my hardest times,when my emotions are most negative, I often ask myself what I learned from it and how it benefited me or how I can benefit from it in the future. This approach has helped me release the negativity and instead appreciate the positive learning experience that came from it.

3 - Is it easier to hold on to negative thoughts and events and repeat them in your head over and over, rather than shifting to positive thoughts and focusing on the good things that have impacted your day or life?

Do you notice that the stories you tell your friends or family are more weighted toward the bad things in your day or gossip versus what you are grateful for or can celebrate? It’s important we take notice of how we communicate, rather than just letting it happen and be intentional. Remember that what you say to people has a ripple effect -- if you are negative, this can cause them to have negative thoughts and interactions. But if you are positive, this can help them be their best selves and in turn be positive and uplifting to the people around them. Decide how you want to make the other person feel that you are interacting with. Knowing your end game may change the communication in between.

How would you feel if you made that small shift in your energy and changed your focus?

Try journaling at the end of each day - 3-5 good things that happened, however small they are and limit yourself to noting one bad experience. Work to flip the ratio so you can take note at the end of each day the experiences that made you feel better as a person and appreciate them. After doing that for at least a week, see if you feel different internally and can see a positive change in your interactions whether at work and/or home. It takes effort and intentional effort, but once you can create it as a routine, it will help you work toward your bliss, a way to sustain happiness at work and at home.