/ Postive thinking
Can some of you please suggest tell me how you do it, it doesnt come naturally to me and I have concluded I am quite a negative person.
I think most 'positive thinking' risks sounding a bit hammy, but things like finding one thing every day to be happy about can be helpful - for instance, appreciating good health, a nice sunny day, a really good apple, all that sort of thing. Thinking positive thoughts can slowly become a habit.
Lemonade-making. It works for me. See my blog, freshly buffed and polished and ready for service again after a short period when life gave me nothing but lemons (oh, and some bananas). Chin up - you can do this!
Positive thinking sounds a bit fakey to me... Like just pretending things are ok when they are not.
However, there are probably a lot of things day to day that are genuinely good about life, and it is a matter of paying attention to those things, noticing and appreciating them.
So, for example, if you had a really bad toothache, you probably wouldn't be able to think about anything else at all, and would long for not having the toothache.
When you don't have toothache, you spend no time at all thinking about how great it is not to have toothache!
I think humans are naturally tuned in to thinking about problems - after all, they are the things that need attention because they need solving. But we end up spending too long thinking about problems - sometimes even just generating them for ourselves.
I try my best to spend time in the present, marvelling at the bright clear blue sky, or the nodding snowdrops, enjoying my good strong legs peddling my bike, thinking about just how full my belly is, how I have no pain, listing the people who love me and appreciating my good fortune.
>"I am quite a negative person."
You must have a small ember of hope burning inside you somewhere to conclude it was worth seeking suggestions.
I'm not convinced postive thinking is all it cracked up to be.
To me, remaining objective is the sensible approach to life...
There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. The boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "we'll see." Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "How terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful." Now the Zen master says, "We'll see."
Try not to take thngs too seriously , take the mick ( not out of people ) , watch funny stuff . I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for my warped sense of humour , believe it or not it can always be worse . My mate lost both his legs a few years ago ( he can still run faster than me ) . He still does a lot of sport & has won national titles .
Count your blessings & think about things that you can do , go & scare yourself occasionally , bake some cakes , get out in the open change your perspective , sing a song , listen to some music you love even if you don't feel like it its scientifically guaranteed to change your mood .
Smile at a stranger . What have you got to lose ? What the worst that can happen ? Take some stuff you really don't need down to the charity shop , do something different today , do it now ! Meditate , do a headstand anything ! you are only limited by your imagination & self doubt .
You can come up with thousands of excuses but it only takes one good reason to do something constructive & positive . Go on Blizzard up & at em man !
Just remember...."none of this matters".
My mother used to say to me "What are you so grumpy about?"
and if I ever told her what was bothering me she would say "So what? Do you have an incurable illness? Do you have a place to sleep ? Are you going hungry ? Is someone abusing you ? No... now get out of bed, and try making the world a better place by smiling"
Much better than any so called professional in my humble oppinion.
I think she also said stuff about counting your blessings, being thankful for what you have, wanting what you've got.
I am a negative person, but I've grown up looking for the irony behind my pessimism.
One technique I tried in a particularly low period was to list 3 positive things from that day. As TC says, it can be something as simple as how much you enjoyed a meal or a nice thing that someone said to you/about you, the fact that the sun was shining. It didn't work miracles but did help me to focus on the fact that there ARE good things going on even when there's a lot of stuff that's shit.
What Tall Clare says about positive thinking slowly becoming a habit is very true.
One thing i've found helpfull is questioning my negative predictions for the future, if the future is unknowable, something good could easily as happen as something bad, or something in between the two.
Changing my negative predictions was a big thing for me I think. Simply not having them (as much) can be a big help. I used to have them loads, and now I do fairly infrequently, or I challenge them.
Horse kicks Zen master in head, everyone in the village says, "how wonderful".
I've noticed one or two negative posts about the state of the world and the country from you.
I read soemthing about life doesn't cease to be serious when we're silly, like it doesn't cease to be silly when we're serious.
The goodness/sillyness/reasons to be cheerfull are ever present, like the reasons not to be can be. It seems to be about where one directs one's attention.
Don't think negatively about having negative thoughts though, we all do.
"When you feel down, try positive thinking,
That's what I told them and said,
Don't wear a frown, try positive thinking,
Laugh at your troubles instead.
You've got to look on the bright side,
On hope so much depends,
With your confidence sinking, positive thinking,
Helps you on the way my friend.
When things look black, try positive thinking,
Treat every season as spring,
No glancing back, try positive thinking,
Trust what tomorrow may bring.
This crazy world that we live in,
Will keep on spinning round,
But with good, strong, positive thinking,
We'll get together and life wont let us down.
Lyrics from <a href="http://www.elyrics.net">eLyrics.net</a>
It's easy and it works.
> Don't think negatively about having negative thoughts though, we all do.
Not sure we do.
>"Horse kicks Zen master in head, everyone in the village says, "how wonderful".
They never did like the smart arse! Just wait ‘til the boy gets a motorcycle and it breaks down, just at the crucial moment when the village need to quickly send a message, about the approaching invasion force from the East, to the General in the West.
> I think most 'positive thinking' risks sounding a bit hammy, but things like finding one thing every day to be happy about can be helpful - for instance, appreciating good health, a nice sunny day, a really good apple, all that sort of thing. Thinking positive thoughts can slowly become a habit.
I think part of this is mindfulness as well. It's very easy to go for a walk because you need to be somewhere and not stop to appreciate what a nice day it is because you are too busy thinking about where you are going, or to eat something while you are busy and not stop to appreciate its flavour. Just taking the time to experience the things that are happening from moment to moment brings all sorts of little moments of joy.
If I could add look up, look up at buildings architecture, at the trees or the sky, and know your the one seeing things others don't and smile about it.
> If I could add look up, look up at buildings architecture, at the trees or the sky, and know your the one seeing things others don't and smile about it.
I find it easier to do this if I'm not listening to music while I am out and about. I am far more likely to notice things or interact with people that make me smile if I'm not plugged into my headphones. Also, when I listen to music at home, I listen more actively and appreciate it more than if I have it on all the time when I'm doing other stuff.
I have the same problem. Have you tried mindfulness and not thinking / rationalising so much?
I see I agree with kathrync.. ..try mindfulness in everything, absorbing yourself into whatever task, work, play, home, out, food, sport, and stop letting your mind drift into a thinking mode, rationalising, thinking about anything other than the task in hand.
It sounds stupid, but it helps.. ..e.g.
-I'm sitting in a chair which is soft, comfortable I feel my skin warming, and light pressure on my back
-I become aware of my breathing and take some nice slow deep breaths in through nose out through the mouth
-I notice a focus of tension in my shoulders and try to relax it
-The screen infront of me is bright and clear
-I bring my hands up to rest in a neutral position ready to type
-I notice the pressure of the keys on my fingers as I press out the words I want to express
etc... ...basically doing a really detailed running commentary of what you are doing and feeling that helps you stay in the task and not let yourself think about anything else during that time.
Also, don't let yourself dwell on things that can hurt you / bring you down. Stop watching the news / reading the newspaper, and start listening to music that makes you happy. Don't spend time thinking about whats going wrong at work, what your fears of the future are, and make yourself remember the strengths that you have and why you are an asset. Don't fear the future.. ..controlling it is quite illusory, but trust in your abilities / integrity and try to live now, and let the future happen as it comes, anticipating only what has to be anticipated.
> I think part of this is mindfulness as well. It's very easy to go for a walk because you need to be somewhere and not stop to appreciate what a nice day it is because you are too busy thinking about where you are going, or to eat something while you are busy and not stop to appreciate its flavour. Just taking the time to experience the things that are happening from moment to moment brings all sorts of little moments of joy.
This ^^^, and what Jimbo said, but it's most helpful during the difficult moments.
Negative thinking is a mental habit that you've practised over time. Mindfullness is one way of understanding those unhelpful habits and changing them, although it takes time to undo the decades of work you've put into them. Some people do it naturally, others like me don't and it needs consistent practice.
I've seen it change a negative outlook in myself and others. There is lots of different material out there and people will connect with it in different ways, but it's something worth pursuing however you go about it.
Working out a set of 10 values scoring them 1 to 10 in priority. Then scoring said values out of 10 for satisfaction.
Then I identify any with a score below 7. I pick the three with the highest priority and promise to do something within one week that will raise the satisfaction rating.
I then do the satisfaction test a few weeks later. Then repeat.
Below might help.
If you spend your life thinking about how blue the sky is are you really going to be so happy when you're on your death bed or are you going to think I wish I had spent my time thinking positively about something a bit more important.
I don't think you can force it anyway, some people are just perpetually happy for no reason, others just aren't regardless of how lucky they are.
> If you spend your life thinking about how blue the sky is are you really going to be so happy when you're on your death bed or are you going to think I wish I had spent my time thinking positively about something a bit more important.
Being positive about the small things, or just making yourself awake of the small things which are good, can have a knock on effect on how you deal with challenges. Being appreciative of many small things can help to add up to an appreciation of life in general, and a lot of things in it, and general happiness. You can be less likely to think 'Woe is me' and give up.
There's probably a lot of truth in that, but life can be more enjoyable (or easier to endure depending on your point of view) if you're more appreciative, which surely means it's got to be worth trying?
Think of something that you've never tried before because you've been too scared to, or thought you'd be really shit at, or thought you'd fall flat on your arse and be laughed at.
Then go out and try it.
Realise that even though you ARE a bit shit at it, you're not half as shit at it as you actually thought you would be. Then keep trying it and notice that each time you do it, you get slightly less shit.
Eventually compare how good at it you've become with how shit you were at the start, and realise there's a massive gulf opened up between the two states.
Then start looking at your life at other things you think you're shit at and apply the same technique. Realise that with a bit of effort and focus you can change anything about yourself.
This was my approach with drinking, body weight, cycling and running. Next on my list is swimming. Might even try it with climbing one day.
When I had a life that made me unhappy people who'd only known me a while would comment on how grumpy/miserable/angry I could be. Then life changed. It took me a while to appreciate it, but I worked on it.
When I'm out instructing, guiding or just walking I always give everyone a cheery hello, I always ask if people are ok etc etc. It took effort at first, feels natural now. People who've only just met me say how happy & pleasant I am, people who've known me forever say its nice to see the old me - but I had to work at it.
A good friend of mine did a project where he took a picture a day, and wrote a few lines / small essay on it. Over time these became more and more happy, forced him to notice stuff.
> If you spend your life thinking about how blue the sky is are you really going to be so happy when you're on your death bed or are you going to think I wish I had spent my time thinking positively about something a bit more important.
One of my grandmas had crippling arthritis for a lot of her adult life, which was a big thing, and a negative thing she couldn't do anything about, something which helped her in life was noticing the tiny details in everyday life and appreciating them, even small things like mentioning how pretty the street lights of Sheffield looked from our sitting room window one Xmas when I was a small boy, and laughing at Inspector Clusosp on TV now i've starting thinking of things. Tiny things in themselves, but as an approach to life it helped her to carry on. If she'd have thought about her arthritis as the main thing in her focus, she'd have been stuffed, much less appreicative of the different good things in life and much unhappier.
It depends on what you think matters.
The past has gone. We can't change it. And yet lots of people spend time remembering it, lost in their memories, imagining how things might have been different if only they had done this or that differently. Thinking how they would like to say this thing to that person. How they could have thought of a witty reply, or not been so mean. But that is impossible. The past is no more.
The future doesn't exist yet. Yet lots of people spend a lot of time worrying about what might happen. That if this happens, then it might lead to this, then that and then the world might end. That the next time they see this person, they will say that, that next time will be different. That they can guard against this none existent future by doing this, or that. But very often the future that you have planned for and guarded against never actually happens at all.
In the meantime, you are eating a delicious satsuma and you don't even get to taste it, because your mind is lost in things that don't exist at all.
The point is to live in NOW - the only thing that actually does exist, and enjoy all that is good about the here and now.
I don't think it is a question of forcing anything. It's more a changing of habits, like stopping biting your nails, or dieting. But you most definitely can change how happy you are as a matter of course by changing the way that you think about things.
Absolutely. It isn't something innate, its something learnt, and something that can be re-learned, which unfortunately requires practise / work to make happen, but it can be done.
With respect to climbing, for me, climbing gives a great example of where I naturally do mindfullness. Feel the rock with my hands, my body tension, the position of my feet, the movement to the next hold, a foot adjustment, feeling the slight discomfiture, slightly greasy, chalk up, next move. Pick out wires, place, clip quickdraw, clip rope, climb on, enjoy feeling of breeze etc....
....climbing brings me right in to the here and now, focussing 100% on the task in hand, and as a result enjoying the sensation, movement etc
Trying to get the same level of immersion throughout the whole day with whatever task you are carrying out is the way to do this.
> With respect to climbing,...
> ....climbing brings me right in to the here and now, focussing 100% on the task in hand, and as a result enjoying the sensation, movement etc
> Trying to get the same level of immersion throughout the whole day with whatever task you are carrying out is the way to do this.
You've hit the nail on the head. Everything else in life becomes background. I've been out with injury problems for a year now, and damn I miss being in the zone.
you can be negative or you can be positive. think for yourself, exercise your choices, be responsible for your reactions.
and dont just make it an intellectual pursuit - take on something where it really matters.
its too easy being negative if lifes too comfortable to buffer any result.
Read The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman. It won't help you think positively, but it might convince you that thinking positively isn't a worthwhile goal in itself.
Bad things that happened to me lately seem to give me a good wallop up the a*se and get things done that ive been putting off for no good reason.
1. Don't "try" to be happy. It is better to work on cultivating calm. Calm will help to ride the rough patches and make you happier by default.
2. Step outside the problem and roll with it. When I got depressed I would work on viewing it as just a "thing" like a pattern on paper and noting the negative feelings inside but not reacting to them. So I might think "I am panicking" or "going down a dark hole" let's just follow that but do nothing, disassociate from it until it is just a thing.
3. When you can step back from the problem then you can see what needs to be done, what doesn't need to be done and what can't be done.
4. Acceptance. What is the worst that can happen? Change it or if you can't then accept it. Letting go of things and stopping the cycle of negativity is important. This isn't about being blaise or callous but about stopping worrying over things that you have no control over so that you can deal with them in a calm manner.
5. Slow down. If you find yourself being rushed stop and take stock (yeah I know easier said than done)
6. You are responsible for your own thoughts. treat yourself as you would your best friend, encourage yourself on not do yourself down.
7. Be honest with yourself, be realistic about what you can achieve
8. Know your strengths and acknowledge them and note your weaknesses and work on them
9.If you are of a negative turn of mind then it is hard to be positive. It is like beating a new path through undergrowth, often it is easier to follow the negative path than face all the briars and thorns of a positive way. But like any new path the more it is used the easier it gets. There will be set backs, there always is, but if you have tools to deal with them and practice using those tools then the effect of a set back is less pronounced than it was and the duration shorter.
10. Final, and a really good one to remember, Melodrama NEVER helps a situation. (Though it might feel so at the time)
Don't take yourself seriously.If you look for the humour in situations this should help to lift you like a weight off your shoulders.I find laughter to be a wonderful thing and there is fun in everything even being negative.Our hoose is always full of laughter,taking the piss,winding others up playing tricks and jokes and such like.
Quite enjoyed reading through the posts on here. Can be difficult to perceive how helpless it can feel when you're down. Positive thinking sounds a bit 'hammy'. But it's not. It's brilliant and doable.
> Can some of you please suggest tell me how you do it, it doesnt come naturally to me and I have concluded I am quite a negative person.
I was in Shetland and I shut the car door on my iphone (dash it) However, looking on the bright side my luck was in, and it still worked, it was just the crazed screen that was tricky to read. I went to drive off, and something was wrong, I had a puncture! I was camping and Boding, so the boot was stuffed, so no access to the spare! Good news, I had a little compressor to hand (I had remembered to bring it:) I pumped it back up, and drove to a garage in Lerwick and got it fixed, result, could have been worse. I was then heading for the Ferry to go to Orkney for a few days, and a message came through (on my smashed phone), I struggled to read it, but eventually worked out it said...... the ferry would now NOT be stopping in Orkney, it was going straight to Aberdeen so I would not get my holiday on Orkney, and I then found out my accommodation that I had booked would not refund my money as it was too close to the date. However, ever the optimist, I looked on the bright side I had my hillwalking gear, with me (just in case )and I would now go to Abredeen and head straight for the hills instead :) I got on the ferry and the 12 hour trip turned out to be nearly 24 hour nightmare tossed around in the worst storm for many years, the harbour at Aberdeen was shut, and I was also as sick as a dog for most of the time, AND I had lost another day of my holiday! But no matter, I would just stay in Aberdeen as it was getting late, you guessed it, everywhere in my budget was full, and I then had to drive North and ended up an a Lighthouse keeper's Hostel in the pitch dark on some beach ! Next morning however, it was lovely weather and I put all my 'luck' behind me and I headed for Ben Rinnes, what a veiw I would get, you guessed it, 50 M from the top , out of nowhere , it suddenly glagged over, and after half an hour it was still there. No matter, as I descended it cleared again, so my luck was turning, and Corryhabbie Hill was calling me and it was just across the road, you guessed it 20 mins from the summit it began to snow and never cleared until I was back at the car in bright sunshine looking back at the summit bathed in sunshine. But then again so was I , so I got my burner out had a brew and enjoyed it in the sunshine, (while it lasted!)
Life is a lot of good and bad days, and some days are all bad, and some are all good, but most are a mixture ,and you just have to keep going, eventually your luck will turn, so we just have to keep plugging away. 'Problems' are challenges that when overcome can make you more resiliant in the future. The next time you get a run of bad luck, shake it off and push on.
But don't just shake your bad luck off - use it as a springboard, as Jim C says. It's the bad luck that makes us, not the good. As ice.solo implies, it's shadow-boxing that brings us down. If you always stay in the comfort zone so that your troubles are small ones, you will never grow and you will always find life hard. Get out there and get some real bad times and the imaginary ones will fade away while you pit yourself against something worth fighting. I have never been so strong as I am now following an accident, after the consultant told me I would be permanently disabled: I'm busy proving him wrong and I'm a lot happier than I was before he said it, while I was still wondering how bad this would get.
I'm not sure you should wish yours on anyone! ;)
It really was a case of sink or swim for me.
Thats enough hippy talk for the day!
Me and me alone is responsible for my own happiness. Took a while for me to learn that!
Ps you may find you have more tolerance of fellow man and less fear of immigrants ;)
Well done bang on :-)
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