“Positivity is about living in the moment. And above all, being positive is a matter of choice, a conscious choice in fact.” – Om Swami
Most people would agree with this statement, nevertheless over the years, with ever-demanding lifestyles and professional competition, we find it difficult to imbibe it in our lives.
An interesting aspect is that our flighty thinking patterns differ in subtle ways.
Truth be told, most of us experience plenty of negative thoughts all through a day, yet longing for a blissful life.
That said, we find it hard to shift our negative thoughts and direct them towards positivity and fulfillment. This is a common problem and affects many of us, but then the good news is that it is possible to overcome this challenging scenario.
You must have heard the term “Positive Psychology” that’s thrown around a lot. Many psychologists aimed to seek knowledge of what makes life worth living or how people flourish under extreme circumstances.
Martin Seligman expounded that positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good in life. It strives to enhance the well-being of an individual by including optimistic thoughts, speech, and conduct.
I firmly believe that ‘Positive Attitude’ is not the absence of negative thoughts, but the presence of well-being and purpose.
The goal isn’t to suppress the unwholesome thoughts but to better understand what allows us to boost our well-being. Simply put, our thoughts create our feelings, and changing our thoughts changes how we feel.
Just imagine a snowball, our thoughts are just like one, rolling along the ground, and as it rolls, it becomes bigger and larger. Somehow, it exhibits the impression that it has a life of its own, restlessly running towards an unknown direction that probably has no end.
That’s what one small negative thought can turn into; a huge snowball of malice. Notwithstanding the fact, a small positive thought can have the same effect of advancing, however much towards evolving.
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Awareness and Acceptance
One of the key steps toward shifting our negative thinking patterns is ‘Awareness’. Accompanying awareness with ‘Acceptance’ can make our resolve much stronger. Once our subconscious mind accepts its present reality, it helps in fostering positive thoughts and emotions effortlessly.
Drop the Thought
Our thoughts are conscious choices and can range from severely negative to extremely positive.
If we start following the unpleasant thought trail, it will rapidly gain momentum. That is the moment when we need to drop out thought consciously. The trick to do so is difficult but doable.
One of the greatest tools that helps in dropping a thought is ‘Mindfulness’; it helps in bringing us back to the present moment. Om Swami Ji’s suggestion for this aspect is simple yet tremendously effective:
“You can build mindfulness by asking one important question to yourself. If you ask this question, it will infuse mindfulness in you immediately without effort. The question is: ‘What am I doing right now?’ As soon as you ask this question, you come back to the present moment of what you are doing at that time.”
Being positive is a matter of mental preparedness. Most people are not unhappy because of wrong actions, they are unhappy because of the wrong choice of words and wrong contemplation of thoughts.
Holding on to our unpleasant memories, thoughts, or emotions and worrying about the future can be comforting as a matter of habit, however, the real strength comes forth when we let go of the past/ future and try living in the present moment.
Whenever we ruminate about undesirable events, we lose the mere essence of life i.e., being at peace.
Negative thoughts are the ones that pull us down, tempt us to veer from our path of self-fulfillment and purpose, and often, make us forget how blessed we are.
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They are usually born out of a fear of the unknown or when dealing with adverse situations. Gratitude helps us overcome them, or turn them into something positive.
Keeping a simple journal of what we are grateful for and doing gratitude-guided meditation has helped many of my clients bounce back to positivity.
Every kind of thought evokes a certain positive emotion, eventually propels us to
take up the Random Acts of Kindness in our daily life.
When we fill our world with goodness and kindness, it generates ripple effects, spreading it in our consciousness, in our inner world, and gradually in our outer world too.
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We start realizing that our outer world is a replica, projecting our inner world, and that our thoughts, desires, and emotions are the building blocks of our inner world.
I gather that Positive Attitudes are like magnets, having the capacity to attract positivity in the outer world too.
Big Smile for a Larger Life
When we smile, it supports enhancing positive thoughts; it can remarkably and instantly elevate our mood.
One easy way to improve our mood right now is to recall a pleasant memory and re-live the emotions that we felt at that time. Focus on your heartening feelings and smile. Try it to believe it!
I’ll like to share my own experience from my 12 years of practice as a counsellor and a therapist. While taking sessions, on multiple occasions; seekers use to come with a heavy heart, distressed, and having no hope in life.
The clouds of dense emotions would not let any of my motivating words penetrate; however, when we took up this exercise, I use to witness an instant shift in their energy and their smiling faces radiated optimism.
That’s the power of our thought! It has the power to create a Positive World with the help of a Positive outlook in our life.
Keenly observing the patterns of people and practicing as a life guide at os.me, I reckon, that what really boosts someone’s well-being is a strong inner relationship, finding their passion, living in the present, gratitude, kindness, mindfulness, and leading a meaningful life.
Taking time to cultivate these traits and doing so persistently has helped many individuals to foster happiness and wellness in their lives.
In Srimad Bhagawat Gita, (Hindu scripture) Lord Sri Krishna says to Arjuna:
“You are your own worst enemy and your own greatest friend. Nobody can teach you the art of how to live. It is something that you will have to learn yourself. If
you have made a commitment to being happy, nothing can affect you.”
About the Author
Sushree Nishtha is a psychotherapist and os. me member who loves to share her insights with the Os. me Online Community and wider audiences, who want advice on mental health.