Written by: Cally Worden
No, Stop! Come back – this isn’t a science lesson! It’s a few small words on how to regain a positive view of life, and bring back the sunshine into your world. Most situations can be viewed both positively and negatively, and the approach you take can depend on your mood of the moment.
Habits can easily set in – a positive slant on life breeds happiness and contentment. Conversely – regular negative thought patterns can become second nature, leading to a general sense of dissatisfaction with life. Here are a few glass-half-full behaviours on how to turn negatives into positives.
1: Take a Multi-Colour View
When we view circumstances or events in monochrome we leave ourselves no room for compromise. Seeing things in black and white invites an all-or-nothing attitude and when our hopes, dreams, or expectations are not met completely it can feel like a wholesale fail. Avoiding absolutes such as ‘Never’, ‘Impossible’ and ‘Always’ opens up a world of possibility and allows us space to find a balance. Life may not be perfect, but it can often be better than we dare to imagine.
2: Break the Generalisation Habit
Ever catch yourself saying things like ‘You never listen’ or ‘Something always goes wrong’. In truth, such statements are probably inaccurate, and form part of an overall pattern of negative thinking that can leave you feeling down. Generalisations can leave you feeling hopeless, as if battling for improvement is pointless. So when you catch yourself thinking or speaking in this way take a minute to reflect – can you recall a time when the inverse of that statement was true? If you think hard enough you probably can, and it will enable you to put the current discontentment into perspective.
3: Don’t be Stubborn
Being right about something can feel very empowering, but can often leave you out on a limb and at odds with those around you. Ask yourself – is this issue that important to me? Can I trade being right for being happy and still feel as if I’m not abandoning my beliefs? If you are honest with yourself you may find that he answer is ‘Yes’ more often than you imagine.
4: Avoid Conclusion Jumping
When circumstances appear to present in such a way that support a negative thought pattern it is easy to latch onto them – ‘Aha! See, I knew I was rubbish at my job – and now I’m redundant they’ve proved me right!’ The truth may be very different – an over-subscribed workforce, a shift in company focus, or simple economics may all be at play in this scenario – it may have nothing at all to do with your ability. With every situation you encounter ask yourself if you know the whole story. You may well be basing your conclusions (and negative approach) on scant information. Take a step back, and seek to gain additional insight – the bigger picture may surprise you.
5: Don’t Take Things Personally
When we are stuck in negative thought patterns it’s easy to believe that everything is about us, and circumstances are being contrived with the sole purpose of making our lives miserable. Time to wake up and look around – our insecurities can lead to unhealthy levels of self-absorption that constantly niggle at our ego and encourage us to think the worst. Remember, you can choose how you receive comments, and how you respond to situations. Internalising stuff can be like taking false ownership of something. Don’t do it. Replace the comments you are hearing with ones of your own that celebrate your successes, and regain control of your happiness.