A lot of us have been through tough times in our lives and will easily be able to remember a time when we really felt like the whole world was against us. It could be to do with school, sports, relationships, job lay offs and so on. The problem with feeling negative is that you bring more onto yourself and start to notice other irrelevant things in your life, that is when self doubt along with those other horrible feelings kick in.

It is not possible to go through life without feeling any hardship, for those of you who are reaching for success or even trying something new, this feeling will come around a lot, if not all the time. How can we adapt our mind to ensure these hardships have little effect on our wellbeing? It is quite a simple concept but extremely difficult to master. Being human, we like to tell ourselves we’re unlucky because we can’t be like X, Y and Z, and don’t have as glamorous lives as them. With time, this becomes a pattern in our brain that we become accustomed to (bad) and that train of thought in turn becomes a habit (very bad). That one simple step mentioned before is, be aware of your thoughts and every time they are headed in a negative direction, change your thoughts, this will then follow the same route except it will create a positive result. Research shows, (source below) people that train themselves this way have a much better outlook on life, allows them to enjoy their circumstances regardless of what they may be.

“A positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible”

Anonymous

If you create a habit of positive thinking and only see the best in all situations there is really no limit to what you can achieve and although this may seem like an exaggeration, it really isn’t! The reason for this is because negative thoughts close your minds and positive thoughts help to open it up. An example of how the brain works and the difference between how our brain reacts to a negative thought is as follows; let’s say for arguments sake you are swimming in the pool and your leg cramps, you start to drown. What will your brain be focused on? It definitely will not be what was on TV last night, or that cute girl/guy at the bar last weekend. All you will think about is drowning and how you can save yourself, very helpful in this situation. Problems start to arise when you think negatively about your outlook on life, bills to pay, bad weather, overweight and so on.

As humans we will focus on all these bad things and the thing is, we all have them. The difference between someone positive and someone negative is that the positive person will focus their efforts on things that make them happy, it could be fixing the things ‘wrong’ in their life or it could be something completely different. This literally presents a world of opportunity, you can start each day with the wonderful thought that you will make the best out of it. A negative thinker will focus on how unfair life is, how they don’t have the best genetics, the richest parents or the best opportunities.   

The biggest differences between successful and unsuccessful people is mindset, how many obstacles do you think the rich and successful have to go through? We can’t really say but you can be sure it is a lot! Our obstacles in comparison are tiny, but we still complain. How about instead of thinking about what we hate/don’t want, we think about all the things we do want?

Let’s look at ways we can combat these feelings of negativity and although there is no way to cut them out completely you can minimize the impact they have on you by simply filling them with feelings of positivity. This might sound all a bit airy fairy but bear with me.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Charles R. Swindoll

Be aware of your feelings
When you feel yourself feeling negative, no matter what the reason, change it. This can be really hard to do at times, like, really hard. The best thing to do would be to do something daily that helps you feel good, that is different for different people. Examples of this may be, going for a run, playing a sport, reading a great book, spending time with friends and so on. Life is too short to just do your 9-5, rush home, cook, eat and start all over again. There must be something that gets you excited, every single day. When you start becoming sensitive to your own feelings you start to realise other people’s feelings and you will want to make them feel better when they are down. It is just human nature.

 

Consciously evaluate how you are feeling, keep practicing till it becomes second nature
In the beginning it will be difficult, as it always is when forming a new habit. Once this has been achieved though you will never look back as you won’t have to, changing your feelings and seeing the best in every situation will become second nature to you. That is the position you want to be in at all times, as mentioned before it will help you see opportunities that the negative mind wouldn’t see due to the ‘tunnel vision’ that comes with the negative mindset.

 

Meditate
This can mean so many different things depending on what meditation means to you. This may be just sitting down for 20 – 30 minutes a day evaluating your day or not thinking anything at all. It could be reading, yoga, praying or even having a bath with candles. Meditation is scientifically proven to help you reduce stress and give you the positive effects of mindfulness (source below), just to name a couple. A full list of the benefits of meditation can be found here.

Write
I know that is quite vague, but that’s because it’s meant to be. When you write, whatever you write becomes real, it’s set in paper and you can go back to it long after what you wrote down has gone into your subconscious mind. The reason this is so great is because you can write aboutall the good things in your life, stuff you are grateful about. Writing down a to do list and completing it daily can give you a great sense of achievement. In a study done on undergraduates (source below), a group of students who wrote positive things for three consecutive days actually had better overall health than the group that didn’t. The benefits don’t stop there either, they had a better overall mood, this was just three days!

When you feel down and out, remember that life is full of ups and downs, this is just a phase. It will pass. Using the techniques above, you can minimise the affect anything negative has on you.

 

Plan in play-time, do something everyday that you look forward to. Change the way your brain is setup by changing your thoughts. Live life! GSY

 

 

 

 

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/

“The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.” –  Alex Korb

“Think and grow rich” Napolean Hill

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092656603000588