By: Alisha Worthington, SSW
If you’re a news junkie like I am, then you may be feeling a bit discouraged. The headlines are filled with the desperate struggles of many in the world. And then, add to that, whatever other stressors may be affecting you and it’s easy to see how negativity can quickly rule the day. The book The Secret Garden is almost a treatise on discovering the power of positive thinking. One of the characters said:
“Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world,” he said wisely one day, “but people don’t know what it is like or
how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen.
I am going to try and experiment.”
Just from this one little quote there are several ideas for encouraging positive thinking which are simple, not time-consuming, and can change your day or your life for the better:
1. Change your words Add lots of positive words to your vocabulary. Notice the kinds of things you tend to say each day and get rid of the overtly negative things. Fill that word-void with positive words that encourage motivation and optimism.
2. Smile Although it sounds silly, this seemingly small thing can make a big difference. As you’re sitting at your desk, practice smiling for a whole minute. Then practice walking around with a slight smile on your face. You’ll be amazed at the response you get from those around you. A smile definitely has a ripple effect.
3. Get some sun We need vitamin d to help combat depression. The sun is a great natural source of this vitamin, not to mention that being outdoors also helps lift our spirits and raises our energy levels.
4. Remove “I can’t” from your thinking If you say and think that phrase often enough, you’ll start to believe it about yourself and so will the people around you. Substitute the phrase, “I’ll try my hardest” or “I’ll do my best” to help increase your courage.
5. Serve someone else Our own drama can be, at times, all-consuming. When we do something nice for someone else — like buying a stranger some coffee or sending someone a kind note — we get outside ourselves and are able to gain some perspective on our own situation. Maybe things aren’t as bad as we were thinking, but we were just trapped in a cycle of negativity.
6. Write your successes I had a new mother, who felt like she was failing, write down everything, and I mean everything, she did in a day. She carried a small notebook and quickly jotted a few words down. When she realized all she had done in just one day, she felt she truly had accomplished something and began to see herself in a positive light. Sometimes we focus too much on what we aren’t doing as opposed to what we are.
7. Learn from your mistakes Mistakes are unavoidable. We are going to make them frequently. Instead of berating yourself, see them as a learning experience. Remember, Edison attempted to make a lightbulb hundreds of times before he was successful. Instead of crumbling, he learned something new each time as he continued to work toward his goal.
8. Wake up right Music is powerful. Set your alarm to an uplifting station, establish a few positive mantras to say each day, and add a few yoga poses upon leaving your bed. You’ll start your day on a more positive foundation.
9. Skip When was the last time you skipped? I watched my son skip from home plate back to the dugout during his t-ball game and thought about how whimsical and happy he seemed, so I tried it myself. Skipping reminded me of childhood, made me smile, and was a nice 30 second energy boost.
10. Assume success Start each new project with the idea that things are going to go well and that you have the power to succeed. And clearly define what “success” means for each task. By breaking down a project into small, achievable goals, you’ll have more “successes” along the way.
And like the quote above says, experiment a little bit. Try a variety of these ideas, and others, and actively notice how they affect you, your day, and those around you. Give your “experiment” at least two weeks and I think you’ll be happily surprised by the results.
Alisha Worthington graduated from Brigham Young University in Social Work and is a co-author of the book Real Intimacy; A Couple’s Guide to Healthy Genuine, Healthy Sexuality. Alisha is a Sex and Intimacy Coach and Educator for The Healing Group and has appeared on radio, tv, and other media publications. She is passionate about helping couples and individuals have the necessary tools to create long-lasting intimacy. She has been married almost 16 years and has 7 children.