Positivity for Pessimists

People move toward positivity, plain and simple. Everyone likes a positive person, someone who is upbeat and cheerful, who rolls with the punches, and has a can-do attitude. So, what if you aren’t that type of person? Are you doomed to walk the streets alone, to spend your life as a solitary, cut off from the enjoyment of meaningful relationships?

I used to think that positive people were obnoxious. Think Legally Blonde: I was the stuck up, grey law school girl looking down my nose at the pink, bubbly chick getting it done. So when I started reading all of the evidence indicating positive people have a longer health span, are healthier in general, and are more productive I had to overcome my own dour disposition and admit that not all positive people are fake, silly, or stupid. Maybe, if this positivity thing has so many perks, I might even like to (gulp) become one of the happy people.

Is positivity something a person just has a talent for or can it be learned? I can tell you from experience that positivity can be learned. Even the most cynical person can learn to be positive with the right amount of effort. Here’s how you start: Continue reading “Positivity for Pessimists”

Gratitude for the Win: 6 Ways to be More Grateful Every Day

Gratitude is one of my favorite practices. This is because it is a really simple exercise that takes almost no time, but has far-reaching, multi-focal benefits. If you’re only going to do one self-care practice, this one will give you the most bang for your buck. Gratitude turns what you have into enough. It turns a bad day into a fortunate day. It also makes positivity a habit.

David Asprey from Bulletproof says, “I do it because gratitude literally rewires your brain. Even a simple gratitude writing practice builds lasting neural sensitivity to more positive thinking. That means the more you practice gratitude, the more you default to positivity instead of negativity Study after study shows that simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a journal or sharing daily wins with friends or family, can make you happier, more positive, and more emotionally open after just two weeks (1,2,3). The benefits last, too (4), which leads to an overall increase in well-being, making you more resilient to stress (5). That’s a lot of improvement for 10 minutes a day.” Continue reading “Gratitude for the Win: 6 Ways to be More Grateful Every Day”

I Stopped Caring In Order to Become More Compassionate

“Impassivity with regards to the events, brought about by the exterior cause.” —Marcus Aurelius

The other day I made an epic decision. I decided to stop caring so much about everything and everyone around me in order to become more compassionate. I realized that I spent a large amount of my time being frustrated about what people around me were doing and how it affected me. In short, I cared too much.

I cared about people in traffic–you know, the ones who can’t drive; about the other moms; what the other moms thought; what my family thought; about people who made my day difficult–on purpose or by chance; about random rude people; noisy people; annoying people; construction; you get my drift. All of this caring was diminishing my cheerfulness and actually making me quite a sour person. It suddenly occurred to me that if I didn’t care about this stuff, it wouldn’t matter.

This doesn’t mean that I became an unfeeling cynic. Quite the opposite. I realized that by not allowing external events to affect me so deeply, I would actually open myself up to more compassion. Suddenly, the person who was rude to me became someone who was having a really bad day. Because I didn’t care that they were rude to me, I was able to see this clearly. Continue reading “I Stopped Caring In Order to Become More Compassionate”

Your Ego is Not Your Amigo

When was the last time you invited someone to point out your flaws? I mean, when have you showed someone your hard work and asked them to tear it apart? Honestly, without hoping they wouldn’t be too harsh. Maybe the bigger question is, why would you do such a thing?

Carol Dweck talks about Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset in several of her essays and her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Basically, those with a Fixed Mindset believe that innate ability or ingrown talent determines our success and that these features can’t be changed. A Growth Mindset, on the other hand, believes that our actions determine our success. So we can learn how to succeed. The Fixed Mindset judges situations. “I am such a terrible person,” “I am really bad at that,” or “This means I am better than her.” A Growth Mindset learns from a situation in order to constantly improve.

Remember my New Year’s intention about having a Child-like or Beginner’s Mind? Which mindset do you think that falls under? Continue reading “Your Ego is Not Your Amigo”

Surround Yourself With Positivity

In order to Do What Can’t Be Done, we use the classic Remove, Replace, Retest, Repeat model to change our mindset of doubt and negativity to one of belief and positivity. Yesterday we Removed the problem (Get Off the Doubt Hamster Wheel). Today we Replace it with positivity.

After removing a pathogen or problematic entity, it is advisable to replace it with something that will encourage health. This helps to take up space that would normally be prime real estate for other bad guys to move back in and cause more problems. Using this model for negative a mindset or lifestyle works in the same way. Once you remove doubt–which never really goes away, it is still lying under cover waiting for an opportunity to butt back in–you have to replace it with a positivity.

Continue reading “Surround Yourself With Positivity”

Do What Can’t be Done

When was the first time someone told you that you couldn’t do something? When you learned that you could put things in your mouth at six weeks old? What was your reaction? Well, you put the thing right back in your mouth. You didn’t have a sense that you couldn’t do something. What does that even mean?

Then we moved on to childhood when people are full of encouragement. We hear that we can do anything and that anything is possible. We get coached and positively reinforced to take our first steps or ride a bike. We hear “you can do it” quite often. No one accepts our excuses as to why we can’t do something. No one allows us to accept defeat. We honestly think we can do anything because we’ve never heard otherwise.

Except, by this time, we have heard that we shouldn’t put things in our mouths enough times that we sometimes comply. Continue reading “Do What Can’t be Done”

Don’t settle for meager returns

I just read an email from Tom Bilyeu at Impact Theory. It said,

Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. Why? Because it’s a time of year where the whole world has decided they’re going to allow themselves to feel joyful even though it’s literally the coldest, darkest time of year.

If I had to guess, that’s exactly why so many cultures have massive mid-winter celebrations. They needed something to combat the emotional doldrums that come with the winter weather.

The point the rest of the email made was that you can change your emotional state based on how you think. Because we associate this time of year with tradition and parties, Continue reading “Don’t settle for meager returns”

Compassion

In view of recent tragic events, I want to address the feeling of helplessness and anxiety that many people are feeling. It is easy to believe that the world is a scary place where travel, gathering in crowds, and letting our kids walk down the street are acts of courage. There is a wide disconnect in our culture. Rather than reveling in our sameness we admonish our differences. Finger pointing and blame are things adults take part in. Not just any adults, but the very people whom we elect to lead us! A dark cloud looms over us like an ominous harbinger waiting to drop the next tragedy. What can we do to help? First, just asking that question helps. Second, initiating small acts of kindness helps those around you which produces a ripple effect. Third, don’t worry about what you can’t control.

Continue reading “Compassion”

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