Our lives seem to be full of contradictions! On the one hand we’re bombarded by news that is often negative and full of doom and gloom, while on the other we’re encouraged to be positive, smile and avoid negative thoughts for the sake of our health.
So what’s the answer?!
Well, first of all let’s look at why positive thinking can bring great benefits. The cycle goes like this:
The thoughts that we think create the perspective from which we look at things. This influences the filters through which we interpret the world around us. This determines our experiences, which help to form our beliefs about that world. Our beliefs are what our thoughts are based upon, and so the cycle continues…
Obviously if we think positive thoughts, and can carry this on round the cycle, then we will be happier than if we are plagued by negative thoughts, however it’s not quite that simple for most of us.
When we’re surrounded every day by news of terrorist attacks, rising incidence of serious health conditions, fears around the financial climate, Trump’s presidency, or Brexit, or the recent fire in the tower block in London… it can be a real challenge to think positive thoughts, let alone to believe them.
In fact it can lead to cognitive dissonance:
“the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.” Wikipedia
The results can be anxiety, overwhelm and chronic ill health. In fact many of the dis-eases that we experience in our society are due, at least in part, to stress.
So, what should we do?
I think the answer lies in becoming more aware of:
- our thoughts and self-talk
- the impact of what we listen to / read / watch
- the influence of those we spend our time with
- the effect that all of these have on our lives
Many of us are now paying more attention to our diet: reading labels, researching ingredients and finding ways to eat more healthily, in order to stay well. Many also try ‘detoxing’ and ‘cleansing’. This can bring great benefits but I believe that we need to look at the wider picture.
Changing what we put into our bodies is a good start but we also need to look at the environment in which we live:
- is it healthy?
- does it make you happy?
- do you dread going in to work each day?
- at the end of the day are you exhausted / stressed / anxious / irritable / frustrated?
Treat yourself like the beautiful flower that you are.
And if you’re worried that I’m encouraging you to be selfish… I am! 😊 It’s like that thing they always say in the pre-flight safety message:
In fact, if we are not listening to – and providing for – our own needs how can we:
- expect anyone else to do this for us?
- have anything to give to anyone else?
On the other hand…
If we do take care of our own needs, and do what makes us happy, we will have so much to give!
So how does this relate to what I said at the beginning about Positive Thinking?
To me it’s more about being open and honest with ourselves and – where it’s appropriate – with those around us. If you’re having a challenging day, it’s ok to admit it! Don’t just try to put on a brave face if inside you feel like crying or tearing your hair out. Instead, explore what you’re feeling and what it’s telling you. An uncomfortable feeling means that something in your actions or your thoughts is not being true to your deepest self. Is there a need there that you’ve been ignoring? How could you do things differently so that you can address the need?
Looking at things this way means that you can take responsibility for your own feelings, and also for addressing them from your own power and wisdom. Your body really does know what it needs, and you can access this by learning how to listen to the signals that it gives you.
This kind of ‘selfishness’ means that we no longer need to use behaviours to try to get others to meet our needs. Instead we can take care of ourselves and give permission to others to be ‘selfish’ in their turn. The wonderful paradox is that we all then have more capacity for unconditional love and support for those around us!
When we can view things from this open, honest, ‘selfish’ perspective then we can objectively look at our thoughts and where they’re coming from. We can also have a deeper understanding of how they influence our interpretation of events and shape our beliefs. With this awareness we can explore our thoughts to see which ones serve us – and how we can build on those – and which ones do not. Becoming aware of the unhelpful ones means that we can start to, gently, interrupt the negative pattern by looking for a thought that makes us feel better and practising that instead.
In my work I pay close attention to people’s beliefs and their self-talk. Often the beliefs were created around a trauma they experienced at some point in their life. This is a natural survival instinct, where the mind tries to make sense of what happened and to help us to avoid similar painful situations in the future. In that moment – and possibly for some time afterwards – this can be helpful in keeping us safe, but if it then starts to cause discomfort, or even dis-ease, then it is no longer of benefit to our wellbeing.
Self-talk is very powerful and sadly it’s often our worst critic! Many people speak to themselves in ways they wouldn’t dream of talking to their family or friends – or even their enemies! Although you might not be consciously aware of that little voice in your head, a part of you is still listening and believing whatever you’re telling yourself.
So, remember that:
- Be Positive when it feels right.
- If you can’t be positive be Aware.
- Use this awareness to help you Rediscover your positive.
I love holding space for people to explore whatever is going on for them so that they can look for ways to move closer to their own inner love, wisdom and power. Each client is unique but they are all amazing, wonderful people with so much to give – no exceptions! They just need to reconnect with this truth.
Using a variety of energy-based approaches, I work with individuals to discover what their symptoms are showing them about what isn’t working well in their lives and how they can then turn this around. Where they are feeling stuck, we can look at ways to shift things back into flow, allowing the body to bring its own healing processes back on line more effectively.
If this is something you would like to explore for yourself, please get in touch. My contact details are:
mobile: 07980 669303
or book a Zoom call with me