Here in The Netherlands we have meanwhile moved fully into Springtime.
The season of new beginnings, hope, resurrection, love.
The sunshine sparks life in nature and in us. Fresh-green leaves on trees and brightly colored flowers everywhere.
Beauty all around. An invitation for us to blossom too. If only it were that easy…
When you look at yourself and your life right now, is there something that’s stopping you from fully blooming? Is it an external obstacle? You may have had a recent loss or setback in your life, or you may be worried about world events.
Perhaps there is an internal obstacle? There could be a sense of stress, sadness or undefined anxiety. No matter what is holding you back, I would love to remind you that there is always something you can do.
While we can’t always affect our external or even internal circumstances, we can always choose the way we deal with them.
And that’s power! Granted, it may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to empowerment, but it’s nevertheless an important realization that no matter what happens around you, one thing no one will ever be able to change, is the attitude you choose.
This brings us to the benefits of choosing an optimistic outlook. For most of us, our default mode of thinking is set somewhere below ‘seeing the silver lining’. If you do happen to be a naturally positive thinker, then yay for you! This article may not add much to your day this time, so simply keep on shining! In all other cases, we can probably use a dose of positivity from time to time. Right?
Well, fortunately we can literally change our mind by training our positivity-muscle, just like we can train any other muscle in our body. And as with any new habit we create, let’s start out with our why.
Why would we train ourselves to become more positive?
And yes, I am aware of the fact that this sounds a bit shallow, most of us have had people say to us ‘just be more positive’, as if that’s the solution to all our problems. Positivity may not fix our problems yet it does provide a different perspective on dealing with them.
In addition, it turns out that a positive mindset brings a whole host of benefits: From increased life expectancy to increased creativity, from better immunity to better social skills and relations, from lower levels of stress and pain to a lower risk of mental and even physical disease. The list goes on. If you want to continue reading, here is a somewhat lighter list to look at.
So, now that we’re aware of the benefits of positivity, how to actually go about it?
Because probably this is not the first time you’ve heard about the ‘power of positivity’ and the importance of increasing it. Well here’s the silver lining after all 😉 With this post I hope to provide a slightly new perspective in order to inspire you to implement what you already know.
Simply said, changing your mindset is about changing the standard setting of your mind. Just like in the gym you do repetitions of certain exercises to build muscles, in the same way you can see positivity-strategies as dumbbells for your mind. The more often you repeat them, the faster and easier you will arrive at that optimistic outlook and start reaping its benefits.
At this point, I was going to share a set of seven strategies to start training yourself into a positive mindset, of course all starting with a ‘P’ for positivity. But… halfway through I realized, is it really the most motivating and positive thing I can offer with this blog post? Because truth be told, if you are reading this blog you are probably at least open to personal growth, and most probably you have read about -at least- one strategy to promote positivity. So while I could add a list of strategies to add to your personal growth points, why not turn it around?
As a life coach, I like holding up a mirror to help you access the wisdom you already have inside of you.
In this case, I firmly believe that you are already aware of the next best step that you can take to create more positivity in your life. So, why not just take a moment right now to see what comes to mind? What is one thing that pops up right away to create more positivity (or less negativity) in your life? If you can, write it down in your calendar or in the comments, we’ll circle back to it in a little bit. And if you really, really can’t think of anything, then here below are some ideas.
You could watch or listen to an inspirational video or podcast more regularly? Or allow yourself some moments to watch funny videos for that matter, laughing is good. How about starting that daily gratitude list? Or taking time to process your emotions? Because of course positivity is not just a band-aid, it starts deep down. You could learn to play an instrument or start that hobby you’ve always wanted to try? How about replacing your negative thoughts with encouraging ones? Or setting up a coffee date with a friend that always make you feel better? Play a positive song or create a playlist that lifts you up? Go for a walk in nature?
In the end only you know on the one hand what drags you down and what you need to distance yourself from, but on the other hand you know better than anyone else what makes you feel good about yourself and about life.
So I invite you to create your own positivity list.
You could even give it a name that makes you feel good, mine is currently called ‘Soul Food’. It may already make you happy just to create that list. Then start with one of those positivity-points and schedule the moments that you will practice this new habit, just as you would schedule exercise (or perhaps that’s exactly the point what will be on top of your list;)
And if nothing else, remember to smile 🙂
Towards others but also towards yourself. It relaxes you. Just like they say that having a smile on your face in the gym actually helps you get through the hardest repetitions. Smiling is as though you’re telling your entire system to relax, and it will release all sorts of feel-good chemicals. If that isn’t a shortcut to positivity? You can read more about the science of smiling here or here.
I hope you have fun with these positivity-repetitions and if you care to share, I always love reading in the comments what touched you about this blog post and/or what your are planning to implement.
Wishing you a happy and positive rest of your day!