If you can change your mind, you can change your life. -William James
You hear it all the time. Think positive and positive things will happen to you. Many critics would argue that this school of thought is both irresponsible, and unrealistic. After all, not everything in life goes smoothly one hundred percent of the time and an outlook like that can create a false sense of hope, and lead to major disappointment.
But is there some truth to this bizarre phenomenon? or is it simply “wishful thinking” in action? Can we really create a wonderful life experience simply by changing the way we think? Without looking too deeply at the science behind how the mind works (I’ll save that for a future post), there are things we can begin to do today, that can dramatically change the way we experience life.
I wasn’t always a positive person.
I grew up with a very negative and cynical attitude towards life. I always felt that the world was against me and that I was undeserving of things such as success, love, prosperity, and happiness. When things didn’t go my way, I would become resentful and filled with anger. Even when things did go well, I would still manage to see the bad. I became focused on what could go wrong instead of what could, and did, go right.
Every negative experience that I faced was viewed as challenging and unfair in my mind.”Why me?” was my go-to question and no matter what I did, I always seemed to attract misery & misfortune. Attempts to pursue anything meaningful, were followed by rejection and the painful reminder that I just wasn’t good enough for anyone or anything.
Because I chose to think this way, I was failing to see all of the abundance and joy around me and was unknowingly creating more negative experiences. It became a vicious cycle that consumed every part of my life and eventually, began to manifest itself physically. I began to suffer severe panic attacks, anxiety and agoraphobia. This constant battle with myself went on for several years after that.
It wasn’t until I made a conscious, deliberate CHOICE to re-focus my energy, and regain control of my thoughts that I finally began to see significant changes. I began to pay attention to all of the positive aspects of life rather than focusing on the negative. This was certainly not an easy process. After all, when you’ve been habitually sabotaging your state of mind by allowing these beliefs to penetrate and dictate your emotions, it can be tough to overcome.
Now do I still have bad days? of course. Do I still feel anxious from time to time, heck yes. But what’s changed is that I now know 2 very simple truths:
- Nothing in this life is permanent and that includes negative experiences.
- I have 100% control of my mind and the thoughts I choose to hold and believe, even when it feels like I don’t.
Because I now know better, I have learned to enjoy my life and focus on the good …even in negative circumstances. I cannot even begin to express how much it has changed my life in doing so.
So how can you begin to reprogram your mind and change your life?
Getting rid of unwanted habits and creating new ones can be challenging but is absolutely critical in order to begin attracting positive things and experiences into your everyday life. It is also important for your mental growth and personal development. All of the following methods have worked for me and I try my very best to practice them on a daily basis.
Express gratitude for what you have every day.
It’s important to thank God (or any high power that you believe in) for all that has been given to you. When expressing gratitude, focus on all of the wonderful things in your life you currently have and want to multiply. This ensures that you aren’t focusing on what you lack but instead, recognizing what you do have, and being thankful for it!
Things can always be much worse than they are so be aware of the goodness in your life and stop focusing on the thins you lack in your life. Do this and you will notice yourself beginning to attract more and more beauty, happiness, and prosperity into your life.
Treat every negative situation as a learning experience.
This can be an extremely daunting task especially when you’re used to only focusing on the negative. It’s important to remember however that nearly every alleged horrible situation and encounter holds a lesson of It’s own and can actually serve you if you would just choose to see it in that way.
Learn to seek and find the silver lining within the darkness of the clouds and let the problems you face actually serve to make you better. You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact shifting your perspective in this way can have on your overall mood and well-being.
Don’t compare yourself to other people.
When we do this, we fail to see our own successes. It’s important to remember that we each came to this earth with a different purpose. When we look at what others are doing, we are focusing our energy in the wrong direction and failing to acknowledge own talents and abilities.
The truth is that, there will always be someone who is better than you in some way. Whether It’s success, beauty, abundance or health, someone will always have more than you and someone else will have more than them. That is just how the world works! It’s much better to compare yourself to who YOU used to be and ensure that you are making progress in the areas of life that matter most to you year after year.
Learn to forgive, and take responsibility for your actions.
When it comes to things like conflicts, no one likes to admit when they are wrong. We all like to believe that it’s the other person’s fault and that we had very little or nothing to do with the problem at hand. However, this type of mentality is a breeding ground for negative energy. We begin to hold resentment towards others who have hurt us in some way and become so entrenched and focused on the wrong-doing, that we fail to own up to our mistakes. Not admitting when we are wrong hinders our ability to learn from negative experiences and most of all, makes it impossible to forgive others.
In order to be successful and happy, we must learn to forgive. This starts when we are ready to admit that we aren’t perfect either and once we take responsibility for our behavior, we can begin the process of forgiving others. This in turn, allows us to heal physically and emotionally.
Surround yourself with positive and successful people.
You’ve probably heard this one a billion times but that’s because It’s extremely true. We become like the people we spend the majority of our time with. Being constantly surrounded by negative, critical people, can unconsciously cause a huge shift in the way in you think and behave. When going through life, It’s crucial to choose your friends wisely and get the negative naysayers out of your life for good.
It’s amazing what a huge difference it is to spend time with people who elevate your energy rather than drain it. If you have no one like that in your life, It’s important to get involved and meet others on a simliar mission as you. This can be achieved by joining various organizations or event groups either online or in person and getting to know and being around people who lift your spirits. It will change your life.
Get a hobby or get involved with something meaningful.
Seriously…get a hobby! Nothing makes us feel more fulfilled in life than when we are doing something we love and enjoy. When we put our energy into something we’re passionate about, we don’t have time to worry about the critical aspects of life. We don’t have time to pay attention to things like office politics at work or what Sindy said about Suzie. Believe me, there is so much more to life than these minuscule distractions.
Once you realize the bigger picture of life, you will begin to develop a higher sense of self and emotional intelligence. This leads to higher quality of life and allows you to focus on the things that matter most to you. So figure out what it is you love to do and just do it!
It’s easy to be negative, we were basically conditioned to be that way. I challenge you today to make a deliberate choice to live in abundance no matter your current circumstance, no matter what life tells you. Believe that you have everything you need, right now…this very minute and begin putting into practice the things that have helped me. Don’t expect results right away but be gentle with yourself as you go through this transition.
Allow negative thoughts to come and go as they please without tying emotion to them and in time, it will become almost automatic for you. Life isn’t perfect, it was never meant to be, but that doesn’t mean we cannot choose to see it that way.