“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”
A lot of us have heard the term ‘mindfulness’ when conversations about positivity and positive thinking comes up. But do you know what it really means to achieve mindfulness? And do you know how mindfulness is related to positive thinking? This post will be about the benefits of achieving mindfulness and how it relates to positive thinking. My previous post talked about barriers to positivity. Read it here so you can be aware of the things that can prevent positive thinking and mindfulness.
Mindfulness is being totally aware of how you are feeling in this current moment. It is being aware. Being conscious of your emotions, how you are physically feeling, and just being aware of your mind is. Mindfulness is something used in the context of being happy, joyful, and positive but you can achieve mindfulness and come to the conclusion that the thoughts you have are mainly negative thoughts. Or you can come to the conclusion that you are emotionally off. Mindfulness if awareness – an honest awareness – of how you are feeling in a specific moment.
But, of course, what we strive for is positive mindfulness. So let’s look at a few ways to achieve positive mindfulness.
In order to achieve mindfulness you must slow down. We run through life so fast that we do not often slow down to really take inventory of what we feel. Are you taking deep regular breaths or are you taking quick shallow breaths? Are your thought coming slow and steady or are they racing? Slowing down and becoming aware of your thought patterns can help you see what areas you need to focus on. You may realize that you have a tendency to take things more personally than you should. Or you may realize that you need to become more assertive. You may even come to realize that your energy is low and that you may need to enhance your diet. Slowing down to really analyze all aspects of your being is crucial to being able to maximize your mindfulness.
It is our natural inclination to sometimes jump to negative conclusions but we sometimes have to force ourselves to jump to positive conclusions and expect them to happen. I am notorious for always thinking something will end badly and I defend this way of thinking but saying that I am just planning for the worst case scenario. While that may be true, if I am not careful, I may also be setting an expectation that something will go wrong. Imagine what would happen if I put as much energy planning for a positive outcome as I do planning for a negative outcome. Being intentional about having the expectation that things will go as planned and have a positive outcome go a long way. Training ourselves to jump to positive conclusions will eventually lead us to achieving mindfulness which leads us to having a more positive outlook on life in general.
We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” The assumption being that if you healthily then you will overall be considered healthy. But if you do not eat a healthy diet you will likely feel run down and sluggish due to you not obtaining the nutrients needed to keep your strength up. The same is true with positivity. Be conscious of the company you keep – make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who speak positively and negatively. You must be careful of what you allow yourself to read and hear. Be intentional with what books you read, what music you listen to, and the conversations you have with people. It is a lot easier to be positive when positivity is continually being fed into your spirit.
These are just a few of the things that you can do to try and achieve mindfulness. It takes discipline but it is worth the benefits that can come from it. Here are just a few of the benefits that has been shown that can come from achieving a level of mindfulness.
What else has helped you achieve a state of mindfulness?
So I am going to start this off by acknowledging that there are many barriers to positivity. Getting and remaining positive can be a challenge. It may be even harder during these times because so many not so positive things are happening right now. People are losing jobs, businesses are going under, parents are trying to work from home while supervising children who are attending school virtually. It is a lot. It is easy to feel that there is not much to be positive about. I have often thought this myself. But sometimes positivity is exactly what you need in times like these.
It is hard to be positive when your reality appears very bleak. Our day to day lives are stressful and can feel like a rat race. We go to work, we take care of our children, we run our errands, and then we wake up the next morning to do it all again. When our lives look the same day in and day out, it is not so much that you are sad, it is just that there is nothing especially positive happening. Your rut can put you into a space of accepting that your rat race is all that life has to offer.
You ever experience a space in time where it seems like nothing is going right? Or let’s make it more relevant to what is going on today. What if you have had your hours cut on your job due to COVID-19 and now you are wondering how you are going to pay your rent or mortgage. Then your job search is hindered because you have to supervise your school age children while they attend school virtually. I have been in situations where people have advised that I be positive and I have challenged them to tell me to find the positive in my situation. It is very, very hard to think positive when your perception of your reality is very negative. Your perception of your reality can be a huge barrier to positivity.
We all may engage in a little negative self-talk from time to time. Read my previous post on eliminating negative self-talk here. The key is to not to give that negative voice too much of a place in your thoughts. If negative thinking and negative self-talk is what normally goes through your mind throughout the day, then it has become a habit. It is very hard for positive thoughts to break through when the negative thoughts are easier to access. Negative self-talk can become a habit without you even realizing it. This can make it very hard for you to think positively.
You ever had someone in your circle who always has something negative to say? Some people call these type of people Negative Nancies or Debbie Downers. The bottom line is that it is very hard to keep a positive outlook when you have people around you who constantly remind you of what could go wrong, where your shortfalls lie, and why you will not achieve a certain goal. The company you keep and what they feed your spirit is almost as bad as negative self-talk. Positive thinking is hard when you surround yourself with negative people.
So I have acknowledged a few barriers to positive thinking but I am sure there are more. As you can see, positive thinking is a choice and there are many things that can keep you from thinking positively.
What other things do you consider to be barriers to positivity?