Positivity is a Matter of Choice
I’m generally considered a positive person, but that doesn’t mean I’m positive 100% of the time. And I’m not alone! According to a study in 2013 Psychology Today discovered that of the 65,000 thoughts that we have each day a staggering 70 percent of them are negative. And so even people that presume to be positive can be prone to negative thoughts deep-down and on an automated, subconscious level.
To be positive doesn’t mean the absence of the negative. It just means that positive people like myself deal with negativity, adversity and challenges in a different way. In a way that accepts there are things we cannot change, but also recognising there is power in the way we can respond to things happening to and around us. We have the power of choice: to choose to accept the “bad” with good grace, or to regard it as an opportunity to learn or to divert attention away so that our energy is not sucked down into a negative vortex.
Some people espouse the view that we cannot fundamentally change who we are programmed to be and change our fate. Indeed, I accept that we inherit many different physical traits, beliefs and habits through our bloodline and through our conditioning whilst growing up, especially when we are young and most “absorbent” (like sponges)! However, we can counter the effects just by intellectually and emotionally changing our perspective on things. Let us not be too ready to accept the labels that are imposed on us from early childhood and which we seem to cling on to throughout adulthood. Regrettably, it’s often a late “awakening” when we realise that we have full control over what transpires in our life. Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens because of us!
It was very much when I was training to be an Energy Alignment Method mentor, that this became significantly clear. I had been immersed in a “good” Catholic upbringing, but I was not really that spiritual – i.e. fully in tune with God’s spirit within me. Many cradle Catholics unfortunately are like that: we think of God as a power beyond us (accessible only via prayer), that we have to revere and bow down to. But it only became clear to me in doing the energy work, that I am a force of nature, of God’s creation, a manifestation of God’s supreme love. We have such an immense power to create a positive life for ourselves. It’s only our beliefs and feelings that are standing in our way. Sometimes those thoughts, beliefs and feelings actually create the very thing we wish to avoid. Energy goes where our focus goes. Thoughts, beliefs and emotions are forms of energy and if they are directed at focusing on the negative, then because like energy attracts like energy, we get more negative things happening to us.
The first step in becoming positive is to realise this and to be more aware of the way we respond to events, people and circumstances. We become aware of how we think and feel and engage with that event, person or circumstance. Awareness is the first step towards being able to change our perspective. Eckhart Tolle speaks of this in “The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace is transmuted into peace”.
7 Powerful Techniques to Flick the Switch from Negative to Positive
1. The Energy Alignment Method
The Energy Alignment Method is a tool that helps us move from a non-peace or negative energetic state to a peaceful and positive energetic state. This method identifies – with our body sway as the indicator – that we can have negative energies residing within us that are passed on to us energetically via our ancestors (often unconsciously), or that are imbued within us as a result of our beliefs, thoughts, conditioning and emotions created in response to our life’s experiences and expectations and our upbringing.
We use a simple mantra to release any negative energies (“resistances” in the language of EAM) and when fully released, we then apply a counter-mantra to align to a much higher positive energy (thoughts of empowerment and emotions of love, joy and freedom). If you’d like more information on this method, either visit About EAM page, or contact me for further details.
I’m a firm believer in this practice. I started it in earnest after I read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. This is an interactive 30-day guide to help you experience gratitude on a deep level. Rhonda Byrne explains that by being grateful for everything we have already (no matter how small or seemingly trite), we attract more and more positive things into our lives. A few weeks into this practice and I was already seeing wonderful things manifesting in my life – new client bookings for my therapies, more rave reviews without me even intentionally seeking them. When you stop the practice for any small period of time, you begin to notice a dip in your so-called good fortune.
This is another practice that I started relatively late in life (Autumn 2018), even though I had done a fair bit of yoga in my life and loved the visualisations at the end of every session.
Why is it important to meditate? Meditation actually affects us on a physical, not just emotional and psychological level. It alters the nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic. What the heck does this mean I hear you say? Well, it can bring about the following.
- It slows our heart and breath rate down – helping us to feel immediately more relaxed and in control.
- It helps us better digest and metabolise – great if you’re struggling with digestive or energy-release issues.
- Over the short-term, de-stressing hormones are released, such as prolactin, oxytocin, vasopressin, and acetylcholine. Our brains get a chance to relax and feel more at peace. This gives our brains time to process better and improve our short-term memory.
- Over the long-term, you can experience an improved memory, higher levels of growth hormones, better sleep, and relief from any tension headaches.
All in all, meditation helps release tension and nervous energy. It helps us make sense of things, putting everything in its proper perspective. It can create a pathway to our intuition and open us up to our creative source/higher power. Who wouldn’t want that?
4. Acts of Kindness
By initiating acts of kindness, towards ourselves, and especially towards others, our attention is diverted away from what we feel may be lacking in our lives or is negatively impacting us.
It starts by being aware of how we can assist and support both ourselves and one another. The sheer intention of kindness leads to a progressive upward spiral towards well-meaning thoughts and kind, altruistic deeds. It has been known that when we begin to wire ourselves towards kindness, we become by nature more kind and more receptive to kindness in others.
Paying forward kindness boosts our serotonin levels – serotonin is a happy neuro-transmitter (hormone) that impacts almost every part of our body. It regulates our mood, our emotions and helps mitigate depression and feelings of anxiety. There is also a primer effect – those who are on the receiving end of gestures of kindness (a smile, an unexpected gift or kind greeting or word) are more likely to notice positive things in their external world and are more inclined to think the world as more benevolent.
5. Ditch the Negative Self-Chatter
To remain positive and sane, we need to squash the inner critic and self-judgement. Perfectionists are extremely poor at this sort of thing and I’m no exception here. Positive self-talk is instrumental to making progress in life and to maintaining a positive outlook.
It is suggested that the words “I should”, “I ought”, “I need to”, “I gotta” be eradicated from our daily mind-vocabulary and replaced by more encouraging and supportive words that put us under less stress, such as “I choose to”, “I can surely try to”, “I wish to”.
6. Setting Small, Achievable Goals
Whilst it’s important to have a big WHY and a hairy, audacious goal, it is equally important to break this down into smaller bite-size mini-goals. We still work with the overall end in mind, but we focus less on how we think we’re going to get there over an extended period of time. Instead we focus on what we can manage in the next 30-90 days. More than that is too much for our brain to cope with and puts us under unnecessary duress. Setting realistic, achievable small goals is important, because when we can achieve them, our body releases the pleasure and bliss hormone dopamine. This hormone revs us up, helps to keep us motivated and on track. We are less likely to fall victim to gloom and depression.
7. A Healthy Routine
Another key ingredient to a positive attitude and life is to have a healthy routine. It’s important to have a balance between sleep, exercise, good food as well as mind and spirit activities, such as positive reading, journaling, meditation, praying and so on. A key part of this routine would be to find time, weather permitting, to get out in nature for a walk or a jog.
There are many books that document and research the positive effects of a healthy routine. Some of the better ones are Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and The 5am Club from Robin Sharma. Basically, when you start early enough in the day, the more you can accomplish without interruption, and the better the impact on your productivity, your physical and mental health and the more upbeat you will feel as you start family or work life.
Naturally, it takes time to set up such a routine. The University College London (UCL) has documented that it takes around 66 days to embed a new habit. Also habit creation is linked to cues and rewards. So if we can put running shoes near our bed, we are more likely to get up and go for a run. Similarly, if we can plan our chores/to-do lists ahead (the night before), we are more likely to be able to switch off and then switch back on immediately in the morning with ideas that the brain has been percolating overnight (at a sub-conscious level). And if we can reward ourselves at every step of the way (say at the end of a week of staying the course), we can treat ourselves to a bottle of wine, bar of chocolate, or whatever you deem your “bait” to be.
You may be interested in listening to my series of podcasts on the Power of our Energy. One of them looks at the power of our thoughts and why we keep getting stuck in the negative treadmill of our mind, which you may find illuminating after reading this article.