Life can be great, especially if we’ve got our ducks in a row and we’re doing the kinds of things we want to do, with the kinds of people we like, and are finding new and fulfilling reasons to get out of bed every morning and throw ourselves into the adventure of the day.
Then again, life can be pretty miserable at other times; such as when our health is faltering, and our plans aren’t bearing fruit.
While there are always steps we can take to improve things; such as refining our habits, and redecorating our homes with goods from montgomery.co.uk, it’s not uncommon to find that we often end up feeling melancholy and negative even if things are generally going pretty well.
If that sounds at all like you, here are some tips for acquiring a more positive and feel-good approach to life.
Getting in the habit of arguing with your negative thinking
At the root of much, if not all, of our pessimism and negativity, is habitual, ongoing negative thinking. This kind of negative thinking can occur at any moment, and tends to affect just about every aspect of our lives.
We may start off by having breakfast, but then notice that one piece of toast is a bit more burnt than we would have liked. “Breakfast’s ruined, I just keep messing everything up” might be the negative thought process that goes along with the event.
The psychologist Martin Seligman, famous for his work on positivity and his book “Learned Optimism” pointed out the importance of arguing against your negative thinking on a regular basis.
If you notice yourself spiralling into negative thinking, first identify the event that triggered the negative thought. Then identify the negative belief. Then identify the negative effects of that belief (depression, for example), then dispute that belief. Is there a different way of looking at things? Could you be wrong?
Remember that how you think about the world affects how you see and experience it
Studies have found evidence that the way you think about the world, and the things you pay attention to, change the way you see the world, literally.
But you don’t even need scientific studies to realise that this is true. Consider the following example:
If someone asks you to look around the room intensively for 10 seconds, and count as many blue objects as you can see, and then, once the buzzer has gone off, they ask you how many red objects you saw, what will be your answer?
Clearly, you either wouldn’t have noticed or wouldn’t have paid attention to the red objects. It’s the same with our emotions. If you look only for the negative, you won’t see the positive.
Keep reminding yourself that you don’t see the world “accurately” so you may as well see it optimistically.
Practice mindfulness meditation to get some space away from your thoughts
Mindfulness meditation is an ancient practice which has the ability to open up a bit of space between us and our thoughts, by training us to observe them in a non-judgemental way, while directing our attention towards a specific point of focus.
Many services, apps, and books exist to teach the basics of meditation.
According to research, regular meditation really can change the brain in some fundamental ways that make us feel less controlled by our thoughts.