When negativity butts into your efforts of thinking positive, “keeping it simple” begins with one thing: Be willing
Be willing to STOP, Take a Breath,
and focus only on the basic thoughts that keep life on an even keel.
Well, that’s great if you’re in the mood to be willing. [Oh dear, sometimes I’m not!] In fact, there are days I don’t feel at all patient or tolerant, right from the start, and my willingness is stalled by “roadblocks”.
My usual roadblocks are waking up cranky from lack of sleep; I’ve pretended negatives don’t bother me all day, powering through rather than defusing them as they come along; and, every once in a blue moon, I get a death-grip on "I'm right". By the time 6 or 7 hours have passed, I'm not feeling very cooperative or willing to deal with much of anything that's gone off track. A nice little pile of bad attitude; "a little trash pile" has stacked up and looks like it's ready to ignite.
"I'm Right" ... Can Be the Opposite of I'm Happy "Staying focused on the basics, instead of concerning myself with whether or not I'm right, only for the sake of being right, has been one of the top 10 positive changes felt in my life. I can't state enough that my life feels much more positive when I'm not fighting against anything or anyone."
The current shortcut I use to trash my trashy mood is: Admit to myself I’m in the bad mood, then literally say to myself (even in a whisper): "Fine, I'm willing.” Saying I’m willing to myself, in a semi-sarcastic tone, most always results in a chuckle and a smirk (Which is close enough to a laugh and a smile at this point. At least I’m amused; a step in the correct direction). I find myself smirking, because the next thing that comes to mind is “BEHAVE”, the acronym for the 6 basic thoughts I need to focus on, in order to get in a better mood and become willing to keep my attitude uncomplicated. (Of course, I hear "Oh, beHAVE" in Austin Power’s voice, which might have a hand in the chuckling.) With or without a bad mood in place, about a minute of saying to myself, “Fine, I’m willing”...“BEHAVE”... “Oh, behave”... “Oh, beHAVE!”, I realize what I look and sound like. LOL, this brings an honest smile, as I think to myself, “Alright, alright, I’ll “behave”.
No matter what works, the objective is to break the spell of my ‘determined negative’ mind set. (Side note: Another sure bet to break the spell is pick up my camera and take a 10 minute photographing break. Doing something you enjoy that requires focus many times works like a charm as well.)
6 Basic Thoughts at the core of kick-starting my positive attitude:
Be willing to take a breath and focus; act only in basic mode Encounter pessimism = Defuse pessimism Have your mood set to happy All will work out; it always does Vigorously search for Silver Linings Embrace and spread your happy
(anxiety takes up good mood space)
Getting to the heart of what triggers my roadblocks: A favorite "life is good” key I've come to understand is that staying focused on the basics, instead of concerning myself with whether or not "I'm right", has been one of the top 10 positive changes felt in my life. I can't state enough that my life feels much more positive when I'm not fighting against anything or anyone.
Years of looking at “why” things seemed to go wrong, despite my efforts to stay positive, brought me to this conclusion: I was actually looking at life out a window smudged with pessimism that was fueled by anxiety. Daily life feels more positiveif you can clearly see the positive. Anxiety and pessimism block your view.
How do I halt the "pessimism express" before it has me off track; completely derailed to a point where I can't see a positive when it's staring me right in the face? I "feel it". As soon as I "sense" the anxiety of pessimism, I handle it; before hurdles me toward a fiery crash.
Take a second and think how negativity (pessimism) feels, emotionally and physically. Every time you think and act in a pessimistic manner, anxiety levels rise. Soon worry kicks in, and it's off to the races: Blood pressure climbs, your stomach may churn; a general fidgety or frozen-in-your-tracks sensation comes over you. Not at all a physical state conducive to focusing on a good mood.
An important rhetorical QUESTION : How do you currently combatany anxiety that tries (or succeeds in) creeping into your life?
Give yourself a moment to consider a few ways of handling negative or unpleasant situations: Do you have a go-to-thought that brings you back to remembering, “It will all work out.”?
Do you ride a stress wave and plough through?
Perhaps a combination of both?
Now consider: Of the examples above, which do you think would leave your body more relaxed, your mind more at ease; in general, with a more cheerful, positive outlook on life? If we answer this question, without throwing in the extra complication of thoughts which cater to ego, assumptions, and fear (i.e. "but this situation is different” or “I can’t, because they...”), the answer of course is: “It will all work out.”
You are the only one with the power to make the choice of setting aside the unnecessary extras (“but this situation is different” and “I can’t, because they...") and cut to the chase. The bottom line is: "Keep It Simple" is What Really Changes How You Experience Life.
Take a look at PPPP (Practical Pointers for Pulverizing Pessimism)
(7) Ways to Defuse Negativity/Pessimism on the spot.
By all means, give them a go if you're not familiar with them;
it's worth the effort!
The purpose of the (4) Problem/Remedy/Result examples is to demonstrate, in a more specific way, how potentially bad-ending situations, where our initial thoughts may be negative, can be redirected by our own actions.
The aim is for you to think about how the remedies and results of these common-type problems might apply to your own similar future situations. While these type situations vary in levels of intensity, the essential remedy and results are the same. The examples reflect the essence of situations I have personally seen turn around.
7 Ways to Defuse Negativity/ Pessimism is a go-to for ideas when you need to snap out of a negative spiral. For me, every single one of them has worked at one time or another.
If you have tried similar mindset remedies before, though have no habit yet formed, you might want to go ahead and give the solutions in this blog a whirl. I try to always remember: No two days are the same; even slightly different factors may produce different outcomes.
PPPP (Practical Pointers for Pulverizing Pessimism)
PROBLEM 1: Things aren't going your way. It seems every time you turn around, its more bad news.
REMEDY: No matter how seemingly small, there are silver linings to ALL things. They exist, whether you recognize them or not; whether they are for you, or others deserving of them. Sometimes they aren’t obvious until a later time.
RESULT: The more you look for silver linings in the present and in retrospect, you will see them. The more you are aware; the easier it is to trust they're always present. More of life becomes positive experience when you believe there is a reason for everything.
PROBLEM 2:You feel annoyed by people you have casual or limited interactions with.
REMEDY: You cannot know all the factors; assume the positive about others (when it does not place you in danger). They are “assumptions”, not facts.
RESULT: Gain = Compassion, Kindness, Courtesy, and "You" feel positive. Your positivity is contagious, your interactions become pleasant instead of dreaded.
PROBLEM 3:You feel inconvenienced by a task or obligation.
REMEDY: Find something in the task that appeals to you, focus on it as the main reason for task. See the unpleasant portion as just an unimportant byproduct. Or, create a reward for yourself.
RESULT: You get through the task, without creating distress for other; in turn creating less stress for you. You personally get something out of time spent. Looking forward to something you do for yourself squashes a lot of grumbling feelings
PROBLEM 4: Worry of the unknown.
REMEDY: THINK, is it a worry of great consequence? Sometimes its practical to “briefly” give thought to how you will survive a worst case scenario, but only if the issue will have lasting, serious consequence. Soon as you conclude you will survive, STOP. Don’t replay, DISTRACT with something that brings you joy! You can’t worry and enjoy at the same time.
RESULT:Lose = Repeated worry about something that has not occurred. When you "briefly” think of a realistic plan for “serious what if”, you know you will survive it. Gain = Beautiful positives in front of you now. If you aren’t focused on the happy in front of you, it passes by; you can’t get these exact moments back.
7 Ways to Defuse Negativity - Pessimism:
GRATITUDE Take a moment to think of what you are thankful for; what you have because of something specific. (As small as someone letting you go ahead in line; as big as a roof over your head and food on the table.) If you're stuck on stubborn negative thinking, start with whatever you are lucky enough to "sense" at the moment. You have eyesight, or you could not be reading this now; hearing, if it's being read to you. Just realizing what we have is sometimes not enough though. Take another moment, and truly picture what your daily life would be like, if what you just nonchalantly said you were grateful for was gone. Imagining my life completely without sight usually does the trick to soften my heart and open my mind. When you "feel" gratitude, the desire to show kindness toward others follows. Even the hardest of hearts, if capable of emotion, will attest: In the moment, it's a rush; it simply feels good. Feeling good goes a long way toward achieving that elusive good mood.
CURIOSITY Become curious about the different components of the problem. This works especially well with flipping assumptions. When curious, you open a whole range of possible positives your imagination can fill-in; irritation can turn to compassion in a heartbeat.
PHYSICAL EXERSION** Going for a walk, or other healthy movement, causes your body to produce endorphins; chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and help with relaxation physically. The mind and body will follow each other; so when you're having a hard time calming one of them, try calming the other; it helps more than you might imagine.
LOWER (or raise) BODY TEMPERATURE, LITERALLY Body temperatures can fluctuate and cause discomfort as a result of stress. Again, physical and mental are linked. Soothing physical helps soothe your mood.
NOURISHMENT and SLEEP Oh, I know, this is one of those in-one-ear-and-out-the-other, heard it a Million times bits of information. But I finally understood through trial and error: It's true. I really do have much worse moods when I'm too hungry (I always laugh at the slang for this: "Hangry"), and I really do lose cognitive ability with lack of sleep. (Yes, you know me well, I see you shaking your head and smiling, LOL, I don't blame you!) I freely admit there are a few illogical, obstinate, plain old poor choices I've made, as well as additional measures I have yet to put in place to counter my specific challenges. Having paid the price though, I figured it can't hurt to mention the better choices; just in case it may help someone else stop short of duplicating the lesson.
FIND THE HUMOR and LAUGH As long as you are not laughing "at" someone else (potential here for actually making matters worse) finding good natured humor in anything and everything is a powerful way to knock negativity and pessimism off balance. You can seriously "feel" the physical difference in your posture and breathing quite easily. The humor I usually spot the easiest when stressed is expanding the things I don't care for, into an obvious ridiculous state. (i.e. My pretend arguments with Mother Nature when the weather is too hot and I'm physically miserable). Pretending to "have a serious talk with Mother Nature and give her a piece of my mind" makes me laugh, as it points out there is nothing I can do to change the actual weather. This prompts me to turn my attention and energy to actually finding a way to cool off , rather than earnestly wasting my time complaining about the heat.
RESEARCH IT A favorite of mine to combat negativity! Yes, even including "The Big F"= Fear. Should what I find not be pleasant, I prefer having a better idea of what I'm dealing with when it comes to things of a negative nature. It provides me with a sense of security; I don't feel as vulnerable if I at least know more about what's coming at me. Especially if I "must" deal with it.
(**Before engaging in physical exertion beyond your normal activities, it is always advisable to consult a professional who is familiar with your personal physical history and any current conditions.)
A Story About The Lead Photograph (K.I.S.S.?)
The feature photograph of nesting squirrel (K.I.S.S.?), was taken back in March of this year (on the same day as the two other photographs in this post). I chose the feature shot because it reminds me of what I feel like when I forget to keep it simple: Biting off more than I can chew!
Wow, last Spring was a blast at this location! This City constructed ponding basin was teaming with activity! If I had not heard the traffic passing by, I’d have sworn I was at a natural pond, in the middle of nowhere. I'm guessing the abnormally crowded condition of the basin was due to migration. I mean, not only were we talking squirrels zipping around, courting, and making nests, but astonishing sights, like huge flocks of pelicans! (Pelicans traditionally being found on coastal fronts; this basin being several hundred miles inland!)
Spring is a time of year when it’s hard to keep up with which direction to shoot; do I zoom in on egrets, poking around for dinner at the shoreline? Or point up at a squadron of geese making their final approach to water? All these critters busying themselves on and around this manmade haven at supper time; makes my head spin every time.
Thinking of this shoot, it dawns on me that it's perhaps a little odd that I always say Autumn is my favorite time of year. I forget how awesome an afternoon filled with peach blossoms, damp air and a fab, drab sky can be! Especially when it’s a decent rain year; the heavy clouds absorb the colors of sunset and magic appears. Yup, I’d say Spring runs a very close second to Autumn as my favorite season. The bare trees against colorful skies is enough to swing my vote heavily, for sure!
Hey, wait a minute... I remember now why Spring lost points: Spring means Summer is around the corner! Hmph. While I enjoy sunshine, temperatures reaching 113F (45C) feels a bit much (she said with a grumble).
What we have here is the beginnings of complaining I'm afraid to say; indeed, just thinking about the sweltering heat made my brow furrow. Sounds like an opportunity to combat this feeling quickly, before it harshes my fun vibe (can't have that!). Now where did I put that silver lining? Ah! here it is. The silver lining is:
Summer is only three months out of twelve. I can do anything for three months. Reminiscing now on the fun and beauty I've enjoyed outdoors... all due to the fact Mother Nature does provide enjoyable weather 75% of the time, makes me think again. Even though that other 25% of the time is truly uncomfortable, those are odds many would take. Maybe I am getting a good deal after all? Which brings me to the second silver lining that comes to mind: In addition to good weather the majority of the time, there's the fact that a feeling of gratitude is being created as I think on how lucky I am. Gratitude ranks right up there with love and feeling accepted when it comes to powerful, pure feelings. When pure feelings of this nature surge through me, the excitement can be physically felt, and I tell you, it’s pretty tough to feel grumpy with good feelings surging through me! Well, what do you know? Seems this is a good demonstration of how part of this keep it simple thing works: The pessimism and grumbling has been replaced by lovely thoughts (including there are still six more months until Summer). No time for thinking about something I'm not fond of now; Winter and Spring are ready for my attention!
Image: “K.I.S.S.?” f/7.1 – 1/500– ISO 400 focal length 300mm Post processing: Adobe Elements 12 Canon EOS Rebel XT 03/18/18
Plastic Promises; A Childhood Story
Regular Format post: "3 Secrets About Fun" moved to January 5, 2019 Publish Date
Welcome! If you would like to get to know who is authoring this blog a little better, I've shared some background on myself in the 'About' page; located in 'Menu' at the top of home page.
Very much looking forward to sharing topics and suggestions with you which have contributed to my own positive outlook on life, as well as providing information you are welcome to utilize in nurturing your own life's journey.
Truly hope you find this blog to be a bright spot in your days, and enjoy the rewards that come with a positive outlook!