Be Positive!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

So we all know someone that is overly negative and heck sometimes on the worst day we might be that person, but I am here to tell you that you can honestly help yourself to feel better by thinking positive.  

For the most part I would describe myself as a problem solver.  However, there are those times when something just gets under my skin and I can't see my way to solving it and therefore negativity brews. 

A few months ago, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly and I had to go up north for the funeral.  My emotions were threefold:  (1) Sadness - from losing my grandmother and seeing my grandfather grief; (2) Anger - my sister and I got into a huge fight before we left on our road trip north; (3) Disappointment - I just became overly fed up with the family drama; mainly my thoughts on my relationships with my sisters.  So of course, once I got home it all seemed to boil over inside all at once.

My first thought was to problem solve.  So I went to my trusty friend google and started typing in random searches. Initially, two things occurred.  I found countless articles about forgiveness and blah blah blah. Really?  My thoughts ... sure I can forgive and then forgive again the next time and forgive again the next time, but really?? - I didn't remember googling "how to be a doormat" so needless to say that was unhelpful.  Then, I legitimately contemplated therapy but honestly my feeling was that I didn't have the strength or the want to catch someone up on the issue.  Step two, I started looking for self help books.  Surely there is one out there entitled, "How to Deal with your Sisters that even in their 30s are still your Bratty Little Sisters" - no such luck.  However, I did find The Gratitude Diaries, by Janice Kaplan and this book helped me start my journey into positive thinking.

Spoiler alert but the overall message of the book is to find something positive in every day.  It can be ANYTHING.  Also, keep a gratitude diary.  This is where I initially got hung up.  Diary?  Oh I need a pretty one?  Etc.  Then I thought okay one more thing to lug around and or have to remember to do every night when I get home.  Ugh no.  So we all know how much I love my friend google and chrome so I searched through the chrome apps and found Journey.  It's a pretty basic journaling app.

On October 20th, I started my journal.  I decided that mornings were the best time for me.  Recap anything bothering me from the night before (you know any of the stuff keeping me up at night or causing me to toss and turn) and start the day off with some positive thoughts.  It helps me get that "thing" bothering me out of the forefront of my mind by addressing it and then moving on to happier thoughts.  

My first day had 7 positive items.  The items range from loving my new shorter hair to feeling grateful for my husband.  Also, #7 being props to myself for getting to #7 right out of the gate. There are some days when it can seem hard to find something positive (this is also addressed in the book) but even the littlest thing counts.  For example, one day one of my positive thoughts was leaving the house on time and not having to deal with all the stress that comes from running late. The point is your positive thought(s) don't have to be earth shattering stuff it just something positive that puts a pep in your step.  If and when I get to a complete loss of something positive ... I'll leave the app up and think about it.  Something will come to you, sometimes it's just hard to pull something out of thin air and it not feel demanding ... THINK OF SOMETHING POSITIVE NOW!!!

So once I got the journaling down, I have started implementing the positive thoughts into real life action so that when something bad happens the negative doesn't knee-jerk out.  (again discussed in the book) This is the hardest part.  C'mon - there are just moments when we all get mad and/or are in a bad mood.  Which is completely okay.  It's not about suppressing that or making yourself feel bad for having feelings about whatever bothering you.  The positive is going to help you move past it, not instantly in some cases but to where it's not overly consuming. 

Here's a generic example, recently out shopping I had horrible customer service.  Two employees at said store were completely rude to almost down right hateful.  Instead of getting mad or being rude in return I just thought to myself stay positive.  At that moment, it might have been through gritted teeth but I made it out of the store with my purchase and without surrendering to their level of hostility.  In the past, it would have put a damper on my day, plus don't get me wrong I was upset when it was happening.  However to move past it, I just reminded myself that (1) the store was busy and who knows what those customer service people had endured before me (um no NOT black friday but still), (2) inside my actual world - these people don't exist (of course they exist but up until this moment I had no knowledge of that existence).  I don't know them and will probably never see them again so why let them have so much power to be able to affect me this much.  (3) Laugh it off - literally.  I can find the humor in practically everything so it's time to start putting that to use in annoying moments.  (4) Think about how great the actual day has been and not to focus on that 5 or 10 mins.

All in all, I am a work in progress, it's only been under two months, but I can tell I have made some progress (note the positive thought).  It will take time to build up to being at a place of always looking on the bright side.  Also, it's totally okay if you have to just start off with reminding yourself each time ... STAY POSITIVE!

So even though my sisters will probably never change, I am changing my internal thoughts by trying to focus on positives rather than being engulfed by negatives that I can do nothing about.  Believe me positive thoughts aren't the magic solution to all your problems.  It's not as if everything bad just disappears, but the positive thoughts keep you sane.  So in a sense it is being able to see this is crap but this is good and to be happy for the good so that the crap doesn't take over.

So what's your positive thought for today?

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