I read something recently which made me think. An author, who was not English, in answer to a question about what annoyed her about living in Britain, answered, “British negativity”. We all have times when we feel less than positive, and right now this feeling is being rammed home hard in the press, but I don’t necessarily buy into the belief that negativity is a specifically British characteristic. What we can all do is to challenge our own negativity, when necessary, and as a life coach, I also challenge the negativity of my clients, whatever their nationality.
I’ve been reading a rather brilliant book lately, called “Flip It” by another great life coach: Michael Heppel. I’d recommend it for use as a toolbox to encourage positive thoughts and ideas in a variety of day-to-day situations. One of the many useful reminders: it is entirely up to me how I view a situation, and I am in control of that. So, whether I think positively or negatively about something is my choice. I know which I’d rather do for the main part!
To be positive takes practice. The mind is like a muscle; it requires training to become strong; to work in a particular way; to develop and work for you. As we never know when we might need to call upon our reserves of positivity, it’s a good idea to train at some level all the time, so that when the need arises, we have the resources to deal effectively with a situation. Here are some life-coach-recommended tips to try. There are seven here: one for every day of the week, and I’m sure you can think of more:
- Affirmations first thing in the morning: build them into your daily routine, so they become second nature. Choose carefully: you need to believe what you’re telling yourself about the good things that await you in the day ahead.
- Smile. It’s an instant pick-me-up. It’s also amazing to see the reaction you will get from others too, if you just smile at them: most will smile back, and then you’ve doubled your positivity.
- Work at changing your perspective. If you’re tempted to think of an issue or event in a negative way, challenge yourself to work out the positive side to it. How could you change it? Be as creative as you dare!
- At some point each day, reflect on, and bring into focus something that’s gone well. There will always be something; it doesn’t have to be a ground-breaking event. It might be the simple completion of a particular task.
- Count your blessings. I can’t stress enough how important gratitude is: make a list of all the good stuff in your life, no matter how small or large. You can then re-read the list to remind yourself periodically. Be on the lookout every day for something small and special. Once you’re actively looking, I promise you’ll find it.
- Break state and change your focus if you find yourself in that downward spiral of negative thinking; stop, and focus yourself elsewhere. Do something completely different. Exercise, watch or listen to something amusing or inspiring on YouTube or TED, go and talk to someone positive, change your activity.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people who will inspire and encourage you. Actively search them out. You will support each other at different times, and the association will bring benefits to everyone.
And if you’re still in any doubt, take your pick of the fabulous versions of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s song for your inspiring affirmation. You could even sing it yourself!
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between