The mind is a battlefield. Negative thoughts attack at rapid speed. Your defense and offense is positivity.
It's been said over and over again in multiple ways our thoughts shape us. Zig Ziglar, one of America's most prominent motivational speakers and success coaches, puts it this way, "Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will." He goes on to say positive thinking won't automatically change your negative circumstances but positive thinking invites motivation, encouragement, and determination which turn around a negative circumstance. Negative thinking doesn't provide any solutions to a problem. Learn how to change your negative thinking to positive thinking and you'll learn to have positive solutions and positive circumstances.
If positive thinking is key to positive circumstances then why are there so many negative people and why does my inner critic constantly taunt me and remind me that I'm not good enough?
Just think about it, we're inundated with negative at every turn in our lives: driving (road rage), social media, news, stress, family demands, work demands, and the list goes on. It feels awful and hopeless. Just writing these words induces anxiety.
The other day when I was out on a run, I was reminded how quickly negative situations rob us of joy and how positive actions produce positive results.
I was running. My heart was beating rapidly and I was panting like a dog. Recognizing I needed a short break to restore my breathing, I walked. As my breathing became more rhythmic instead of labored sweat slid down my cheeks and off the tip of my nose catching the attention of a pesky horsefly. The biting and stinging kind. As I walked, he circled and circled my head buzzing and buzzing. I swatted. I shook my head left to right swinging my ponytail. To no avail, it wouldn't leave me alone. Apparently, it wanted to sip salty sweat more than getting swat.
Finally, I began running again. Mr. Pesky was no where to be seen. His buzzing and biting robbed my positive running attitude and joy. Temporarily. But he taught me a lesson:
There are lots of negative voices in the world buzzing around us. We have to be intentional to combat them.
Like my running experience, we've got to start again when we slow down or get off the positive path. It might take more than a swat or two or a thought or two, but being intentional with positivity and positive activity will drown out the negativity. It will flee. Being intentional and consistent wins. Every time.
Our thoughts like words have power to build up or tear down. We get to choose. Offensive and defensive measures scare away the pesky negative from landing.
The following are reasons to take action:
Your thoughts affect your circumstances.
All actions begin with a thought. Change your thoughts to change your circumstances.
Your thoughts effect your health and body.
Clean thoughts make clean habits. Thoughts of malice, envy, and disappointment rob our body of health and grace. Sour thoughts make a sour face. On the other hand, strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body with vigor. Anxiety attacks our nervous system weakening it leaving cracks for disease. Dispel disease with pure positive thoughts.
Your thoughts effect achievement.
Doubt and fear are enemies of purpose, power, and energy. Conquer doubt and fear with faith and truth. For every negative thought, counter it with a positive thought. Instead of thinking: I have so much to do. Focus on how far you've come.
Your thoughts steal serenity.
Just the other day, I let What if scenarios rob my serenity and joy. My mind rehearsed every possible way a project could go wrong. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became. Finally, I stopped the negative thoughts. It took being mindful and reflecting upon what actions were sapping my energy. Once recognized, I stopped and replaced the negative What if scenarios with positive. For example, Instead of thinking What if it fails, think What if it works out and what can I do today to make one step forward. Think: Even if the project fails, what will I learn? For every negative What if there is a positive What if...
How do you take action?
It's a mindset. It's a habit of intentionally turning negative up-side-down with it's positive counter part.
The following are some steps I take:
Daily affirmations- Your brain is hard-wired to believe what you tell it. Fill it with positive self-talk. Make daily affirmations a habit! This habit might be the most powerful and easy-to-do habit of all. (I've shared one below. However, I have a stack of affirmation statements I've written on index cards. One of mine states: "I'm lean, strong, and healthy." If you're not accustomed to affirmations, those words will sound silly. However, thoughts manifest actions. I'd rather tell myself those words than state, "I'm gaining weight and eating too much." Do you see what I mean?)
Filter what goes into your mind. An old adage states: "Garbage in, garbage out." The opposite rings true: "Positive in, positive out."
Change your narrative-Tame your inner critic by focusing on truths of what is good, pure, praiseworthy, and worth repeating.
Put your energy into a solution instead of ruminating the problem.
Hang out with positive people. It's been stated by multiple influential leaders that we are the sum of the last five books we've read and the five people we spend time with. Find your positive people and spend time with them, and you'll see your perspective tilt positively.
Follow positive people on social media. Read uplifting books and articles.
Change course- I used to run in the mornings until temperatures climbed to 80's and 90's. At first I complained, "It's too hot to run." Taking my own advice, I had to flip the script, change the narrative and change course. I realized I had to change my running schedule from afternoons to mornings. When you pause, reflect and flip negative to positive possibilities solutions show up. Reflection and being mindful allowed me to change course for positive outcomes.
Uproot any negative that causes you to sway and slide away from positive-Uprooting negative influence can be anything in your life from people to material items. Only keep peace and positive in your life. It's your one and only life. You are worth it.
If you you remove negative people from your life. Please don't flush them. I've been guilty of uprooting negative people and never wanting to think of them again. There's a better way.
Forgive first them for any wrong doing or negativity they projected in your life and compost the experience. If you're not a gardener you may be thinking what in the world does composting have to do with uprooting negative people?
It's okay. I get it. I wasn't always interested in gardening. So let me explain.
My husband and I pruned our trees. Pruning dead branches promotes growth and leaves room for a healthy plant. (Omitting negative from our lives is like this.) After we prune, we gather all the clippings and put them into a compost bin. Compost bins usually consist of fruit peelings, grass clippings, and tree clippings.
Something beneficial happens from dead, old, and unwanted plant parts. With time, they decompose into rich soil. Composted goods create a soil amendment which produces a healthier more bountiful harvest.
So when I suggest composting experiences, I'm suggesting to put them into a bin in your mind where you learn and grow from the negative people and experiences. Your life will be richer and more bountiful.
Developing STRONG habits is a journey. Wield negative thoughts designed to defeat you with positive thoughts. Take control of the battle in your mind and omit negative. You can do it. One step at a time.
I believe in you.
This is part 5 of a 7 part series: STRONG Educators
Read the others here:
Part 4- STRONG Educators Rest & Revive
Part 5- STRONG Educators Omit Negative
Part 6- STRONG Educators Never Give UP
Part 7- STRONG Educators Go Deeper
You make a difference!