Are Positivity Challenges in vogue?
I was recently tagged by not one but two friends to openly participate in the challenge by posting a list of 3 positive statements for 5 days in a row and nominating 3 friends each day to play along. I played the first day and then dropped out because I did not feel like posting my gratitude list when I am already doing a deeper practice.
Do we really struggle to maintain a positive frame of mind? Do we need public accountability to ‘think positive’? The answer is quite possibly a resounding affirmative.
My original plan for this weekend’s post was to create a List of my all-time popular posts over the last year. To my surprise, the winner, by a wide margin, was a post written way back in January 2013 – Do You Dare To Take the 7 Day Positivity Challenge.
It inspired me to do a Google Search for Positivity Challenge and found 5,440,000 results in 0.24 seconds which included Pinterest Boards as well as quite a few Facebook Pages on the topic with over 300 Likes.
Do we really struggle to find happy events that fuel positive emotions?
I admit it is not easy to stay positive when we are bombarded with negative news in the papers, television and internet. The economic environment has also not lent itself to staying positive for long periods of time. The stress of everyday life can be overwhelming, create anxiety and yes, distort the way we view the world. Negative thinking reigns supreme and the positivity challenge remains popular.
Change your lens, change your world
If you have tried the 7 Day Positivity Challenge and flunked, then perhaps a little more work is required to change the way you see the world instead of restarting at the beginning and going through the entire cycle.
Here are some ways you can arrest negative thinking in its tracks.
Quit playing Chicken Licken
It is one thing to think of a worst case scenario to build your courage to step out of your comfort zone and take up a challenge, but that does not mean that we paralyze ourselves into inaction by expecting the worst to happen.
Better known as “catastrophizing”, such thinking is an excellent way to remain stuck in negativity. If you find yourself falling into this type of thinking, tweak it with a few rational thoughts and act on those.
For example, your internet connection is down for the evening? Instead of fretting about all the Facebook activity you are missing out on consider it as an opportunity to spend more quality time with your family or get some important work that you have been putting off done.
Stop being Judgemental
Have you ever had the experience that an incident is long gone and forgotten by everyone but you are unable to get it out of your mind?
It can happen to the best of us not once but often in different areas of our life – the office, the home and even with friends. It might have been something important that has now been clarified or some action which might not be a big deal for the other party but is for you. Apologies have been given and accepted, and YET……
If you are finding yourself in a similar situation, learn how to release those judgements in my blog post
Take credit for the times that you get it right
We are conditioned from childhood to be humble and not to show off but as far as I know, that teaching does not include playing down the positives for the things that we do right or for the good things that we achieve through effort.
For example, when a colleague congratulates you on a good presentation, instead of playing it down, why not thank them and beam with joy because you know how hard you worked and are ready to bask in the light of accomplishment?
By acknowledging the positive event, you are boosting your self-esteem and creating a positive outlook. You will not be at a loss to post 3 reasons for being positive on Facebook – it is there!
Use Filters for Coffee not Positives
This is a biggie and far more common than you would imagine – our ability to focus on the negatives in a situation while filtering out all the positives. Or worse, focusing on the 1 thing that may have gone wrong rather than accepting all of the things that did go right.
A good example is the recent Master Chef Australia episode where 3 contestants were preparing Sushi for the first time in an elimination round. One of the contestants forgot to put in an ingredient properly and obsessed over it. The fact that she managed to complete the challenge did not seem to count. The interesting part is that she was the first one declared safe and got the most compliments! The contestant who had left a bone in her fish was eliminated.
If filtering is your bête noire, then try maintaining a list of all that has gone right during the day. Review the list at the end of the day and see where you stand. Just cannot let go of the negatives? Keep track of that too. If you play the game properly, you’ll see the positives win hands down.
Take full responsibility for yourself -not the world
It is good to be responsible and to act responsibly but it is better to be responsible for those situations that are within your sphere of control and influence instead of taking ownership for all the problems of the world – including global warming.
When we personalize things, we assume responsibility for things that we may not be able to control. Remember the saying that you can bring a horse to water but cannot make the horse drink the water? Precisely!
A positive approach would be to rationally evaluate the situation on hand and determine how much if any responsibility you really have for the outcomes and focus on making sure that you do your bit rather than indulging in self-blame or covering up for others.
These are just 5 ways that we can change our outlook and see the brighter side of life and the list is by no means exhaustive.
Your turn, how do you stay positive? Any tips to keep those awful negative gremlins at bay? Do share your insights in the comments box below!
PS. Need more help to get into a positive frame of mind? Try the exercise on examining your beliefs in the Self-Improvement Strategies Workbook. It will help you win the 7 Day Positivity Challenge for sure!
Share with others!