So far this week I have had to cut myself out of a dress that didn’t fit, deal with an unhappy electrician whose tools I accidentally drove over in the garage, and spend an afternoon smelling like Eau De Latte after spilling coffee all over my cream dress (note to self: don’t wear pastels. Ever.
I should have known this having worked with children for the past decade). Oh and I went out without having re-stocked the nappy bag so had to run around looking for a pharmacy while my daughter sat oblivious and nappy-free in her pram.
So it’s been an eventful week to say the least. For some reason though I’ve been able to find the funny side of it all. I thought it might be helpful to share some of my Positive Thinking tactics:
- Accept things you can’t change. Our attitude has so much to do with our mental health. So often we have no control over an unfortunate situation, but we do have control over how we perceive it and how we choose to respond to it. I can’t avoid the fact that one of my favourite dresses now has a huge slit cut up the side of it after I got stuck in it, but I can choose to laugh at the situation and I can also come up with some solutions for avoiding the same thing happening again and getting the dress fixed. The alternative to thinking positively is to get angry with myself and I know I’d way rather have a laugh at myself than feel down about it. It’s ultimately a choice in how I want to think and consequently feel.
- Get some perspective. Its pretty common to let one negative event overshadow a heap of positives. So I could have spent this afternoon driving home upset because my dress was covered in coffee, but instead I focussed on the fact that I got to catch up for coffee (albeit somewhat misplaced) with my gorgeous girlfriends. Why dwell on the negative when it will only make me feel bad? It will almost always be easier to focus on the negatives – particularly if you’ve been a negative thinker for a while. It will usually require a conscious effort to choose the positive ‘happy’ thoughts rather than the automatic negative ones, but it does become easier the more often you do it and the bonus is feeling happier.
- Be realistic. If you observe your language when you talk and think, you will know you’re being unrealistic if you’re frequently using language like ‘always’, ‘never’ and ‘everyone’. It sounds like I’m nit-picking, but statements like “I always do the wrong thing” or “everyone else is more organised than me” are simply not true. Re-framing these into more accurate statements will make you feel better. Thoughts like “sometimes I make a mistake when I’m under pressure” or “when I’m really busy I sometimes forget to re-stock the nappy bag” are more realistic and situation-specific and won’t result in feeling overly negative about yourself.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I can’t stress this enough. The problem with comparison is that we tend to compare ourselves to people we think are ‘better’ than us which means most comparisons end in us feeling miserable about ourselves. For instance – we will compare ourselves to people who we deem smarter, skinnier, wealthier or happier than us and this can lead to having a general negative self view. Instead try to be objective about yourself and others and focus on your strengths.
At the end of the day, remember that how you think directly impacts how you feel. As tough as it may seem sometimes, you do have a choice in how you think and feel.
This article was written by Amanda Abel from Abel Psychology
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