Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off

Have you ever noticed how much better you feel when you are thinking positive thoughts? When you're focusing on all you have rather than on what you don't have?

Try this little exercise. Say as many negative words as you can think of, very slowly. Let each one sink in. (These words will differ from one person to another, but you might try words such as attack, violence, robbery, cancer or fired.) Notice how your body feels after a minute or two of that. Did you find yourself clenching your fists, tightening up inside, frowning?

Take a few deep breaths as a transition. Now slowly say several positive words that make you happy: sunshine, relax, family, friends, healthy. How does your body feel now? More opened up and relaxed?

It doesn't take much to imagine what a difference our internal messages make to our stress levels and our overall health. Even when you have a long to-do list, it might be more helpful and you might be more productive if you give yourself a positive message such as, "All is well" rather than a negative one such as, "I'm dying here." When you fall in some way, just pick yourself up and try again. Look for the learnings in a negative situation—that can turn it into a positive for you.

Start by just noticing your internal messages. Check your outlook each time you get up from your desk or each time you make a phone call. Do you need to switch gears and reframe things so you can see the good side rather than the down side of an experience? Decide on a small step to start thinking positively. Add another small step. And another. Voila, you will feel happier and more open to life and all its possibilities!

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