Having a positive perspective isn’t always easy, is it?
If you’re like me, you were a little late to the show on the “positive thinking train.” I didn’t learn about the power of positive thinking and the Law of Attraction until my late twenties!
This means it can be easy to slide back into old ways, if you aren’t careful. After 20, or 30 or 50 years of thinking negatively and focusing on what you don’t like, it can be very seductive to fall back into these old patterns. When you’ve spent decades looking at the world negatively, sometimes those rose-colored glasses don’t always feel so comfortable.
So, what’s an old dog to do when he or she wants to learn new tricks?
Here are a few plans I lean on when I feel myself creeping downward. Sometimes, just one will do the trick. Other times, it helps to use a few together.
Practicing these exercises frequently will turn these strategies into habits, making it easier and easier to make the shift when need be.
1. Look for the prettiest/most beautiful object in your line of sight
This could be a beautiful sunset, a smiling child or a shiny new car. Find something that is naturally beautiful to look at and remind yourself, “that is a part of my reality!”
2. Think back on fond memories
Life has had it’s high points, and this is true for all of us. In a negative moment, stop what you’re doing and look back with the intention of finding four or five fond memories. Keep searching for your high points until you feel yourself shift back into a more positive place.
For example, I might think back on the first time I met my husband, or a really magical and fun trip I took with friends to Savannah a couple of years ago. I might think back on having my children, or a time when opened my email and found lots of kind messages from my readers and clients.
3. Think forward to something exciting you will probably be doing in the future
Similarly to thinking back on fond memories, you can also look forward to things in the future. What doing you have to look forward to as time goes on?
These can be things in the near future or the far future.
For example, I’m going to be spending Christmas in Colorado so my Florida family can enjoy the snow and learn how to ski. I’m looking forward to hanging out with some good friends tonight and grabbing a few drinks. I’ve got a few projects in the works with my website that I’m looking forward to completing. I’m looking forward to dancing at my children’s weddings (they’re 5 and 8 right now, so that ones a bit down the road). I’m looking forward to meeting my grandchildren someday.
When you are in a negative space, sit down and think about what things you are looking forward to. Make a game of it, and keep adding more and more things to your list.
4. List out the things you have that you are most grateful for
When we are in a negative state of mind we are inevitably focused on something we don’t have or something we don’t want.
Shift this around, and give some attention to the things you do have and you do want. Even better, identify things that you are really, really grateful for. Focus on a few things that you already have that some people would kill to have.
This list might include things like your parents, your significant other, your children or your friends. It might include your home, your transportation or your main source of income. It might include a physical or personality characteristic that has made your life much easier (for example, your intelligence, your sense of humor or your health).
Take some time with this list and add as many items as you can to it. Keep at it until you feel pretty good about your place in the world.
5. Imagine being hugged by the people you care about
Hugs are naturally rewarding. When we hug, oxytocin is released in our bodies, making us feel good. Did you know, though, that just thinking about being hugged can make you feel as if you are literally being hugged?
Close your eyes and really imagine receiving a big bear hug from someone you care about. Use your imagination to drum up all the sensations: what would it look like, how would it feel, what would you say to each other, etc. The more vivid you can imagine the hug, the more powerful the shift will become.
Practice this exercise a few times, and experience hugs from a few different people you really like or love.
6. Remind yourself: “I know things will look better when my perspective shifts.”
To me, this is the most important thing I can do to shift back into a positive perspective. I know for certain that it is my focus that determines how my reality looks to me.
When I’m feeling happy and excited to be alive, my world lights up. When I’m down in the dumps, things look bleak. It all starts with my perspective, and the rest falls into place to support whatever perspective I am holding in the moment.
Just taking the time to remind myself that it is my perspective that is determining how my life is unfolding is a very powerful thing to do. It reminds me that I have the ability to make positive changes in my life whenever I want.
What do you do to shift into to a positive perspective?
Do you have any other techniques you use to shift from a negative to a positive perspective? I’d love to hear them! Comment below and share them with me.