As I am about to write this article, I notice there is a lot of noise around me. At first, I find the sounds disturbing, but I soon return to the practice I have used so many times: to become fully present, in my body and in the place I am in, and to listen to all the sounds. Listening to all the sounds at the same time without judging. No sound is better than another. Listening as if the sounds were music playing in the background. Reminding myself that the peace I am seeking is within. As I write this, I go within and allow the peace. I experience the peace that is behind or beyond the “disturbance.”
So often, we are being carried away by negative thoughts and feelings because we resist, judge or think too much about how things “should” be, instead of allowing them to be as they are.
For me, this is the first and fundamental step: to be fully present with what is, without judging. Realizing that while I am not always in control of what happens around me, I am in charge of how I respond. I can choose my response.
But what about the feelings and the thoughts? It is not always easy to “control” them. How do we “make” them positive?
When you come from the heart — from that place of unconditional love and non-judgment, you can allow what is, and find peace in the midst of chaos. That inner peace that is always within you, and that you will discover in moments where there is no resistance.
It is when you find yourself in that place of peace — even in a challenging situation — that you can introduce your intention for what you want to or choose to think and feel.
You are the creator of your own life to a much greater extent than you may realize.
Negative feelings and thoughts tend to overtake and paralyze, and you can avoid that by choosing how you want to feel. Simply setting the intention for how you want to feel or be today can create a big shift within. It allows you to stop the automatic negative stream of thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to take on all the negativity of those around you. You don’t have to be upset and take on all the problems of the world around you. If you do, you won’t be much good to anyone, for it is only from a place of peace, compassion and non-judgment that you can be the positive force, which creates a path for others to follow — a path that can be sustained over the long term.
The practice of gratitude is one of the simplest and most powerful practices for staying positive. By choosing and focusing on gratitude, you don’t ignore or avoid what’s “negative.” No, you choose to see the light in the darkness — all the blessings that are in your life that may often be overlooked or taken for granted, and not truly appreciated when negative feelings and thoughts fill you.
Whether it is a personal loss or struggle, or it is a world event, being fully in the Now with an attitude of appreciation is one of the ways to stay centered, positive and see a way forward.
Positive thinking used this way is healing.
Here are two action steps for you that I have personally found very effective and powerful:
- Practice being present as often as you can during each day. Just being fully present in your body and in the place you are in. No judgment.
- Begin a gratitude practice. Set time aside each day to practice gratitude. My husband and I like to go for a short evening walk before dinner, and we each state three things we are grateful for.
Try these two simple practices, and notice what a difference they make in your life when you do them on a regular basis. How do you stay positive in challenging times?