You accidentally send a questionable text message to the wrong person. You’re caught in the midst of a thunderstorm, and you happen to be wearing suede. Dropbox charges you nearly 1K because you forgot to cancel a “free” month long trial. You forget to turn off the straightener and nearly catch the house on fire. You do not pass go. You do not collect $200.
Anyone remotely human has experienced the “when it rains, it pours” phantasm at some point in time— you try and you try, but nothing seems to be going right. In these tough times, we turn to our tears, tubs of Nutella, and the people closest to us, who then try their hardest to make things better. “Just think positive” they say. “It’ll be okay,” they say.
Sincere, yes. Thoughtful, absolutely. Yet, these words are seldom comforting, albeit they could not be more fact of the matter. The key is knowing how to properly practice the power of positive thinking. Before you eye roll and brush this off as “Self-help” jargon, consider the fact that when done correctly, positive thinking can make you a happier, healthier person. Most skeptics underestimate the powers of the mind, simply because they are going about the process in the wrong way.
Common Misconceptions about Positive Thinking:
A common misconception to positive thinking is the impression that all trace amounts of one’s negative emotions should be entirely eliminated. Studies in Scientific American have shown that these negative emotions are key to well-being and “problems arise when people start believing they must be upbeat all the time.” Can positive thinking— in this case—be actually negative? The answer is abso-freakin-lutely. Everything is peachy and you don’t have a care in the world, resulting in possible complacency, feelings of disillusionment, or repression of negative emotions that are bound to come back to haunt you.
Achieving a Yin Yang sense of balance and harmony is integral to manifesting positive energy around you— when understood, you can hold the universe in the palm of your hand. The white symbolizes the existence of positive energy and happiness within the dark part which represents the struggles in your life. In other words, we depend upon the negative to embrace the positive. Learn to love it, nurture it, and transform it into what you want it to be. You have the power.
Another misconception is the unrealistic expectation that through wishful thinking or positivity, you can solve your problems overnight. The best things in life take time, so be patient when putting these skills to use. When you find yourself in the heat of a moment or in the midst of a bad day, each emotion experienced is often elevated and dramatized. It is humanly impossible to so readily let go of the pain, stress, or anxiety of any given moment. How do we keep our cool in these significant moments? For starters, accept the negative for what it is and put your best effort to draw out a positive from it. Be mindful of your initial reaction by striving to put things into perspective.
A simple task such as putting a positive spin on an otherwise stressful situation can go a long way. Ask yourself what meaning can you give to the situation and what good thing can be produced. By training your mind to filter the good from the bad, you begin to absolve yourself of simple and unnecessary stresses that cloud your happiness. Take this as a challenge to see the beauty in everything that transpires, whether blatantly beautiful or not.
You’re stuck behind a Prius going 15 mph on the canyon, giving you the time to listen to Tame Impala and enjoy the scenic view. Your phone dies an hour into a 12 hour flight, so you have time to finish the Steve Harvey book that has been collecting dust on your bookshelf. You do not pass go right away. But you do collect $200. Believe in the power of positivity to cultivate mindfulness and conquer any obstacle that stands in your way.