Nobody is happy or optimistic all the time unless, there are ‘substances’ involved.
There are happy people and there are people who handle stress well and then, there are those who are able to maintain a calm, eternally optimistic frame of mind, but we all have bad days.
If you ever meet a truly accomplished yogi, ask him/her if they ever get angry or experience complete mental disruption. You’ll be surprised by their answer for even yogis go through the same jolts of emotion as the rest of us ordinary mortals, but how they handle these jolts is very different from the rest of humanity.
They have a system in place. They know how to go from disturbed to calm within seconds. Through intense practice, they’ve programmed their mind to handle stress, anxiety, anger in a constructive manner. During meditation sessions, we are taught not to struggle with focus or FORCE our mind into a calm state. We are instructed to surrender control and allow the mind to find its own rhythm and a point of focus.
Negativity, pessimism, sadness, jealousy – it’s all part of human experience. Honestly, I wouldn’t give up any of it but unlike three years ago, anxiety can no longer make me self-destruct. I get anxious and I dip into my bag of tricks, and every time, I win – that’s the only important part, that you win!
The negative thoughts will come and they’ll surround you in a shroud of darkness. You’ll have this uncontrollable urge to give up and go home, and I don’t care who you are, I know for a fact that we all have those dark, awful days.
When we de-clutter our home, if we put every unwanted object in a hidden closet, we haven’t really cleared the clutter. We have simply hidden it away. It’s still going to be there the next day and the day after that and the day after that.
The same goes for unresolved thoughts and feelings and if they are negative in nature, they fester into unhealthy behaviour and choices. Bottled up, they can only grow in intensity. So, the next time a negative thought pops up in your head, don’t shy away from it.
Fearing you’ll fail an important exam is understandable. It happens because the exam is important to your career.
Fearing that if you fail the exam, your entire career is finished is an over-reaction.
A lot of negative thinking happens because of fear or unhappy experiences in our past.
Sometimes, what you experience maybe paranoia, panic, and anxiety. It pays to monitor such reactions. If unchecked they may lead to a full-blown panic and anxiety attack. They may even indicate something more serious.
For instance, when you get into a new relationship or a new project and you constantly feel negatively about the whole experience. Even on good days, you find it difficult to be happy. This may indicate that you’re not happy with what you have committed to or your mind is grappling with something that goes a lot deeper.
Also, that gnawing feeling we have in our stomach for no apparent reason, one that won’t go away is your intuition trying to warn you that something isn’t quite right.
Whatever the nature of the thought or feeling may be, you would do well to process it in its entirety. Bottled-up, it will only cause trouble.
Instead of running away from it, let your mind drown in the emotion. Feel it in all its intensity and you will find that after a while it goes away or loses its impact. If you don’t, a part of your mind will be focused on not letting in that unpleasant emotion.
Eventually, you’ll find that trying to keep it at bay keeps you distracted and worried for far longer than the alternative.
When these negative thoughts are violent, jealous or resentful in nature, we feel guilty for them which makes the situation worse.
Try to remember that having a negative thought about a person, relationship, or event doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s only when you allow those ideas and emotions to impact your actions and choices that you find yourself on the wrong path.
And that’s exactly what would happen if you don’t process things in a healthy way.
One way of dealing with negativity is to beat it down as we discussed in the points above.
Another way to do it is by making your mind so forcefully positive that negativity fails to find a foothold.
This can be done by making certain changes to your lifestyle.
When we actively focus on all the happy things in our life, it leaves little room for negativity.
A conscious practice of gratitude exercises will lead to a shift in your mental state making it more optimistic and open to new ideas. Everyday, write down 5 -10 things you are grateful for. It will help you focus on the good in your life and weaken the negative.
As you pin down the areas of your life that are the central focus of the negative thoughts in your head, you can build affirmations that can help reprogram your subconscious into cultivating a different line of thinking around the subject.
Related: How to use affirmations effectively?
You can heal your life by Louis Hay is an incredible book and it discusses how the physical ailments we suffer are simply manifestations of the internal conflict we carry. The negative beliefs turn into physical illnesses. The author has helped people recover from many physical and mental health issues by making them practice positive affirmations.
A healthy mind requires a healthy body. So, exercise everyday and eat healthy. As your body becomes more active, your mind too will experience rejuvenation.
Exercise boosts endorphins in our body, improving our mood and temperament.
Journaling, meditation, yoga, and other mindful practices have been known to help focus the disruptive energy buzzing through your body. They can help pin down issues causing the mental disturbance and help you focus your energies onto finding a suitable solution. Journaling especially, has a way of helping us sift through the chaos in our head and quieten the noise. If done consistently, it can reveal a lot of hidden ideas and thoughts that may prove to be very useful.
You can also take up a creative interest like writing, knitting, dancing or singing as such activities have been known to boost happiness, innovation, and are conducive to a more relaxed frame of mind.
If a thought persistently interrupts your focus perhaps, an open and honest discussion with a confidante will help.
A discussion of this nature will help you see things from another individual’s perspective which may lead to the realization of the ridiculousness of some of the more negative ideas and fears.
Unburdening yourself to another may also give you some temporary relief.
Most importantly, a discussion may lead to you finding a resolution to your issue and for all you know, the recipient of this shared confidence may suffer from similar ideas and thoughts which may help you realise that the anxiety isn’t exclusive to you. This may help put things in perspective.
Please, choose someone you trust and someone you can be sure has only your good interest at heart. It will help you to choose someone mature and not prone to over-dramatisation of situations.
In similar situations, I only really trust my parents but my dad is overly optimistic about everything. It’s like talking to a child hopped up on sugar. My mom, on the other hand, always weighs every side of the situation with me and together, we reach a sensible resolution. Pick someone like that and see how much better you feel post the discussion.
If none of these things work out, it would be a good idea to seek professional intervention.
Depending on the severity of your situation, you may decide on the number and nature of sessions you need.
If you simply need advise, an office or school councillor maybe able to help.
On the other hand, if the situation is causing you considerable discomfort, you should find an experienced professional and trust them to guide you to a solution.
I hope this post helps you find relief from all the negative thoughts and fears. Do share your take on the subject in the comments section.
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