Baby, you may have been born this way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage positive thinking and start to see things in a brighter way. Find out how top happiness gurus filter out negative junk. Spoiler: You can do this too!
“I tend to look at the glass half empty. Can’t help it, I was just born that way.” Sound familiar?
So maybe you were born with a less than rosy outlook on life. Sometimes being a pessimist comes in handy. Say, when you are sizing someone up for a job or trying to make a big decision.
That said, let’s not let the neggies get in the way of some good living. Even if you don’t tend toward pessimism, we all battle negative thoughts from time to time. Yes, even those high spirited, ultra-balanced health and lifestyle gurus whose stuff you read.
How do these seemingly always joyful people do it? They put regular effort into filtering out the negative crap that life hands us. Sure, there will always be tough spots in life to deal with. But we don’t need to go looking for them.
There is a stream of not-so-feel-good material you can hook into pretty much anytime of the day. Doubt it? Just hop on Facebook for a sec and see if you don’t come across something that gives you a little bit of ick factor. Seriously, I’ll wait…
How long did it take before you saw pics of a public figure doing something cringe-worthy? Or an acquaintance whose feed full of vigorous workouts, perfect home, and sky high achieving kids made you feel like making over your entire existence? Yep, thought so.
Not long ago, I was watching one of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episodes and she happened to mention that she asks her driver to shut off the radio when on her way to an interview or speaking engagement. As someone who has shunned news outlets for years now, my interest was piqued.
Oprah says she requests the quiet so that no news, music, or banter fills her head. She wants her own intentional thoughts filling her noggin, rather than a bunch of garbage she is involuntarily absorbing.
Our society loves news. It is available pretty much anytime, anywhere, and most of us eat it up. Have you noticed how the news networks relentlessly cover scary, sad, or bad news in graphic detail, when news about people helping others or somehow making a positive dent in this world of ours takes a backseat? It’s because people want to see the blood and guts, not the happy faces.
As screwed up as this seems, it is likely not changing anytime soon. What can change? Whether or not we take part.
And it is not just the scary and gory that messes with our positive thinking. Remember that FB friend we talked about? The one with the seemingly perfect life that makes you feel like you are doing it all wrong? That is also a form of allowing garbage to fill our heads.
Marie Forleo, business and lifestyle guru, calls this compare-schlager. As in, it is as toxic to the system and makes us feel just as bad as a Goldschlager (substitute Jagermeister, tequila, Fireball) binge did in college. Forleo goes on to call this inundation of feel bad info the “Hamburglar of Happiness”, and advises avoiding any social media, magazines, TV, etc. that makes you feel grossed out.
If thinking about all of this makes you feel even more stressed and negative, here’s good news. It is well within your control to not allow this junk into your life. If this means turning off the news and flipping on some HGTV, do it. If HGTV gives you house envy, turn on AMC or, even better, get some fresh air. Limit your exposure to Facebook or give it a break altogether.
The key here is this: Whatever it is that is making you feel bad, stop doing that and positive thinking will follow. I like Instagram because the pictures are pretty and most of the content is upbeat. Same with Pinterest. Find what makes you feel good and get more of that in your life. This not only gets the unconstructive stuff out of your head, but allows you more time and space to think about things that matter and will do you some actual good.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Oprah and Marie, it probably works for the rest of us.
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Image of Oprah Winfrey via Shutterstock