The power of negative thinking

We live in a whirlwind. Each day brings us challenges we need to tackle, hardships to overcome, uncomfortable situations we need to navigate.

Especially in our society where we are sold on comfort, on how special we are (if you buy this product!), and that the world is there to cater to us through our iPhones, iPad, etc.

When you get conditioned this way, it’s easy to let the little ripples in life throw us off course, and spiral us downward. This is a serious drain on our productivity, and the joy that life brings for us and our families.

The good news is there is a very simple panacea to this problem. It comes from the Stoic philosophies from Ancient Greece.

Stoics were known for their unwavering balance in life. Rarely seen as happy chaps, but also never seemingly depressed. They were grounded.

One of the techniques used to intercede the negativity that comes flowing into our conscious minds is negative visualization.

I could define negative visualization for you, but what’s the fun in that. Let’s experience it.

Close your eyes, and read below… Wait that doesn’t work well. Let’s try this, read below, and then close your eyes and reflect on the exercise.

Sit down, and close your eyes.

Imagine that you have lost the use of your legs. You are wheelchair bound, and will never be able to enjoy the experience of sprinting flat out across a grassy field. You will not be able to dance with your daughter at her wedding. A million opportunities in life have just been closed off to you.

Can you survive this? It will be difficult at first, but you will find ways of coping. You can now receive a service dog who will be with you every step of the way. You still have your family’s love and support who will lift your spirits. You will learn to be competent on a wheel chair, and can adapt your favorite sports to your new situation.

A rose will still smell like a rose. You will still feel the love that makes you happy to be alive. You can do this.

Now open your eyes. Stand up.

YOU CAN STAND! You have just imagined a life that at a passing glance would be unbearable compared to the life you live today. And you have overcome it.

Now imagine the problems you have. That late assignment for school. A boss you can’t stand. Bills. An argument with your wife.

Guess what, you can handle it. You have your legs. You have a loving family. You are blessed.

I use negative visualization when I find myself letting my day-to-day problems get to me. By putting life back in perspective, it allows me to attack the day, knowing that all these problems are just small hurdles to overcome.

Next time you find yourself in a slump, give it a try :)

Have you ever tried negative visualization? What other techniques do you try when you are feeling down about a problem? Let me know below!