- The way you think is the only thing responsible for the way you feel
- So develop a positive mindset by:
- - Practicing mindfulness
- - Journaling daily
- - Constantly learning
- - Try improvised comedy
- - Train yourself to look for what YOU can change in any negative situation
Have you found yourself getting frustrated at something that’s gone wrong? Maybe you’ve turned to blame other people or events for what’s happened and for the way you’re feeling.
If you let things that are out of your direct control affect the way you feel, then your life is going to be an unpredictable mix of highs and lows. Personally I’d rather have more highs than lows. The best way to do this is to stop letting things you can’t control effect how you feel.
This includes pretty much everything in life. The only thing you can actually control is your own mind, thoughts and actions. So we need to train ourselves not to develop negative emotions to anything that happens outside of our own minds. If something positive happens that was outside of your control, then by all means let it make you feel happy. Otherwise I’d be speaking pure madness.
I like to call this positive thinking. Training your mind to see anything that happens to you in a positive, or at the very least neutral, way. I’ve found a few great techniques for doing this:
- Practice mindfulness
- Improvised comedy
- Looking at what YOU can change
Mindfulness helps you to live in the moment, accepting anything that’s happening to you or going through your head. With practice you’ll find it easier to clear your mind and not get overly emotional when you don’t want to be.
You can practice mindfulness in a bunch of different ways; meditation, yoga, exercise, art etc. Anything that gets you to focus on the present moment and helps you to clear your mind.
For me it’s been mainly 10 minutes of meditation every day. I started with a lot of guided meditation from apps like Calm, which teach you some great techniques for emptying your mind.
By writing down the positive things that happen in your life, you are subtlety training your mind to look for the good things. With time you may get to a point where you never really notice the negative things that happen in life. I use an app called Day One, and write a paragraph every morning about anything positive or neutral that happened the day before.
Constantly learning is a great way to develop a positive mind. And reading will give you and endless supply of content. I think any kind of reading is useful for this, but the most beneficial is to actually read up on self development ideas and philosophies. Here’s a quick shortlist of books that come to mind:
- The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life
- Thinking Fast and Slow
- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
- Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want
I go on about improv a lot. And that’s because it’s amazing! The only reason I did my first introductory course, it was to get better at public speaking. I had no other ambitions, but now it’s turned into one of my best hobbies. Whilst the teachings and practices have had a huge benefit to my positive thinking.
Level 1, or introductory courses are full of people who have never done any acting or performance before, they start off quite shy or introverted. But when you get them to start making things up, this amazing change happens and everything they do becomes wonderful, it all becomes right!
Improv is all about supporting the other players, accepting people ideas and building something together. Over time the improv habits you develop spill into life and you become better listeners, more accepting and develop a more positive mindset.
If you’re London based, I recommend checking out the Hoopla beginners improv course.
Looking at what YOU can change
When things happen that have a negative effect on you, instead of assigning blame to others, look at what you could do differently. I’ve never found a situation where there wasn’t something you could do differently or perceive in a more positive way.
Remember, it’s only the way you think that’s deciding your emotions. So everything is your fault, what will you change?
Stop blaming other people and events for the way you feel. You’re the only person who can control the feelings you have. Any negative situation can be ignored, reframed in a positive way or turned around onto yourself so you can change it next time. Explore ways of developing a positive mindset and you’ll be just fine 😁