We have all heard the quote “Surround yourself with positive people and positive things will happen surround yourself with negative people and negative things will happen”. The same can be said of your personal thoughts. Studies show that positivity really does breed positivity and the more positivity that surrounds people the more their ability to appreciate it improves.
With everything happening in the world today it can be especially difficult right now to find a positive mindset which Is why it is more important than ever to create a positivity practice.
If you have ever watched an episode of Being Mary Jane (on BET) you will remember that Mary Jane had post it notes all over her home with positive affirmations and motivational quotes to help her tap into her positive thought process. This may seem hokey to some, but positive affirmations whether kept on your phone, jotted down in a journal, or even on a post it can encourage self-compassion and retrain your inner dialogue.
So how do you “practice” positivity? The first step is to notice your thought patterns and how you think in certain situations. For example, when you look in the mirror what is the conversation you are having with yourself? I will never forget the first time I practiced yoga where the instructor started the class with “I want you to look in the mirror without judgement. Don’t fix your hair or your clothes just simply thank yourself for showing up for yourself today exactly as you are.” Those words have stayed with me and every time I begin to look in the mirror with judgement of my wide hips, or thick thighs (my usual go to spot for self- criticism) I tap into that statement looking for something positive that I may not have been telling myself before, like my hips are wide but they accentuate my small waist.
As a yoga teacher at the start of every class I ask students to “Take notice of their breath, just as it is without altering in any way or attaching any judgement…simply take notice”. The same theory can be applied to negative thoughts. Take notice of them when they arise and once you become aware of what you are thinking start to change those thoughts to more positive ones. It may not be as easy as it sounds to shift negative thoughts to positive ones so this is where having affirmations hand can be helpful.
I can attest firsthand to the difference you feel when you start to take notice, understand and learn to shift negative thought processes. There is a class that I have been taking on and off for many years called Intensati When I first took this class I assumed it was just another cardio class but quickly realized it was a workout for the body, mind and soul. In addition to doing high intensity cardio I was being asked to shout positive affirmations at myself out loud in a room full of other people doing the same thing. Things like I am STRONG, YES I CAN, or I am Enough Now, filled the room and I immediately thought this is crazy… who does this shit?????! But each time we repeated a sequence I let go more and more shouting the affirmations louder and louder. After a few classes I started to notice that would find myself tapping into these positive affirmations during my entire week.
Negative thought patterns are a part of life and trying to avoid them all together is pretty much impossible. However, learning to deal with them is crucial in your success to living a more positive life. The first step in letting go of negative thoughts is to accept they will come and go. We often tell ourselves that these negative thoughts are true but they really are just a thought and whether or not you give life to those thoughts is up to you.