As the summer rolls in to autumn, Kat is feeling happy! Is it the sunny weather having a positive effect? Or could it be something else? Can we all harness that ‘feel good factor’ come rain or shine?
Watch your thoughts, they become words
Watch your words, they become actions
Watch your actions, they become habits
Watch your habits, they become your character
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny
This quote by Lao Tzu sums up beautifully what I’ve been trying to train myself, with a view to improving my positivity and outlook. If you read it from the end to the start, everything you are and do naturally originates from your thoughts. We all know that positive thinking can have massive benefits on every aspect of our lives, but how to train ourselves to think positively?
Self-talk is the manifestation of positive and negative thinking, and is where you can catch yourself and be aware of what it is that’s making you feel good, or not so good, on any particular day. We all do it. It’s the inner talk we have with ourselves which can go something like this:
“I’m not going to be able to do this, it’s too difficult.”
“Stubbed my toe first thing, then dropped my cup of tea…it’s going to be one of those days!”
“Well, this looks quite easy, think I might enjoy it.”
“The sun is shining, I’ve got a cold beer…life doesn’t get any better!”
Lucy recently wrote a blog about being more mindful, and described it as ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment’. Learning to be more aware of our thought processes, or feelings is our starter to changing any negative thoughts to positive ones. Ask questions to challenge the negative self-talk, like:
“Are my thoughts rational and factual?”
“Is this thinking helping the situation in any way?”
“What is the worst thing that could happen? Is it actually likely?”
A friend once gave me a beautiful example of ‘catastrophic thinking’, or if you like, ‘catastrophic self-talk’, which I’m going to leave you with. I like to call it ‘The Lawnmower Story’:
“I’ve got a lovely garden, but the grass is getting long, and what I haven’t got at the moment is a lawnmower. It blew up last time I used it and I haven’t got round to getting a new one yet, and the shops are shut now as it’s Sunday afternoon. I’m working all week so I won’t be able to get one until at least next weekend, but it’s going to be rubbish weather next weekend so I won’t be able to mow then anyway. It has to be done today really.
Now…wait a minute, Ted next door has a lawnmower; he used it yesterday. It looks a good one, and new, I think he’s only used it once or twice. I’ll go and ask him.
But, hang on…what if I break it? It’s new and if it blows up like mine I’m going to be in trouble with him, and he’s always been a really good neighbour. Of course I’ll have to buy him a new one too, and it’ll be more expensive than I could really afford. On top of that, he’ll probably fall out with me, and things will get awkward between us whenever we see each other. Oh god, and his wife and my girlfriend are good pals, and it will cause friction between them too. And if I cause my girlfriend to feel like that, I’ll be a let-down to her. In fact, she’ll get so fed up with it that it will cause a rift between us that will be hard to come back from, and she’ll probably walk out on me and go back to her loser ex-boyfriend.
Christ, if she leaves, most of the white goods in the kitchen are hers, and the bed and, god, the sofa and TV too! I’ll be left with an empty house, and not enough money to replace it all. Actually, without her help with the rent I’m going to struggle to keep the house in the first place! I’ll have to sell whatever I’m left with and move out. I’ve got nowhere to go, so I’ll end up homeless. And with no home, nowhere to wash, eat and sleep and the stress of it all I’m bound to lose my job. And with the only money I can get; the dole, I’ll end up spending it on drugs to escape the awfulness of the situation, and then I’ll end up overdosing, and someone will find me dead in an alley somewhere one day…”
Have a nice day, even if it’s raining!