Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Thoughts: Why Positivity Can Be Learned
This article is by Jinjee the creator of The 21 Day Cleanse - eating only raw foods!
Wouldn't it be nice to always - or mostly - have positive thoughts?
We have to live inside our heads a large part of our waking life. Granted, when we are working, playing, exercising, or socializing in any way -- relating to family, friends, co-workers, etc...we are taken outside of ourselves, out of our heads, and our own mind-chatter is less present. And these activities are a great way to reduce our mind-chatter when we are feeling negative, and they can lead to a total turn-around too.
But when we are on our own we mostly live inside out heads. And often the inner life in there is not all pleasant. We spend a lot of time in anger, anxiety, strife, worry, fear, negativity, arguments, sadness, brooding, drama, etc…
Instead, we could be planning, dreaming, thinking creative thoughts, having realizations, insights, and breakthroughs, having thoughts of gratitude, enjoyment, fun. We could be experiencing the moment in awe, wonder, enthusiasm, excitement, and feeling waves of passion, ecstasy, and bliss. Yes, these are all valid ways of being, these are all attainable inner states.
Beautifying Your Inner Landscape
How do we attain such beautiful inner landscapes? Like outer landscapes, they can be cultivated. Some landscapes are born beautiful. Others need a little cultivation.
How Do We Cultivate a Positive Inner Terrain
How do we cultivate a positive inner terrain? Well, the first and last thing I'm going to tell you is that it comes down to "faith". But I'll tell you a lot of other things in between that can also help you to think positively, and that will also help to build your faith in life.
Positive Thinking is just a Habit
Positive Thinking is just a habit. It is not rocket science. It is not mumbo jumbo. It is not magic, spiritual, religious or anti-religious. It is simply a habit, that anyone can cultivate. We are all thinking all the time. It might as well be a positive experience!
The Inner Terrain of the Mind
We are all creatures of habit. Our brain is made up of synapses that are formed through our activities. The more we do something, the stronger the synapse becomes, allowing us to do it better, easier, more often, and with more enjoyment. This creates a habit. When we take conscious steps to break a habit, and we stop the actions, the synapses slowly dissolve and the habit is broken.
How to Cultivate New Habits
The doing of the habit, the action itself, is the strongest thing we can do in creating a new habit. Thinking about changing our habit, planning to change it, reading about how to change it -- these can all be helpful, but nowhere near as powerful to make real changes as actually doing the habit we want to start. (Or not doing the habit we want to quit).
This is a terrifically important thing to understand on a deep level. If you want to think positively, start thinking positive thoughts. Think one right now. "I am OK". (for instance)..
Journal Exercise - Developing A New Synapse
Fill in the blank with the best believable thing you can think about yourself: "I am __________".
Or, if you can't think something positive about yourself just yet, start with thinking something positive about someone else. "Jim is OK". "Mom is doing great". "Carrie is a wonderful friend". Now its your turn:
"______________ is ________________________________"
Now, you've established a new synapse in your brain's inner-talk landscape. You'll strengthen this synapse with repetition throughout the day of similar positive thoughts. You'll add many more soon.
I want you to write down as many positive thoughts as you can. Don't worry about whether or not they feel true to you just yet. If you write them now, at some point they will pop back in to your head as genuine positive thoughts.
Here are some of my positive thoughts that I seem to be able to dredge up even in the darkest times...
I am good
I am full of love
I want the best for all people
I love my children/ family
I am grateful for my health
Now, write down in your journal as many positive thoughts as you can…
Negative Thinking is Just a Habit
Negative thinking is just a habit! It is not who you are. It is not a reflection of any defect in you. It is simply a habit.
Our brain is a chemical factory manufacturing our emotions. When we feel a certain emotion a lot, our brain manufactures a lot of the chemical that communicates that emotion to your body. When that chemical floods your body and is picked up at receptor sites, a lot, then the body produces more receptors for that chemical. This creates a chemical addiction to that emotion.
To start out with in life, 90% of our receptor cells are joy receptors. We are coded for joy.
Like synapses, receptors increase with use, and dissolve with lack of use.
Habits take 21 days to create.
Therefore, during the 21 Day Cleanse, we are doing a different Happiness Exercise each day. Happiness and positive thinking are totally intertwined, almost synonymous.
For 21 days, come up with your own joy-enhancing program including positive thinking. Or follow mine below.
Here is my idea of a 21-day-positive-program:
My 21-Days to Positivity Program
For 21 Days…
- Do something you love each day.
- Make a list of positive thoughts each morning.
- Start the day doing the thing you love best for an hour.
- Exercise for an hour each day.
- Eat a big salad each day.
- Have some fruit each day.
- Have a green smoothie each day.
- Spend some time alone in thought, contemplation, meditation, or prayer each day.
- End each day with a list of things you are grateful for.
You can alter it for your lifestyle preferences, your unique personality, and your beliefs. Be creative.
Pitfalls to Positive Thoughts
Some things to watch out for…
Here are some long-term habits that can sabotage positive thinking:
- over-use of sarcasm or cynicism
We might think we're being witty, but the sarcastic or cynical attitude is addictive and can derail positive thinking. Some people are more cynical than others, and that might be your nature. I think you can find a balance in which you can be yourself and still enjoy your thought-life. A sense of humor is very helpful to this personality type.
- criticism of others
We might spend a lot of time thinking about the flaws of others. This can be highly habit forming, consuming many a life. Maybe this keeps our mind off our own problems. Often it is a way to avoid facing our own issues. It is however not conducive to positive thinking. Criticizing or blaming others keeps us stuck and keeps us from growing through actually facing our own issues.
We can get really caught up in thinking about our own flaws, problems, and issues. Through our habit-forming brain and its synapses and our habit-forming body and its receptors for emotion-chemicals, we can turn this self-criticism in to a depressing habit. Start finding and creating the good in yourself!
I think humans have a lot of faith naturally, in each other, in themselves, in this place we live in called reality, the world, or The Universe. Babies and small children have this kind of total faith. Bad experiences can cause us to start doubting ourselves and others. This is where faith becomes a necessity to keep us from this positivity-draining emotion of doubt.
A lot of us form the habit of blaming others. This is a nice way to avoid dealing with our own problems. But the mind-chatter of blaming covers up any possibility of positive thinking the same way pollution covers up the blue sky. Blaming also keeps us from growing. You can stagnate for years with this mechanism.
- guilt and shame
Feeling ashamed or guilty as a long-term habitual mind-set gets your energy so far down that positive thinking can be quite elusive. A little guilt or shame can be a good catalyst for change. But hanging on to an emotion like this as a long-term habit can't be very helpful. Lighten up on yourself. Let it go.
Copyright The Garden Diet, 2010
Author: Jinjee Talifero
For more from this author see: http://www.TheGardenDiet.com
Challenges: The enemy is at home.
Triumphs: It was Monday last week that I started the 21 Day Cleanse - and while I usually eat majority raw foods, it has been great to eat only raw foods. The recipes have been amazing, fulfilling, satisfying, delicious and filling too!
What I Ate Today:
Breakfast: The juice of 2 grapefruits and 2 oranges! Delicious!
Lunch: A pear and a salad with green lettuce and cucumber! A punnet of delicious blackberries!
Dinner: An apple and an avocado. Green and red grapes.
Exercise: Same as yesterday - working on set of "Squidman", walking, talking, moving, stretching!
160 days to go!!!