“How are you?” Is probably the most used phrase other than “Can I borrow some money?” And “Good, thank you” is probably the most used response other than “Hell no!” While the ‘how are you’ question may seem and sometimes be more of a formality rather than a sincere question about your current state. I appreciate the fact that it puts the person being asked in a position of analysis, “How am I?” And while the answer ‘good thank you’ is most of the time reactive or learned rather than a legitimate answer from analysis of one’s current state of being, I like it. The first step to being “Good”, “Okay”, or “Fine” is believing that you are.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you pretend the world is always rainbows and butterflies and everything is amazing always. Even Happy Gilmore had some rough days, and his name was literally Happy! What I am suggesting is that you shift your focus to the positive aspects of life at least 90% of the time. It’s important to recognize tough situations and give yourself the opportunity to feel the emotion that comes with pain and struggle, that’s why I suggest it 10% of the time. It’s more important to recognize that despite all the tough times, there is much more to be thankful for and happy about in life. That is why I suggest at least 90% of your thoughts be directed this way.
Your mindset will play a bigger role in your overall health and attitude about life than any circumstances ever will. The mind is so powerful that you can literally make yourself ill, by giving energy to the wrong thoughts that produce negative emotion. While at the same time you can get yourself through most any situation by having a positive mental attitude.
How many times have you heard stories of holocaust survivors making the best out of the worst situations possible and coming out triumphant on the other end? How many times have you heard stories of holocaust victims who died within days of arriving at concentration camps because they (understandably) fed the negative thoughts in their head. Think about the last time you stressed about a first world problem and at the moment you felt horrible and thought the world was such a tough place to be living in. Now think about that smiling kid who is playing in the dirt on an empty stomach in a violent third world country. My examples are extreme and literally messed with my inner mood as I typed them, but it just proves the point even more, your mindset will make or break you.
“Okay Mr. Wannabe Wise-Guy I get your point, but how do I achieve this positive mental attitude that you so much encourage?” Just like with any other discipline in life, there are steps and strategies to achieve the intended goal. In this case the goal is a consistent positive mental attitude that will provide a step closer to reaching your personal fountain of youth.
Step one is to decide. Decide that you will from now on be on guard of the thoughts that travel through your mind. Be your own filter within yourself. Imagine yourself as the bouncer at a club. This club is your subconscious. Your head (brain or mind, whatever you want to call it) is the entrance to the club. The thoughts that are generated are the people trying to enter the club (subconscious). You as the bouncer will decide who gets to go in and who doesn’t. It’s a 21 and older club so you’ll be checking IDs, thoroughly. Negative thoughts are minors (under 21), they cannot enter. Positive thoughts are 21 and older, we want as many of those patrons as possible.
I hope you brought a magnifying glass and your full undivided attention Mr. Bouncer because most of your initial prospective clients (thoughts) will be minors with fake IDs (negative thoughts with a justification). Think about the last time you were in a tough spot and your mind immediately rushed to all the negative aspects of the situation. Then someone called you out for being negative or “complaining”, and you replied with, “I’m not complaining, I’m stating the facts, and I’m not being negative, I’m being realistic!” Ouch! Did the shoe fit? I’m sorry, but in order to change we first must realize that we need to change.
Back to the club! So as you filter through the fake IDs and kick out all these minors and attract more 21 and older crowd, your club begins to be more successful. You’re attracting and serving the right crowd (positive thoughts). And less and less minors (negative thoughts) try getting in since they know how great of a bouncer (you!) is at the front door. What used to be a failing nightclub that got regularly raided by the cops (bad attitude and negative stress) is now a thriving and exclusive night club. Only the best of the best are granted entrance (positive attitude towards life).
While I provide a simple solution using this nightclub example, I realize that the execution may not be easy. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it. I do not intend to paint an easy path for anyone, but rather a path worth struggling for, because the journey and the destiny will be worth it.
Most people tend to lean towards a default negative attitude when tough or unexpected situations come up. Our initial thoughts may be, “Why did this have to happen to me?”, or “This sucks, I wish I didn’t have this problem!” What we really should be saying is, “I can handle this, I will figure it out and grow from this experience”, and “I am thankful for the obstacles I face, because they give me a sense of accomplishment every time I overcome them!”
By the mere act of rewording your thoughts and refocusing your energy you are beginning the process of developing a positive mental attitude and a healthier mindset. It’s important to keep guard of your thoughts throughout the day. The more you actively notice negative thoughts and prevent them from staying in your mind, the more you will encourage positive thoughts.
Building a positive mental attitude action steps:
- Dedicate 5-10 minutes everyday to meditation
- Randomly smile throughout the day (especially when you’re not feeling like it).
- Journal every day right after getting out of bed, or before going to bed and write down at least 3 things you are thankful for.
- Begin talking to yourself in empowering ways.
- Don’t allow negative thoughts to inhabit your mind, kick them out, FAST!
As you begin to master healthy sleep patterns and begin to shift towards a more positive mindset you will literally feel changes within yourself. Mental, emotional, and even physical changes. You are now two steps into possessing and reaping the benefits of the Not So Secret Fountain of Youth. Next we’ll talk about how you’re fueling your body.