- By Irina Rasskazova -
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Henri Matisse
I recently discovered that we think 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. Even though these studies might not provide the most accurate numbers, we really do think a lot, don't you agree? Work, personal relationships, lists, facts, events, and news – there is always a response from the brain, whether it is vocalized and shared with someone we know, or not. Our thoughts carry powerful energy that can shape the way we perceive the world and live our lives, and it's up to us not to waste them on something negative. Here are some of my tips on how to develop positive self-talk :)
Don't obsess over perfection
“It's easy to be positive when things are going right, but what if plans change and everything seem to go wrong?” – you might rightfully ask. Well, it's true that it's more difficult to keep your optimism when you're facing challenges and hardships. You might experience situations when you're burned out, when you worked hard but didn't get the desired results, when your relationship with your partner or a friend doesn't bring as much happiness as it used to. Everybody has so-called “bad days” and makes mistakes – we are humans and nobody's perfect! What is important – we don't have to feel bad about our pitfalls or misfortunes. Always remind yourself that the greatest growth happens from a place of discomfort.
Life happens, and we cannot always control what's going on, because we don't have power over external circumstances. Similarly, we cannot fully control our emotional response to those events, because emotions arise on a subconscious level before we can recognize and understand them. However, what we all can (and should) do – is to try to shape the flow of our thoughts and to show mental endurance. Inner energy comes not from dealing with hardships per se but rather from wisdom that we acquire through these experiences. Failing only means that you're doing something, that you're moving forward. So in your inner dialogue, repeat that failure is a sign of progress and development. Remember that failure will guide you towards future accomplishments. Fail, fail, fail again – get stronger and never give up!
Nurture your confidence
You know who's always there at your highest and at your lowest? Who understands you completely and knows all your wishes, desires and most sacred dreams? It's you! So become your own best friend! It's important to appreciate your own achievements, and praise yourself even for little things! Bear in mind that confidence comes from being comfortable in your own skin, from being happy with yourself as a person, from seeing progress not in comparison to others but only to your past self. Have faith in your abilities and practice positive self-talk! Don't “say” bad things to yourself: how stupid of me; I'm not good enough; I will never be able to do this because I have no skills; it must have happened because I don't deserve it. Instead try to support yourself like you would do if you were talking to a friend: “You're not there yet, but you will be!”, “You can do this!”, “You're doing well!”, “Stay positive, progress doesn't happen overnight”.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Sometimes things don't turn out the way we want them to, and not getting what you expected can be one of the bitterest moments in your life and truly heartbreaking. We can have certain life goals and wishes, however, we must make sure they don't prevent us from enjoying living in the present. When you find yourself in a situation that you don't want or don't like to be in, you can either react and bring yourself and maybe even those around you down by being pessimistic and connecting all your misfortunes together – or you can respond – by taking a step back, calming yourself down and being thankful for each moment, opportunity, and experience that life has to offer. When it's hard to adopt an attitude of gratitude, try to imagine a situation when that feeling was natural. For example, visualize a particular moment when you were really happy and thankful to be alive. If you need a little assistance to get to there, a guided meditation might be a great help! Search for materials and recordings online, and incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine.
I hope that these tips will help you to have a positive attitude towards life; however, I cannot stress enough that sometimes during particularly tough times all of us need additional support, whether it's turning to a friend or your partner, or a therapist. If you are concerned that you're experiencing anxiety or depression, talk to a specialist – you don't have to go through this alone.