If there is one thing that ties every human on this planet together, it is our desire to be happy. And if there were two things that tied every human together, the second would be that we all overthink the meaning of happiness. The perfect example for this is expressed in this first quote, and I’m almost 200% positive that every single person on this planet will have experienced something similar to what it says at some point in their life.
picture credit: Pinterest | original unknown
To most people, an instance like this would be swept under the rug as them just getting carried away and overthinking everything. That’s not what it is. This is just us allowing our minds to remain in the negative space we a have created for it. We think we’re unhappy when we start to count all the things that have or could go wrong instead of counting all the things that did or could go right.
People think that leading a happy life means that you have to be overflowing with joy every single second of the day, but that’s not true. It’s just not feasible. I mean there’s no way I could be happy if I was running late and missed my expensive as crap flight to LAX, but that doesn’t mean I live an unhappy life. It just means I had one unpleasant experience.
But many people, including myself, will sometimes allow ourselves to get so caught up in one bad thing that happened to us, that we start to turn into cranky crones who complain about every single thing.
The secret of life is not about being happy all the time; it’s about always remaining positive no matter the circumstances.
Was it really a bad day? Or was it just a bad five minutes that you milked all day?
Too often people allow themselves to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity.
If one thing goes wrong, then everything starts to seem like it’s covered in a film of negativity.
Let’s take the example I used before about missing a flight. If I was in a negative state a mind then I would be upset about losing the money I paid for the ticket right? Well, then I would go on to think that I’m just awful with managing money and I’m never going to be able to support myself financially or do anything I want to do because I’m awful with money. Then I’m going to get mad because I’m hungry but don’t want to buy anything because I’m awful with money. But then I buy something anyways, and I get mad because the checkout lady looked at me the wrong way.
In reality, I’m not terrible with money because at least I can afford food, and the checkout lady didn’t actually give me a dirty look; I’m just so caught up in being angry that I needed an excuse to keep the bad vibes going. Basically, any little thing that could irk me in any way possible is going to be blown out of proportion.
Don’t let one or two or three, or however many bad things that happened to you today, ruin the rest of your day or your week. Being mad for such extended periods of time is harmful to your health and relationships, and just sets you up to remain in a pessimistic mind-frame forever. Not fun man.
So next time you feel down or upset, make like a cliché and look on the bright side.
This is going to sound like the dumbest, simplest thing ever, but the best advice I can give you about how to be positive is that you just have to think positive. Just focus on the good, and forget the bad.
Now I’ve heard people spew deep crap like this a thousand times and more, and every time I thought it was just a bunch of loaded bologna. Until I actually tried it. The thing that actually convinced me to give this way of thinking a chance was an Instagram post by Marie Wold. She’s a college student and health enthusiast; not just body but mind as well.
I read this one morning at work about two weeks ago, and since then I’ve been trying to follow the little challenge she proposed. It may seem silly, but it actually feels really freeing. When you allow a negative thought to take residence in your mind, you’re allowing hate to run your life; either hate towards an outside figure or self-hate. But when you flip the thought into a positive one, it can make you feel like there was no reason for negativity in the first place, or it could make you realize how much you were blowing the situation out of proportion.
When I was planning out what to include in this post I kept thinking about how this negative to positive thought process interrelates with my mind when I’m on vacation. Like if I were to be vacationing in Hawaii and I got up at 4 a.m. to hike to the top of an overlook to watch the sunrise, I wouldn’t be complaining about being too tired. But with a change of scenery and circumstances and instead I’m at work and I’m dead tired because I haven’t been able to sleep the last few days, then I would be a walking zombie ready to attack anyone who so much as looks at me.
In both situations I’m lacking sleep, but in one I have a positive mindset and in the other I have a negative mindset. In the Hawaii example I have no problem with sacrificing my sleep, but with the work example, having to wake up early is practically the end of my life. So what’s causing the dramatic discrepancies? My state of mind.
Work is such a universally dreadful thing that even if you don’t hate your job, it’s easy to somehow be tricked into complaining about it. I’ve come to find I dread things so much more than I actually hate them because it’s seen as cool, so sometimes I’ll find that in the morning the thought of work feels daunting but then I actually leave feeling better than when I came in and not want to go home. My mood towards work is solely dependent on my thoughts towards work, not even what I have to physically do while I’m there. Just more proof that your thoughts control your mood and emotions.
It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you.
I feel like this example is getting to be a little too abstract so let’s go to something a little bit more tangible.
Right now I’m currently visiting a friend whose school year hasn’t ended yet, so she still has to go to classes while I’m here. Her classes start at 8:00 a.m. so we have to get up at 6:30 a.m. every day because she doesn’t live on campus. I’m a morning person, so I have nothing against getting up early, but doing it after basically having a sleepover for a week straight is super difficult let me tell you.
I’ve gotten to the point of being so tired that I just want to complain about it all day, and then it hit me yesterday: why am I being so negative if I’m enjoying myself?
This trip has made me the happiest I have been in years, and I’ve definitely had extreme amounts of fun, but yet I’m ruining my whole trip by complaining about being tired. As soon as I realized this, I put a positive spin on my chronic sleep deprivation. Instead of focusing on how tired I was or how good a nap sounded, I gave myself reasons to be grateful instead: I’m on vacation, I’m with my best friend and I get to spend more hours having fun since we get up so early. Therefore, there is nothing for me to be complaining about.
picture credit: Pinterest | original unknown
I hope the examples that I gave, or Marie’s post, helped show you the power of positive thinking. The two things to take away from this are: one bad thing doesn’t make a bad life and positive thoughts provoke a positive outlook on life.
Instead of dwelling on all the bad things, think instead of what you can be grateful for. If you had a lousy day at work, think about how fortunate you are to actually have a job. If school sucked today, then think about how fortunate you are for being able to get an education. If you lost $50, then think about how you’ll make the day of the person who finds it. If you’re having a bad body image day, just think about all the amazing things your body can do for you and the fact that you’re alive. I’m telling you, it’s possible to find the good in every situation.
So here’s my challenge for you: the next time you feel a negative thought creeping in you head let it sit there for a moment and then transform it into something positive. Here’s to happy thoughts and positive attitudes.
How do you remain positive?