Moving Into Positivity
If you are someone who finds yourself often stuck in a negative mindset - being critical and judgemental - this can be a heavy place. You can make changes. You can use yoga as a vehicle for change.
You first need to acknowledge where you are at then decide to make a change.
If you grew up in a household where there wasn't an unconditionally loving environment with a positive flow of loving energy, where our existences were not affirmed, you can do work to get out of mindsets that were established in those formative years.
Childhood Impressions Mark Your Thoughts
The impressions created in the mind in those early years are deep; they inform how you see and be in the world. Absent a more positive environment in the early years you may be more prone to self-criticism, self-loathing, and self-doubt at times. These energies may transcend outwards to your life at times whereby family, friends and colleagues are perceived through a critical lens.
A Four-Step Approach to Positivity
It's helpful to first accept where you are now in your life and decide to move forward from there. I'm proposing a 4-step approach to becoming more positive:
- Journal - create a journal to track your negative and critical thinking patterns. This is to draw consciousness to this habit. Track every time there's a negative impulse or thought about yourself, family, friend or colleague.
At the end of every day read them. Reflect. Then forgive yourself.
Track these thoughts for a full week.
- Meditation - keep the practice simple. Schedule 3-5 minutes (longer if you're already meditating). Try to do this early in the day after some preparation - cleaning your mouth and tongue, sipping hot water, then relieving your bowels, some gentle yoga or physical movement, breathwork, then meditation.
Focus awareness at the nostrils, watching the breath move in and out. On the inhalation silently repeat "So" and on the exhalation silently repeat "Ham" (pronounced hum). Set a timer for 3-5 minutes.
The vibration of So Hum (I am) mantra is incredibly healing.
Doing this more than once per day, at the end of the day perhaps is great.
- Radical Acts of Kindness - being kind to others has a power impact on your frame of mind. This may not be something you're comfortable with. There are countless examples of what acts of kindness can look like.
- Being kind to someone who is serving you
- Commenting on someone's attire
- Commenting on someone's pet
- Sharing money with a street person
Acts of kindness shift your energy and that of the people you are interacting with. This is powerful stuff!
- Gratitude Practice - this may be a journaling activity or simply reciting mentally a number of things you are grateful for from your day at the end of the day before going to sleep.
Before identifying them, start from a place of being grateful for everything that's brought you to this point in time. Grateful for being here, for being alive. This creates a positive field of energy from which to do your practice.
Identify at least three items from your day for which you are grateful. Don't do this by rote, ie, repeating the same three things every day, these are three unique things. Even something that may be construed as negative can be something you are grateful for, an argument with a colleague, for example, gives you an opportunity to grow, to learn, to reflect.
After reciting/writing the three, thank yourself. Then have a wonderful sleep.
Why Do These Things?
You know if you tend to the negative, critical, self-doubt, self-loathing, misery, your life can feel heavy and not feel at all uplifting or worthy. That's simply not fun.
When you use these practices you are changing the neuroplasticity of your brain - the patterns of your mind - and you get lighter and brighter. Your energy will shift which impacts what's going on around you, who is, and who is no longer, interested in being around you, and how you be in the world.
With more positivity, you start to realize a sea change. You'll start to feel more healthy in your body, mind and soul. This is a gift that's invaluable.
You Are Worth It
Do these practices with diligence, discipline and care. Stay on the wagon because old patterns are waiting to return. Commit yourself to the practices. Build the structure to practice these. You will change and people will notice.
Your life will start to feel better. You are worth it!