Tag Archives: positivity

One Easy Exercise to Boost Positivity

Unlocking-The-Brain As a psychotherapist and graduate student of clinical psychology, I study human behaviour from a model of pathology, which, often times, focuses on symptoms and illnesses. It is a very negative perspective. I look at what is not working or what is wrong with a client. In our personal lives, most individuals, also, have a very negative way of looking at themselves and the world. The focus is more on what we don’t have or what we are doing wrong. My life coaching background has taught me that it is just as important and perhaps more beneficial to focus on and study what makes people happy. One of the easiest ways to do this is with gratitude.

But, before we talk about gratitude, let’s first learn about how our thinking can impact our feelings. Two great cognitive behavioural therapist’s, Aaron Beck and David Burns, describe cognitive distortions that can cause a negative perspective of reality. One such cognitive distortion is called a, ‘mental filter’. This is when an individual has a filter that causes them to ignore or filter out all of the positive aspects of a situation and to only see or filter in the negative aspects of the situation. This is, often, done even when there are many more positive aspects of the situation and only a little negative. The individual will zero in on the tiny little negative thing and discount all the positive. A good example of this is a student who might earn five A +’s on their report card and one C. The individual’s mental filter would cause them to only feel badly, or stupid, because of the C, but not feel proud of themselves, or smart, for all of the A’s. This example, also, describes, ‘discounting/minimizing the positive,’ another common cognitive distortion that is self-explanatory. This can, also, cause someone to maintain a negative view of themselves and the world around them.

So, how do we fix these cognitive distortions? One simple way to start to shift your inner dialogue from negative to positive is with gratitude. The more associations we can build to help our neurons to wire together to go naturally to what’s right, and what is great, about life, the easier it becomes to be more positive (creating a more positive mental filter) and to have a happier state of well-being. You can start a daily gratitude journal. Everyday just write out 5 things you are grateful for. I know that there are many people who will say that I have nothing to be grateful for, but I know when you dig deep you can always find stuff. You might be grateful that you have the eyesight to read this article. You might be grateful that you have the power to choose your mental filter and what aspects of a situation to maximize or minimize in your life.

You can be rich and have everything in the world, but if you aren’t grateful you will not ever be happy. Take some time, every day, to recognize all that you have and be grateful for it because if you do you will begin to feel much happier and will start to have a more fulfilled, satisfied life!

Letting Go of Negative Emotions

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Are you feeling upset with your best friend? Maybe you didn’t get the job promotion you had anticipated and are feeling angry? Emotions that cause us to feel badly about ourselves and others often create problems in many areas of our lives.

Although these emotions often cause us pain, within the right circumstances, they are completely normal. Negative emotions signify that you care about your wellbeing. You care enough about yourself to feel badly when you are wronged.

There is so much we can learn from in the moments when we feel sad. When negative emotions do arise, you may want to practice a few exercises. First, ask yourself if you are trying to suppress the negative emotion. When we try to dull negative emotions, we consequently stop ourselves from being able to fully feel positive emotions as well. Allow yourself to feel that emotion fully and completely. Try not to judge your negative emotion. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Perhaps you can ask yourself why you are feeling this emotion. This is a time to check in with yourself and see how you are really feeling. Often, our negative emotions are not as bad as we anticipate. Our negative emotions may lose their grip on us the second that we let go of trying to control them.

Emotions are like waves – you have the crest of the wave representing the rising emotion you may feel, the peak of the wave which signifies the most intense feelings experienced, and the fall of the wave as it returns to its beginning state. Similarly, our emotions rise up, and eventually fall away. This cycle in emotions is so natural and rhythmic, but we often feel that our emotional states are going to remain the same.

By allowing yourself to feel your emotions fully, both the good ones and the bad, you open yourself up to new positive emotions. You have the complete capacity to experience joy in minor daily tasks that can often go unrecognized or overlooked. Remember, to be kind to yourself and even treat your negative emotions with kindness. This may decrease the hold that they have over you.