Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.
– Mahatma Gandhi.
(This is a post by Sandi Amorim of Devacoaching.com)
An interesting thing happens when you begin to make positive changes in your life.
Let’s say you decide, “Yes! I really do want to live life on my own terms!” what shows up almost immediately is everything that’s not ok, NOT on your terms. It’s like you’re suddenly noticing all the things you were previously tolerating.
And no one has been inspired by what they’re tolerating.
That’s because you’re wired to notice all the things you don’t want. It’s a human thing (nothing to beat yourself up about!) and useful because it will inevitably lead you to clarity on what you DO want.
Psychologist and brain researcher Dr. Rick Hanson says our brains are “Velcro for negativity and Teflon for positivity.”
Basically that means we all have a negativity bias, that our negative experiences stick to us like velcro while our positive experiences slide right off us like Teflon.
Is it any wonder you notice everything that’s wrong before noticing anything that’s right? The downside is this wiring makes it pretty tough to live your life your way! But given that’s the way your brain works, what if you stopped fighting it, stopped making yourself wrong for noticing the negative?
It’s like the storm clouds in this photo.
There’s no point in arguing with the weather. Mother Nature’s simply doing her thing, her way – just like your brain.
BUT WHAT IF..
.. YOU BEGAN USING THIS NEGATIVE VELCRO FOR GOOD?
Here’s what I mean. . .
A while back I gave a workshop on becoming an effective communicator. The event went well, but I left it judging myself and the presentation pretty harshly (hello negative Velcro thinking!) By the time I got home I had “coulda, woulda, shoulda’d” myself into a pretty negative state, and let me tell ya, it wasn’t pretty!
So I went to one of my most reliable go-to coaching tools for times like these; I call it the Debrief. It’s a great tool that can be used for any aspect of life, because it can tap into another area of your brain (the neocortex) to reverse the negativity bias and get you unstuck.
“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Elvis Presley
Instead, use these 5 steps to restore your sparkling state and get on with what you’re here to do!
5 STEPS TO RESTORING HAPPINESS + POSITIVITY:
What’s an area of your life that’s not going your way at the moment? Pick just one, or maybe a circumstance like the workshop example I shared. Now using that area, answer each of the following questions:
1. What’s working? (Something is always working. Be specific.)
2. What’s not working? (Again, be specific.)
3. What’s missing that you didn’t produce the results you wanted? (Or said another way, what got in the way of it going your way?)
4. What opportunities do you now see? (These could be new ones or ones you may have thought of before.)
Funny thing about the workshop was that I got really positive feedback and the organizer of the event said it was my best one ever. Same event, different assessment. Notice my negativity bias vs. the organizer’s positive feedback.
My wiring had distorted my thinking; kind of like blowing an internal fuse! Once you’ve answered #4, you’ll typically find yourself feeling energized, positive and even excited. It really is deceptively simple. Which brings us to the fifth question. . .
5. What’s my next action?
Because of course, by now you know that sitting around just dreaming of the someday future you’d like isn’t going to work. You still have to take action.
There is a secret when it comes to taking action. . .
It’s that not ANY old action will do. ‘m talking about action that’s inspired by your values and your vision. Because that’s what living your life your way takes – consistent, inspired action.
Tip: Inspired action usually feels great. It energizes you and lights you up from the inside out, and you find yourself doing more with less struggle.
Here’s the other awesome thing Dr. Hanson said, “We need to engage positive experiences actively to weave them into the brain.”
Soooo. . .
The more you use the debrief, the more you’ll rewire your brain for positivity.
The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Tia (aka the queen of all things positive and sparkly) has just the thing to help you out with her 30 day Sparkle Flight Club!
Gotta love that sparklepants 😉
1. Use the Debrief questions to turn around a negative state or circumstance.
2. Brainstorm 2-3 actions you could take that would move your vision forward.
3. Let us know what you’re up to in the comments below!
Sandi Amorim is a Coach and Writer on a mission to obliterate ‘someday’ thinking from the face of the earth. She does so with over a decade of training and experience as a Solution Focused Coach and NLP Practitioner.
She is co-creator of the Campfire Circle for Coaches and can be found sharing her slightly mad twist on personal development at DevaCoaching.com.
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