Positivity is a state of mind

Excelling at anything usually takes practice – and that’s also true for a positive mental attitude, writes Cloverdale columnist Dawn Carson.

Think of the most positive person you know. What does their life look like to you? Do they seem to look at the world through rose-tinted glasses? Are they happy all of the time? Perhaps you believe that they can live that way but that it’s impossible for you. If this is the case, you may be under the common misconception that being positive means being happy. This is simply untrue.

People tend to believe that positivity equals happiness. If you lived in a bubble maybe that would be the case. However, for those of us who live in the real world, positivity and happiness are not mutually inclusive. They simply do not always go hand in hand.

I am a positive person. I also tend to be a happy person. Sometimes though, life gets in the way of my feeling happy. I’m human, and therefore prone to all sorts of struggles and encounters that can make me feel sad, angry, and other feelings. The thing you need to understand is that happiness is an emotion. Being positive is a state of mind. It’s a mindset; a practice even. It can even be seen as a skill; one that anyone can learn.

If you want to excel at anything in life it usually takes practice. The practice of being positive is no different. You have to apply certain principles and habits in order to be a positive person. Things like watching the words you say about yourself and others can make a big difference. So can monitoring your moods, choosing uplifting music, and watching funny television shows. These things can contribute to a positive outlook on life. The more of these sorts of things you do on a regular basis the easier you will find it to be positive overall.

Think of your life as a storage container. What you fill your container with effects how you feel about yourself, your life and everything you encounter. If you fill it with negative things, you will feel negative about pretty much everything. If you clear out even a bit of that negativity, you will make room for more positive things and feelings. The trick is you need to clear out some of that junk first. You can’t fill an already full tank.

This may seem a bit overwhelming but remember, small changes make way for bigger ones. If you take just a tiny step forward, you will already be in a different place than when you started. Think of this as practice. Practicing positive is a sure-fire way to improve your quality of life. It can reduce your stress level and increase your ability to cope with tough times. It can also allow you to feel happier more often.

Sometimes we encounter adversity. Life sometimes hands us things that are out of our control. When a person is in the habit of practicing positivity they will still feel sadness, anger or bitterness. The difference is the level of impact that these unfortunate experiences have on us.

For example, if you are generally negative, something like the loss of a job can send you reeling out of control into depression. But if you are positive, the same experience can empower you to move forward more quickly. That mindset can help you to see the good in a situation, or propel you to take action that you wouldn’t have before. So make it your goal to find ways to be more positive every day. You will surely benefit from it and so will everyone around you.

– Dawn Carson is an author and public speaker who lives in Cloverdale.

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