Just Say NO to Negativity!

For several years I’ve majored, so to speak, in saying No to Negativity. I don’t watch the news, read newspapers, and whenever I’m with someone, either in person or on the phone, if that person drifts into negative talk, I get antsy. I feel my soul begin to shrivel up.

Philosopher Ernest Holmes wrote: “Refuse to see the negative….” This is how I’ve tried to live. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Why is it easier to go to the negative than it is to be positive? Perhaps it dates back to the primitive mind, when acts of nature begot a god that was harsh and judgmental. But now, science has an answer for us, even a name: entropy. Entropy is a measure of unavailable energy. The theory is that in a closed system, available energy diminishes, such as a person with a negative viewpoint. Negative people or events just suck the life out of us, if we’re not careful! Have you noticed? This is why it’s easier to get down in the dirt with someone when they’re complaining, even if it’s just about the weather! And, oh, wait until they start on their health! Ever notice how a person wants to give you a blow-by-blow account of their latest catastrophe! That old saying, “Misery loves company…” how true! That’s entropy!

But there’s hope! Science also gives us syntropy, which is the psychological state of wholesome association with others. This is why it’s so necessary to resist negativity…to just say NO! to negative people or news. When we refuse to look at negativity, when we make a concerted effort to stay positive, we enter into a state of syntropy…a psychological state of wholesome association.

There is a school of psychology devoted to syntropy, and to positivity. Aptly, it’s called Positive Psychology. There’s even a neurosciencitific study of the effects of positive and negative emotions on the brain. People who study positive psychology and the neuroscience of positivity on the brain claim that positive people live longer and are more healthy. Enough reasons for me to want to be positive!

How do you resist negativity? How can you be positive in a world geared more toward negativity?

I have a friend who developed a way. He’s a psychologist. He developed something he calls UpSpiral for Life. He teaches how to become more positive on a daily basis by using something else he calls the Emotional Gym. By repeating the words, Peace, Love, Joy, Hope and Gratitude frequently throughout the day, we teach our minds and our brains to become positive.

When I first began to practice the Emotional Gym, I was at a low point in my life. Nothing was going right and I couldn’t find a way out. As I practiced the Emotional Gym, repeating the words Peace, Love, Joy, Hope and Gratitude….and feeling the emotions…I began to feel more positive. I began to see results…things got better. I noticed even people with whom I interacted were more positive!

I taught a class based on my friend’s UpSpiral for Life. For 20 weeks, we met, did the work, practiced the Emotional Gym. Lives were changed. People in the class became more positive. They began to see the results of being positive in their lives.

You can Just Say No to Negativity.  You can train your mind to be positive. Being positive is a habit. Neuroscientists say that habits cause ruts in our brains. The longer and more ingrained the habit, the deeper the rut and the more difficult to change. But habits can be changed. The Emotional Gym can train our minds to be positive. I believe it, because it happened with me. And it can happen to you.

I invite you this week to take a look at your life. Are you a victim of negative thinking, of negative beliefs? If so, you can change! Are you already a positive person? Wonderful! And you can get even better! I invite you to Just Say No to Negativity!


Train Your Mind, Change Your Life

“I don’t have an off button in my mind – I can’t stop thinking about it!”  The young man was clearly agitated, angry even, at me when I suggested he stop thinking about his problem, which was literally making him sick.

The truth is:  we do have an off button; we can stop thinking about our problems, we can stop making ourselves sick!  But it isn’t easy for some of us.  We have trained our brains – and our minds – to go to the negative.  Like a throbbing toothache we keep poking our tongues at the tooth, thinking that will stop the pain, when, in fact, it just makes it worse.  The same is true of a problem – the more we pay attention to it, the worse we feel, and the problem just gets worse.

What is the off button?  Training your mind to be positive, to think of something that makes you feel good.  If you immediately think I’m being pollyannainsh, there’s a new science, neuroscience, that backs up what I’m saying – our brains, our minds, want to feel good!  The brain works better when we’re happy.  The easiest, simplest way to stop worrying is to think of something that brings you joy.  For some of us, so entrenched in our problem it’s difficult to remember what brings us joy, there’s another way.

Train your mind to feel good.

Here’s how.
     Your life is a reflection of your beliefs and most of those beliefs are about yourself – your capabilities.  Your life is a reflection of your self-esteem, which arises from your beliefs – or what you’ve been taught to believe about yourself.  And for many, that self-esteem is a lie.  To be accurate, it isn’t self-esteem if it isn’t positive.  By definition, self-esteem means you hold yourself in esteem; you think well of yourself.

There are three keys to training your mind, thereby changing your life.  Those three keys are:

1)  What do you believe about yourself?  Is what you believe the truth, or what you’ve been taught?  Do you have hidden beliefs that are false?  The first key requires you to get real with yourself; to ask yourself:  what do  I believe about myself?  And when you know what you believe, is it the truth?  If not, your work is to decide what is the truth and exchange the old belief with the new, true belief.

2)  Accept – What do you accept as your truth?  I adhere to a teaching called New Thought/Science of Mind, which teaches that we can have, do, and be whatever we desire, as long as we do no harm.  What I’ve discovered is that many of us have difficulty with accepting that we are worthy of having our desires.  This is a hidden belief that many of us have that needs to be healed.  Being able to accept our worth is an important step in training our minds.

3)  Receive – When you’ve unearthed the belief that holds you back; when you’ve done the work that enables you to accept all your desires, then you’re ready to receive.  Like the receiver of a football team, you’ve practiced catching so that when the ball comes toward you, you’re ready and able to reach out and grab it.

But there’s more to training your mind.  Like a well-trained athlete there are things you need to do to train your mind.  An athlete trains his mind and his body and there are certain things he must do.  First, he must know the rules – how to play the game.  There are certain rules for every game, just as there are techniques or rules for an artist or musician.  Before a pianist can play the piano, she has to learn the keys, the notes, the chords.  The first is to know the rules.  Then she must practice.  Without practice, an athlete or a pianist goes nowhere, fast!  Then, the third thing is, take proper care of your body – get enough rest and good nutrition.  Without those, a body can’t function.

And last, but not least, keep your mind on the game.  If, when the ball is coming toward you, your mind wanders to your girlfriend, you’re probably not going to catch the ball!

Just as an athlete trains his mind and body, you can train your mind and in doing so, you’ll change your life!  To train your mind, and change your beliefs, therefore your life:

1)  Uncover the beliefs that keep you locked in to a life you don’t want.

2)  Examine the belief:  is it the truth, or a hanger-on from your past?

3)  What is the truth – what do you believe right now – about yourself, about life?

4)  Claim the truth – make it your own!

5)  Practice your new belief.

6)  Watch your life change!

Do You Have a Goal…or a Dream?

For years I’ve set goals for myself.  My goals were ways to work toward making my dreams come true.  I’ve had dreams…oh, the dreams!  Most of them have come true.  I still have dreams, and I know in good time, they will be fulfilled.

     When I was younger, I didn’t have dreams.  I just lived whatever life seemed to be throwing at me.  Then I discovered it was okay to dream, and amazingly, for this welfare baby, my dreams began to come true.  One after another.  I just watched in awe.

     Now I know: “…without a vision, the people perish…”  I know that if I don’t have a dream,  and work toward fulfilling it, I’m just drifting.

     Most of us think that the things we want, the dreams we have, will make us happy.  For years I’ve wanted a convertible.  At first I didn’t know what kind, so I didn’t focus on having one, other than a vague, “I’d like to have a convertible…”  But every time I’d see one, no matter the make, I’d feel that desire swell.  After much research, I discovered the make I wanted, even the color.  I began to see that make of car everywhere; I didn’t see the convertible, but the make of car.  Now, every time I go out, I see many cars of that particular make and sometimes, a convertible.  

     Many of us feel that if we don’t get what we want, or see the dream fulfilled, we can’t be happy.  Last night I watched a movie about young women who weren’t married.  One of them was quite content with her life and didn’t feel the need to be married to be happy.  All the other woman wanted was to be married.  When she met the man of her dreams and they decided to marry, she set about fulfilling her dream wedding.

     Deepak Chopra says, “…happiness for a reason is just another form of misery because the reason can be taken away at any time.”  He goes on to say that by making happiness our primary goal we are still happy regardless of what happens to us.

     This came home to me this week.  I have a collection of beautiful, unique jewelry.  For twenty years, I’ve been collecting these pieces.  Most are gifts from my husband; some were handcrafted by my step-son.  Last week, someone broke into our home and stole every piece.  I was devastated!   All my beautiful jewelry gone!  For hours I cried.  No, I didn’t cry; I wailed.  As I made a list for the insurance company, I relived the time each piece was bought, beginning with our honeymoon in Germany.  

     I tried telling myself it was just material things.  We were safe, the house wasn’t destroyed, jewelry can be replaced.  But, these pieces can’t.  Well, the handcrafted ones can, but they were expensive.  And I’m not sure I want to replace them.  My heart just felt sick.

     Gradually, as the days have gone by, I’ve come to grips with the loss, somewhat.  I know my happiness doesn’t depend on a piece of jewelry, no matter how beautiful or unique.  Who I am doesn’t depend on those pieces.  I can grieve the loss, and the violation of my personal space, but I can return to joy, to happiness, because I know where my true happiness lies.

     This is the lesson for us all…we have dreams and set goals because there is an inner creative urge to evolve, to grow, but we need to remember that we don’t need to attain things or status, or even relationships, to be happy.  Being happy is a choice.  Living in a state of happiness is a choice.  And we…you and I…we’re the ones who make that choice.  If I let having or not having a car, a relationship, a certain job, or a piece of jewelry, determine my happiness, if or when I lose that thing, I lose my happiness. 

     The amazing thing about this choice to be happy is that, when we choose to be happy just because, our dreams seem to come true…almost as if by magic.

     I choose to be happy.  I want to be happy.  I want to dance through my life in a state of joy just because I’m alive!