fbpx

Increase Your Positive Thinking

Today you’re only supposed to think positive thoughts – September 13th is Positive Thinking Day. The idea of such a day seems ridiculous – what if your car breaks down or your train is canceled? But the deeper reason behind it makes excellent sense.

We are bombarded with negative messages. Advertisers want us to be unhappy and promise that if only we bought their product, we would become happy. News media focus on bad news because more people click on those stories.

To avoid sinking into despair, you need to fight back. It’s all well and good to celebrate Positive Thinking Day. But it’s better to create a habit of explicitly looking for the positive each day. Spend a few moments before bed to review your day and find something positive that happened. It will improve your mood – and your sleep.

To Fight Climate Anxiety, Do Something

You can do something to improve the world. It is important for your physical and mental health that you feel you make a difference.

Climate worries are on everybody’s mind here in Europe as we suffer record temperatures and our rivers dry out. A big survey of young people found 45% saying that their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning. Adults with traumatic experiences like bullying or other abuse often have similar feelings.

You can break this feeling and reclaim your life by doing something to fight the thing you worry about. You don’t need to save the world by yourself, but you need to make an effort. You might save energy by driving less, buying vintage clothes instead of new ones, or volunteering in a climate-related charity. When you wrap up your day before going to bed, remind yourself of a situation where you made your own effort to fight climate change.

There is a very big difference between doing nothing and doing something.

Are You Catastrophizing?

Are you Catastrophizing? I didn’t know that word until recently, but I have met clients with this behavior. People who catastrophize imagine a lot of problems, even the most unlikely. For some, this condition places significant limitations on their lives.

The first step in fighting this is to become aware of the mechanism. When you are in a safe place and have time to think, consider which things you have recently decided not to do. Reflect on the reason you said no. If you find that you had a good reason, fine. You are rationally careful. If you no longer think saying no was necessary, then imagine a similar situation in the future. Imagine saying yes. That prepares you and lessens the risk of catastrophizing.

Could you Unplug for 24 Hours?

August 6th, 2022, is the 3rd Global Day of Unplugging. When you read this, think about if you can put your phone down and stay offline for 24 hours. Many people think they can, but few people have the willpower. Are you up to the challenge? #globaldayofunplugging 

Get Rid of Some Stuff

I’m feeling inspired to get rid of some stuff. Even though I’m pretty good at decluttering, I still get that feeling every year when I come back from our summer cottage. We don’t feel the weight of all our possessions in our everyday lives. But when we have been away on vacation and have been getting on just fine with only what we could have in a suitcase or backpack, we notice the difference.

We can get some of that holiday feeling by having fewer things. Find some stuff you no longer need and recycle or donate it.

The No Shopping Challenge

Amazon has issued its yearly challenge to the world. It’s a game, and it’s called Amazon Prime Day. You lose if you buy one of Amazon’s “exceptional” deals. You win if you don’t buy anything.

They are using every psychological trick in the book, including inflated “before” prices that just happened to go up one week ago, so that they can offer a huge discount today. If you want to challenge yourself, go to their website. If you want to win the game, stay off the internet as much as you can for the next two days.

You need less stuff, not more.

Reprogram Your Brain

Are you using your brain right? The human brain has two thinking systems: A fast system and a slow system. The slow system is for carefully considering situations, and it uses a lot of energy. The fast system provides quick answers in routine situations and uses much less energy.

Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to automatically select which system to use. In every situation, the fast system gets the first try. In 98% of all cases, the fast system comes up with what it thinks is a good answer, and doesn’t even ask the slow system.

Fortunately, you can use the slow system to re-program the fast system. To change your behavior, think about a situation in advance and tell yourself what you want to happen. Your fast system might automatically say yes when your boss asks you to do one more thing today. Tell yourself that next time, you will say that you will do the task tomorrow. Simply stating your goal tells your fast thinking system that the automatic response is no longer the right answer.

Talk Nicely to Yourself

How do you talk to yourself? When our actions lead to bad outcomes, we blame ourselves. That is OK if it leads us to reflect on our behavior and do better next time.

But the language we use when we blame ourselves is sometimes much worse than we would ever use with other people. If a colleague makes a mistake, we don’t call her stupid. But we might call ourselves stupid. Don’t do that. Talk to yourself at least as politely as you talk to others.

What Impossible Goals Could You Achieve?

Could you land a plane? Right now, sitting in your chair, you think it would be impossible. But if you were in the air and your pilot fell unconscious, you would be able to land the plane. A passenger with no flying experience found himself in that situation above Florida yesterday. With assistance from an air traffic controller, he successfully landed the small aircraft.

Many things we think are impossible really aren’t. Once we start, we find that we can do more than we thought. We find people who want to help us. We find resources that we didn’t realize existed. The challenge is to break free of our own limiting beliefs. To help yourself dream bigger, it is useful to ask the question “what would I do if I knew I could not fail?”

Once you have set a goal, take one small step towards it today. If you take no action today, you are not likely to take any action tomorrow. But if you take one small step today, you are likely to take another tomorrow. The difference between zero actions and one action is huge. Take that one action today.

You can read much more about setting and achieving goals in my book “Life after Bullying.” The tools in the book are general and can help anyone. Read more about the book here: https://www.lifeafterbullying.com/book/

The Effort is Within Your Control

You control the effort, not the results. If there is anything in your life you want to change, you can take action today to move towards your desired goal. You might not know exactly what action to take. That is fine – then the action today is to determine what action you need to take tomorrow.

You are not in full control of what direction your life takes. Your environment, other people, and chance all play a part, too.

That is why the focus of your daily review before bed should be on the action you took today, not the results you experienced.