It’s not always easy being positive. Some days it’s just plain easier to be negative/cynical/bleh – in fact most days it is if you’re dealing with the stresses that many people are. It’s the unfortunate truth that it’s more difficult to be positive than it is to be negative. But then again, it’s more difficult to do a lot of things that we want for our lives, but that’s what makes them even sweeter when it pays off. It’s that difficulty of choosing in the moment to take the higher road that really makes it all worth it.
Yet there’s hope! Many times, things could be made simpler, and thus more likely to be accomplished. Below are 3 different ways that you could be more positive today (or negative if you choose). The fact is that it takes more effort and energy to be negative, because when you’re negative it’s because you’re resisting something. You could be resisting someone (upset about something they said or did), or resisting something (where you’re at in life, an illness, etc.).
Sure it takes practice to start being positive most of the time, but you’re worth it. You don’t have to do all 3, you don’t even have to do two of them, but one should be easy enough and will put you on a path toward happiness (or misery)!
3 Unconventional Ways to be Positive (or Negative) Today…You Choose
1) Be in the moment, if only for a moment.
In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Art of Power, he breaks down “being in the moment” really well. He makes it really simple for us with examples such as this: [paraphrased] If you’re pouring tea, pour the tea. Don’t think about what you have to do today. Don’t think about how you have to make lunch for the kids. Don’t think about how late you are for work. Focus all of your energy and thoughts on one thing…pouring the tea.
Worry about everything that you have to do today, tomorrow, this week, this month and this year. Don’t be in the moment with making breakfast or talking with your loved one. Be all about you…and in your head.
2) Full-smile 😀 when you would normally half-smile
Full smile = teeth showing and feeling happy
Think about the last person who gave you a half-smile. Do you remember how fake it looked? Maybe that person was under a lot of stress, or maybe they’re just dealing with something. Either way, they weren’t really present when they smiled at you. They were in their head.
Now think about the last time someone gave you an honest full-smile. Do you remember how that made you feel? It’s contagious. That person wasn’t in their head thinking about their stresses, they were present in their happiness, and sharing it through a full-smile.
Even if you have to force the full-smile at first, it will start to become more natural the more you do it. It might be difficult, and it may feel forced, but it will come around. Trust me.
Half smile = closed lips and not feeling happy
Stay in your head and worry about your worries. Then when someone asks you how you’re doing, give them a half-smile and tell them you’re fine. It’s easy to keep up this cycle all day if you’d like.
3) Listen as if you’re actually interested
This one can be taken the wrong way. I’m not saying to fake being interested. Instead I’m saying to actually be interested. It’s amazing what happens when you start to really become interested in what somebody is saying. You start to truly hear what’s behind their words.
You find out new things about them, and about you believe it or not. You rise above your ego/worries/self-involvement and give selflessly to someone. You share yourself with someone, in the moment (snuck #1 in there!). Most importantly you help someone feel understood, which is all we ever hope for much of the time.
We all know this path all to well – we listen while we also listen to the little voice in our head that distracts us with thoughts about what we need to get done today, what that person is wearing, and other thoughts sparked by what that person is saying. This leaves us feeling like we would rather be doing something else, and more importantly it leaves the other person feeling like we don’t care.
It truly is our choice in every moment which direction we want to go. Take the small step of choosing just one of these to practice today and see what happens.