The art of seeing positively
Every single thing that happens in your life is stimulus. You filter it through a belief and this creates a response. For example, if someone tells you that you look slim and you have been trying to lose weight your response might be to feel proud and successful. Through your filter slim=good. But for a person struggling to stay healthy as they fight cancer, hearing the exact same sentence might be cause for alarm and increased stress since for them slim=unhealthy. So when we reframe we are examining our belief to see if it works for us in a positive way.
David Brinkley said "A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation from bricks others throw at him". This is an excellent example of reframing. When someone throws bricks you can choose to see it as an attack and cower in the corner or you can see the bricks as a gift with which to build something wonderful.
If you have been thinking negatively for a long time, how do you change your pattern? Habits take 21 days to form so when we strive to create a new habit it takes 21 days of work followed by a lifetime of reward. Here are a few quick tips to get started.
1) Notice the good things already in your life- Start a joy journal either online or in a diary. At the end of each day jot down three things you had to be happy about. These can be as simple as the sunrise, morning coffee and a text from your favourite friend. What you focus on in life gets bigger and according to the laws of attraction, just by expressing gratitude for the good in your day, you encourage more joyful experiences.
2) Turn you frown upside down- When you find yourself being negative in your speech or thoughts do an immediate auto-correct. For example if you are in traffic and you start to worry about being late or you feel frustration with the other drivers, acknowledge that this feeling isn't helping to increase your happiness. Then change your belief to something that will. When I sit in traffic I practice thinking that because of this slow down, I have avoided a potential collision ahead. May or may not be true, but I feel better.
3) Spend extra time doing the things that make you feel great.- We tend to be creatures of habit, which means if you feel great, have stimulating conversations, sleep well, and spend time learning new things you will feel motivated and inspired. If you are feeling less vital than you would like plan for more of the experiences that you know bring you happiness. And if you can't actually ski, skydive, or lay on the beach, visualizing these activities for 2-3 minutes creates the same response in your brain that actually participating does. As you remind your body what it feels like to be joyful, it will actually seek out more opportunities for fun.
In the words of Thoreau "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."