Having a positive view of life is a choice. You can choose thoughts that elevate your mood and generally colour your day with brighter colours, seeing life as filled with possibilities and solutions instead of worries and obstacles.
The whole month we had been carrying out the experiment entitled ‘Positive October’, when we tried each time to find 3 positive things happened with us during 3 recent days and results discussed during our previous meeting were following: it does work, even small things, such as cup of good coffee, a smile of a stranger, sunny day or a call of your good friend can make a day. Discussing it regularly we pay more attention to things we don’t usually notice. Sharing positive moment makes us experienced those emotions anew and while we are empathizing we are also becoming happier and creating a positive atmosphere.
It is not always easy to find a positive thing when we have a lot of work and just a bad day, so it requires some effort. But when you make this effort, doing it as a habit, it will make your life happier, more successful and fulfilled. It is a nice tradition to be spread among your friends, colleagues and acquaintance, because it always nice to surround yourself with positive people.
Is it good to be always positive? What is the line between positive thinking and cynic one?
We should take into consideration a trap in positive thinking, when we over-use this method finding ourselves detached from reality, loose clear vision and estimation of things around you, it can lead as well to underestimating the actual risks involved in a particular decision. Another thread is going to extremes and becoming cynical, when positive thinking becomes inappropriate and can signify about your lack of empathy and obduracy. That is why we should not forget about thought awareness and rational thinking.
What is positive psychology? And what is common and different between how positive psychology and positive?
While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, it is important to understand that they are not the same thing. First, positive thinking is about looking at things from a positive point of view. Positive psychology certainly tends to focus on optimism, but it also notes that while there are many benefits to thinking positively, there are actually times when more realistic thinking is more advantageous. Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. The goal is to make normal life more fulfilling and finding resources inside. It is concern with increasing well-being that stands upon 5 pillars: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.
One of the main concepts is of ‘flow’ introduced by M. Csíkszentmihályi, co-founder of positive psychology. It is a state of concentration or complete involvement with the activity and the situation when nothing else seems to matter. "The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost", outlines Csíkszentmihályi.
Another concept is ‘mindfulness’ or catching the moment. It is awareness and focus on one immediate experience, paying attention to all your thought, emotions and physical state here and now, as said one of our students during the discussion, ‘It helps us understand that we exist’.
Another essential concept is ‘Learn optimism’ that expresses the notion that a talent of joy can be cultivated and it depends on our own will and desire to live more content life. ‘Contrary to what most of us believe, happiness does not simply happen to us. It’s something that we make happen’, M. Csíkszentmihályi.
Here some more tips how to be positive: 1. Meditate or do yoga. 2. Smile. 3. Surround yourself with positive people. 4. Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive. 5. Don’t play the victim. You create your life—take responsibility. 6. Help someone. 7. Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward. 8. Sing. 9. List five things that you are grateful for right now. 10. Read positive quotes. One more way to stay positive especially in difficult situation comes from NLP and is called ‘Positive anchoring’. To know more how to do that, follow the link: www.personal-development-planet.com/nlp-anchors.html
To finish this article I’d like to share with you my personal way to feel happier, it is the tradition of ‘Inspirational Wednesday’. Wednesday is my only day off, so I tried to get the best from it and do only things that make me feel good and inspire me. I don’t use the internet and social networks, don’t watch TV, don’t work. Instead I visit art-galleries, cinemas, theatres or just walk along the streets ‘to meet with myself’ or try to meet with friends or people who inspire me and devote time for hobby. As said the main character in the old famous serial Twin Picks,‘You have to make a little present every day’.
There is one more useful method that I have taken from famous psychologists N.Cholodenko and D. Karapachev: devote some time to think what makes you feel better, you will need to write down in 3 columns: 40 things that make you happy; when was the last time you did them, when are you going to do them. Next step is to make 1/3 of this list. You will have only two weeks for that :)
1. ‘Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience’ M. Csíkszentmihályi, Harper and Row, 1990.
2. ‘The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osJ-J2x7qFw
3. Several resources that highlighted negative aspects of positive thinking http://www.bookish.com/articles/the-power-of-negative-thinking-5-reasons-why-positivity-gets-it-wrong
4. ‘The Art of Happiness’ (Riverhead, 1998, ISBN 1-57322-111-2) is a book by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist who posed questions to the Dalai Lama.
5. ‘The Dalai Lama guide to happiness’ article http://www.myrkothum.com/the-dalai-lama-guide-to-happiness/
6. ‘The key to thinking positively’ video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJ5ColgEm4
7. ‘What is Positive psychology’ short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qJvS8v0TT
8. http://www.wikihow.com/Think-Positively tips how to think positively
9. Happiness is being grateful http://vimeo.com/user612630