Irish Independent, January 10th 2017
Stuck in a slump filled with negative thoughts and pessimistic people? Motivational speaker Ewa Pietrzak has simple but effective ways which leave the glass always half full.
Being in the presence of upbeat people can shift us from seeing the glass half empty, to the glass half full. Every day can be a challenge if we let it, but the key to staying positive is to surround ourselves with optimistic people and engage in uplifting conversation. Meet-up.com is a great way to find new social groups to meet for walks, talks, art, theatre, singing, dancing and an array of activities. You may have doubts about leaving your lifelong friends and family to meet a bunch of strangers, but hey, if they are more uplifting and refreshing, this could be the positive tonic you need.
Learn to appreciate life and be thankful for everything you have today. Life is the greatest gift and most of us take it for granted. Find a little rock from the garden or buy a special one and make this your gratitude rock. Leave it beside your bed and every night before you go to sleep think of all the good things that happened today. Retrace your day from the delicious morning coffee, the bus arriving on time and all the other experiences until bedtime. Pick the best thing that happened all day and be extremely grateful for this, no matter how big or small. You will fall asleep feeling contented and relaxed.
Take a look at your habits that may not be serving you well. These could be anything from poor diet to worrying too much. Identify the habits you would like to change and write them down. It is best to tackle habits one by one and get help if necessary. Now pick one habit you want to change and write how you will replace this habit. For example if it is poor diet, you can describe what your new diet should be. Instead of focusing on what you are cutting out, focus on what you are introducing and feel good about this each time you eat good food.
Learn Something New
Have you been saying for years that you would love to learn to play the cello or knit a jumper? Winter is a great time to take up classes and courses and achieve one of your personal goals. Classes are meditation and when the mind becomes absorbed in learning a new skill or activity, all the chatter of the day’s events stop. This is a very effective way of switching off the negative and activating the positive.
Physical exercise is one of the quickest ways to move our mind into a positive frame. Have you ever wondered why so many people are addicted to running? Exercise increases serotonin levels, making you feel great and triggering cravings for more happy hormones. So if you are stuck on the couch, squirming at the sight of more mates’ marathon photographs on social media, maybe it’s time to try for yourself. Doing regular exercise, that you enjoy, will put you in a great frame of mind.
Calm the Mind
Yogis, sages and monks have been sharing the secrets of stilling the mind for eons. By taking control of our thoughts and mastering our mind, we cultivate calmness and learn to ‘respond’ rather than ‘react’ to the ups and downs of life. A calming daily exercise is to light a candle and focus on the flame for a couple of minutes. At first your mind will wander but after a few days you will feel more relaxed and focused. This takes practice and discipline but even 60 seconds is enough to settle the mind and shake off worries and negative thoughts.
Learn to love and appreciate yourself every day. Finding faults is easy and many of us have negative conversations with ourselves about our looks and our bodies. Well it’s time to get the mirror out and this time ‘smile’ and find all the things you like about yourself. “I love my eyes, I have a great body, my hair is in excellent condition and my skin is glowing” are just some of the compliments you can bestow upon yourself. Saying them out loud and meaning them will generate self-love. Doing this exercise daily, will fill you with love.
Go Out More
There is always an excuse not to go out in winter, but often ‘out’ is what we need, to stop us wallowing in the dark evenings and grey days. Check your local listings for gigs, theatre, comedy and concerts. Ireland is abundant in arts and performance year round so get out there and enjoy what’s on offer. Going out to events makes us leave our worries and enjoy new experiences.
Get a Coach
When taking up physical exercise, a personal trainer will tailor make and supervise a regime to suit your individual needs and get you in shape. When it comes to getting the mind in shape, a professional mindset coach can devise a process to shift your negative baggage, some of which is hereditary, and guide you into a positive state. Having one-to-one support and guidance will fast track your path to the happiness and contentment that positive people enjoy.
Set a Goal
Having something to look forward to is a great way to focus the mind and get things done at the same time. Set a goal that excites you, which can be personal or professional. For example you may dream of learning to tango dance. Map your path and start taking steps towards it every day. Make sure to pat yourself on the back every time you go to a class and practice. You will feel great. Setting and achieving goals is a sure way of attaining a positive mindset.
Reject Negative Thoughts
Learn to deflect negativity and look for the good around you and in other people. Every day we communicate with several people using multiple platforms (face-to-face, phone, email, social media etc) and we encounter all sorts of conversation and information. It is best to deflect negativity when it arises. When you hear a negative story, say in your mind ‘that’s interesting’ and change the topic to a more positive one. Keep looking for positive aspects in every story and situation. This takes effort, but with practice you will naturally become more optimistic.
When you find yourself feeling low, have a ‘go-to’ activity on standby that will lift your spirits. This could be a quick run around the block, a fun song that makes you dance along, or a few minutes of your favourite comedian that’s guaranteed to make you laugh. Gratitude is also a great mood-booster, and easily done by writing a list of 10 things you are truly grateful and blessed to have. Identify your mood-enhancing activities and have them at the ready, so when you catch yourself in a low moment you can self-administer. Try it and feel the lift.
Enjoy the Moment
‘Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think. Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink. The years go by as quickly as a wink…’ proclaim the lyrics of an old song with a vital message. Feeling the joy of simple, everyday moments is the key to positivity. Simple acts of kindness, like exchanging smiles with somebody, can elevate and transform our mood in seconds. Treasure the moment as you cuddle a kitten, laugh with a loved one, watch pigeons in the park, or dance like there’s no tomorrow. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Keep a nice notepad beside your bed and every night write three things you did each day that you wish to acknowledge yourself for. These can be personal or professional, big or small. If you are bogged down and struggling you can acknowledge yourself for things you take for granted, like getting out of bed, having a shower, and making yourself a cup of tea. Focusing on all the good that you are doing is a great way to increase positivity and attract more good in your life.
Whether we are surfing the net, watching TV, listening to radio or reading, a tsunami of information makes its way into our lives every day. Our moods can easily be dragged down by a current of negative news, so it is important to filter what we read, watch and listen to. In order to maintain a positive mindset, we need to tune into the upbeat and inspirational stories. It is very helpful to create a habit of reading positive books, like Magic or The Secret by Rhonda Byrne for 30 minutes every day and watch your outlook on life transforming.