You know how to fight, how to fume and how to feel it deeply when the road gets rough. But what do you do when life forks over exactly what you want? Do you embrace it and give thanks? Or do you start picking and poking? You may call yourself a realist – but always focusing on the dark side can keep the light from shining through.
Maybe you don’t believe you deserve to win – or to win big. You might think life is meant to be a test. Perhaps you’ve gone through so many tough times that a smooth ride feels strange and uncomfortable. Whatever your mind-block is, with some smart work you can break right on through. The key is to kick those old thoughts of “no, no, no,” and retrain your mind to shout a resounding “yes!”
Take a time-out
Distance lends perspective, in bad times or good. You don’t even need to travel far, just give yourself a break from worry and doubt. Take a scenic walk or ride your bike – exercise shifts attention to your natural physical rhythms, and the great outdoors is a natural tranquilizer. If you’re stuck inside, listen to your favorite music or a mood-soothing tape, or even watch a sitcom rerun. While you’re “gone,” your mind has time and space to begin accepting a new reality. By the way, don’t save such nourishing activities for emergency use only. Day-to-day enjoyment is a kind of “homework” that teaches your mind to handle the higher highs when they happen.
Draw up a pro and con list
This decision-making tool can bring new vision to an unexpectedly good turn of events. Divide a large piece of paper into two columns. List the pluses on the pro side, such as “it’s what I’ve always wanted and deserve” and “my hard work has finally been rewarded.” On the con side, have some fun, and list your outrageous thoughts, from “I’ll probably get struck by lightning” to “the Universe is bound to wise up.” Even though you’re only playing, what you write down is what you may feel deep inside. Now cut the page in half. The con side contains the fears you need to banish. The pro side provides a list you can look at whenever doubt creeps in.
Examine your self-talk
It’s bad enough to kick yourself when you’re down. But doing it when you’re up is like asking for a crash. Make a point of listening to your typical thoughts. Do they sound like the negative side of your pro and con list? If you try to visualize a good outcome to a situation, does your mind cut you off with a million reasons why it can’t be so?
Fighting your thoughts is a losing battle. They always fight back! Instead, the key is distraction – a positive affirmation you can repeat the moment your brain puts on the boxing gloves. Good inspiration: what you’d say to a loved one who realized a cherished dream. Repeat it to yourself in the mirror, or to a photo of yourself when no mirrors are handy. Written statements have extra power, so jot down your mantra and tuck it in your pocket or purse to read anywhere. In time, you’ll get it through your head.
Evaluate your idea of “happiness”
If true bliss is always somewhere in the future for you, it’s no wonder you’re suspicious when it sneaks up on you right now. Or maybe you’ve hitched it all to a star that’s light years out of your control by saying, “I’ll only be happy when …” In that case, being happy and satisfied with what’s actually going on doesn’t seem real. “Happiness” is what makes you happy. Satisfaction is what satisfies you. You don’t have to seek perfection, only what works. Sounds a lot easier than trying to move the tides, doesn’t it?
Be finicky about friends
Even when you’re positive and centered, glum declarations and caustic remarks from others can worm their way into your mind. So you might reconsider time spent with anyone who’s habitually negative. If a friendship doesn’t feel right, or the friend causes more drama than they give in support, simply bow out gracefully by not staying in touch – or by being very, very busy.
If you rock, why fight it? Marking your milestones impresses your mind with their importance. Buy yourself a gift – even a modest token – to honor what you’ve done. Plan a dinner with friends, or maybe have a small party. You don’t need to brag – or even mention what you’re celebrating if you’d rather not. But don’t overlook your accomplishments, or minimize their value.
It’s true that pessimists may be right sometimes. But so are optimists! And they get to be right and be happy – at the same time!
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