"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change" - Wayne Dyer
It has been becoming more and more prominent to me that external things do not have control over our moods; what goes on internally is really what makes the difference. A big part of working through my ptsd/depression has been learning about changing negative thoughts into more positive thoughts, but it actually wasn't until yesterday that I realized just how much of an impact it can have on ones life. This isn't just something that we need to practice doing in order to get through something difficult like mental illness, this is something that we all need to practice in our daily lives.
Too often, external occurrences are categorized as either negative or positive and that contributes to the emotions that we feel. In reality, the things that go on in our lives are neither bad nor good; they are simply what we choose to define them as. Hold on to that thought for a second...maybe even reread it a couple of times. Knowing this or looking at it in this way gives you the power to change your own life.
I like to think of myself as a naturally positive person... but it is most definitely not 100% of the time. When I catch myself with negative thoughts, I make sure that I try my hardest to turn them into something more positive. When I am successful, life is so much better. Even the littlest things throughout the day can become easier. It's definitely not easy at first, but with practice it's more automatic and makes a huge difference.
An example that comes to mind happened last month when I was walking home from school. According to Google Maps, the walk is about 3km and when the bell rang for the end of the day I looked outside to see rain absolutely pouring down from the dark grey clouds. At first I was flooded with a feeling of dread as I glanced out the window, felt the weight of the books filling my bag, realized I had only brought a thin sweater, and remembered I wasn't wearing my most waterproof pair of shoes. It had been a busy day and I was exhausted. My home seemed so distant.
But when I arrived home, the dread that I had been feeling was long forgotten and already replaced with a peaceful happiness. Yes, I'm serious: I felt peaceful and happy after walking 3km in the downpour of rain, with wet feet, a heavy bag, and not the best choice of sweaters.
Walking away from the school, I was thankful that I at least remembered to bring my umbrella, and got over the dread pretty quickly. When I was nearly home, my shoes were literally filled with water, causing them to squeak with every step. Then suddenly it began raining probably more than I have ever seen here. I can't even promise that it was actually rain - I may have stepped into a waterfall that had been randomly placed over the sidewalk - but rain seems more likely. The water poured over the sides of my small umbrella and drenched me even more. My pace slowed and a smile spread across my face. It just seemed beautiful; water everywhere, drops bouncing off the puddles on the ground, and the loud fast tapping that surrounded me. Still smiling, I thought to myself, it's all good.
This example is so simple, yet the thoughts behind it are so huge. Imagine if everyone practiced looking at everything in their life differently. We would change our own lives. Of course this isn't the only skill that you can use to improve your life, but it's an important one to practice.
I could go on about this forever...but now I would love to hear from you! Have you tried this? How has it changed your life? Do you plan on practicing this more often? Please feel free to share anything you wish.
Hope you've had a lovely day! I'm quite enjoying my 50 day challenge.