When encountering a new situation, how we deal with it is a good indication of how we tend to think. Approaching it with negativity creates stress and that makes it even harder to navigate the situation as we now have to battle through the emotions of stress (anger, frustration, anxiety). Stress is generally an indication that we are overwhelmed and the root cause of it is usually the fear of not accomplishing something.
The emotion of fear is a very primitive response, an in-built survival mechanism also known as ‘the fight or flight’ response. This response was necessary for our survival when we lived off of nature and had to traverse the wilderness as part of day to day living, where the chances of facing life threatening situation as in an attack from a wild animal was quite high.
But now we live in the lap of comfort and luxury and these type of life threatening situations are not common. But still when faced with anything new our responses in most cases tends to be negative and in the end does not serve the larger purpose of bringing happiness, new possibilities, growth, sense of accomplishment etc. The primary reason for why we do what we do from the time we wake up till we sleep is to bring this sense of fulfillment and happiness.
Have you noticed how some people just thrive even in the midst of the most trying circumstances? Their response mechanism is different where in they find possibilities in every scenario. This is because the basic platform they operate from is one of joy and happiness. Yes, they might have a natural inclination towards being joyful, or they might have just worked themselves towards our existential nature – one of joyful, happiness and exuberance. This is our natural state of being. Feelings of anger and frustration moves us against our basic nature. That is where the struggle comes into play.
Our body and energy system are naturally working to keep up with the natural rhythm. We just need to tune our mind to the same rhythm. That means closely inspecting our thoughts and reactions and consciously changing them to one of “Possibility”. When we see possibilities even in the toughest of scenarios, stress levels reduce significantly, as we don’t feel stuck in the mud and begin to feel happy. Feeling of happiness takes away the fear making venturing and exploring new areas, building new skill-quite the norm rather than the exception. At that point living life becomes a fun and adventurous game.
“Research by Barbara Fredrickson a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina shows positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life. Fredrickson refers to this as the “broaden and build” theory”.
How can we use put the “broaden and build” theory into practice in our daily life? Here are few tips.
1) Schedule time for play in the routine. Playing any type of game makes us feel like a child – joyful and carefree.
2) Doing Yoga and Meditation even for 10 minutes removes the negativity, calms the mind, creates relaxation and natural state of happiness
3) Each day put some time aside for reflection about situations that you dealt with negatively or with a sense of hopelessness. Now see the situation with optimism and experience how you would have responded from that place of optimism and happiness. Bring that emotion in your daily life situations.
4) Writing about positive experiences on a regular basis also makes it tangible and repeatable. A 3 month experiment conducted on students who wrote their positive experience showed they had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses.
In addition to the above bring light and optimism in every situation by thinking along these lines.
A) Approaching something new – Think of it as an opportunity to learn and explore something (instead of don’t have time for it, or I don’t think I can do it)
B) Difficult problem – Let me looks at it from a different angle ( instead of – it is too difficult)
C) Don’t have time to do it – Let me reexamine my priorities to see if I can fit this in ( instead of I cannot fit it in)
D) It will not work – I can make it work ( instead of thinking from a impossibility standpoint).Think mission “I Am Possible”
E) Don’t get enough communication – Let me build better connections (instead of no-one thinks of letting me know)
F) I cannot improve – Let me give it a try (instead of I am not good at that sort of thing)
These a just a few examples of how to start thinking and feeling different when think you have reached a dead-end. Remember there are no dead-ends’ other than what you tell yourself. All of life is nothing but infinite possibility. Don’t believe it? Just look outside and see the innumerable creations of life and know that we are just a small smidgeon of the same creation, but with a tremendous capacity to tap into all of life itself. So, what are you waiting for? Life is waiting. Make a dash for it.
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