High Heels and Training Wheels: Turn a Negative into a Positive: The Secret to A Happier You



Turn a Negative into a Positive: The Secret to A Happier You

I wake up in the morning ready to carpe the sheet out of the diem. I start everyday this way. It's a new day, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and there are endless possibilities. I can make this day my biatch! So, wait, what happened? Why don't I feel ready to take on the world? In fact, I never do. My mind is always plagued with worry and all of my "problems" are always circling around in my head. The damn diem never gets carped! But, why?
how positive affirmations can change your life
 The last year has been a whirlwind for me. It started when my grandma passed away and seemed to snowball from there. My relationships, friendships, marriage, state of mind and even my blog started to slip. Nothing was ever going to be right again after she left so why even bother? I made an effort to put on a pretty face for the rest of the world because that's what was expected but inside I always felt like a big ball of negativity. And well, negativity breeds negativity. Maybe the rest of the world bought my happy exterior (maybe they didn't) but the universe seemed to knew better and the hits just kept on coming.

I felt like every step I took forward, I got shoved two (or twelve) steps back. I kept wondering how I was ever going to get ahead like this. How am I supposed to think positive when negative things keep happening?? And how am I supposed to be productive and solve these problems when I can't get my head out of this downward spiral? But then I thought, maybe my negative thoughts were having an effect on the negative happenings too. Could I be perpetuating this cycle? Maybe I could control some of this. Some times bad things just happen and there's nothing we can do to change them; the death of a loved one isn't something we can change and it's definitely something you can make yourself crazy with. All of those "what ifs" can be toxic. Those thoughts can majorly effect our mental state; I know this personally. But what about that snowball effect? Does it have to happen that way? Does one bad happening have to spawn a continuous series of bad happenings? Maybe we don't have to be completely out of control on how these things effect us. And, heck, maybe we can even encourage good things to happen too! So, I went out on a (skeptical) limb and found some really surprising results!

So what did I do? What's the secret? How did I turn these negatives into positives? It's going to sound cheesy but stick with me...

i am in charge of how i feel and today i am choosing happiness
The "secret"

Positive affirmations. Yeah, as in simply telling myself positive things. Ok, don't bail on me yet! I'm serious! What kind of positive affirmations? Well, that depends on what kind of negative things you've already got going on. For me (without getting too personal), it was things like "You are good enough", "You can accomplish anything", "You are strong", "You are brave", etc. You want to choose whatever your greatest fears or worries are and essentially flip them. Nothing is too silly either. I even started out with simply saying "Positive affirmations can and will work for me". I also started out saying these things in my head before I built up to saying them out loud. I felt silly. Even if no one else heard me, just hearing myself say them out loud made me feel embarrassed. I felt embarrassed that I was giving a voice to some of my insecurities. If I said them aloud, then I had to admit these were things that really bothered me. That was part of it's effectiveness though; after realizing that some of my anxieties were silly and it was silly to worry about them, I was able to overcome them. Other things though, I realized how dark they were and how much control they had over me. But by admitting them, you can conquer them. 

progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything

How do positive affirmations work?

Now this isn't something that's going to act like a magic wand and flip the switch overnight. Not even a couple of nights. This is something that requires dedication and repetition. Lots of it. You essentially need to tell yourself these things until you believe them. Simply saying them won't change you but it can change your attitude...if you want it to. You have to be open to the change. You have to believe the change can happen. However, not believing them right away doesn't mean they can't still change your attitude. I obviously didn't believe I was "brave" in the beginning, otherwise I wouldn't need to tell myself I was, but repetition was key. I promise you the mind is a very powerful thing and the energy you send out most definitely effects the energy you get back. 

if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always be lovely

So how do I start? Where do I begin? 

The first thing I did was write my affirmations down on paper. This way I could organize my thoughts and keep track of them. And also, because saying them out loud was so intimidating at first, it was a great way to ease into it. Writing the affirmations helped me to visualize them as well. Seeing them on paper had more of an impact than you would think! Take a quiet moment for yourself to actually think about what you need to hear and scribble it down. This could be an evening out on the back porch, before the kids wake up over your morning coffee, whenever your mind feels most clear and you can actually think about it. At the same time though, you should write down whatever crosses your mind. You're writing on paper, not stone! This is supposed to be relaxing, not stressful.

When should I say my affirmations? How often?

I began this by "scheduling" this into my existing daily routine. That might sound like work but it really wasn't. The reason I "scheduled" this was just so I wouldn't forget to do it but once you've listed your affirmations, you can say them without taking up any extra time. For instance, I do it when I am in the shower. You're just standing there alone thinking about things anyway, why not think positive things? By doing it at the same time every day, it eventually turned into a routine and I was doing it naturally without having to remind myself. Now, you don't want it to become to habitual though because then it will just be an automated white noise. You want the act of saying your affirmations to become second nature, but you don't want the affirmations themselves to become rehearsed. I kept this from happening by switching up the order that I said them, occasionally bringing in new affirmations (in with the new, out with the old), sometimes just changing the inflection and tone in which I said them, and even just writing them down again. 

How long is it going to take for this to make an impact? 

Well, that is different for everyone. How skeptical are you? How negative are your thoughts? Do you put in any real effort or do you "cheat"? You're going to get out what you put in. For me, as a huge skeptic with very negative thoughts, it took me quite a while to notice a difference. It was a very gradual change and it wasn't like a switch. It just sort of became a new normal. It wasn't like I just woke up one morning with this different state of mind, it was more like I woke up one morning and looked back and saw how things had subtly changed over a period of time. Some people, my sister for instance, are very in touch with "mind over matter". I was not. But even for me, it has made an invaluable difference. Undesirable things will always happen and you can't change that, it's part of life, all you can change is how you handle them. But that can make all the difference. YOU can bring positivity into your OWN life. The grass will be just a little greener, the sky a little bluer and you will be a happier you.

This wasn't meant as a tutorial, I am not trying to sell you on something. I just lived too long in such a negative, unhappy state of mind and when I found something so simple that helped me, I wanted to share. I have been in that dark place and I have felt trapped in my own mind; I know what this feels like. It's depressing and toxic and scary and if I could, in any way, help someone not feel like that, then that's amazing. I promise it's not just a bunch of hippie hullabaloo, it can actually work! Just give it a try, there is literally nothing to lose!

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