“I must not be trying hard enough.”
“There is something intrinsically wrong with me. Why can’t I be happy? No matter what, something always seems to be missing.”
You have known it for a long time, and you keep reminding yourself of it, the fear of being an utter pessimist.
People keep telling you, ‘Try to look at the positive side of things’, but you have no idea how to how to do that when you aren’t feeling positive… Well, you know… it’s always easier said than done.
You wish, watching an endless number of motivational videos should have done the trick, but they don’t seem to REALLY work.
You are thinking of being part of the cool pack in your office and amongst your friends will make a difference. But you never seem to go too close, you’re scared, they will see through you — the unconfident, unhappy you.
It seems you have made your peace with the fact that life is not fair after all and we are not equally blessed. You may be destined to be like this.
Well… what if I told you it’s not your mistake and that its time to stop beating yourself up about it. That whatever people have been suggesting to you till now was wrong and that you could flip this problem on its head by following some simple techniques.
Here we go.
Stop killing yourself over it, it’s not your fault
Would you ever think negative, on purpose?
You always have a reason, a logic, a past experience, a voice inside you, telling you this is not going to work.
We have to understand ‘why’ you think it is not going to work, negative thinking is just the end result.
Reason #1: It may be your genes, not you
We all are born different.
Modern science calls it genetics, ancient Yogic science calls it Prakriti.
Whatever you believe in, because of your unique genetic makeup or your Prakriti, your response to a certain situation can be entirely different from the other person — even your closest friend or your own brothers and sisters.
These genetic codes or Prakriti imprints do carry the physical as well as psychological patterns of not just your parents but multiple generations before them. So sometimes, the way you think or behave is because you are literally wired that way.
Does that mean, it cannot be changed? Absolutely not. Read on to learn more
Reason #2: It might have been imposed on you
Families and societies bring their good and bad to an individual. Unarguably, right and wrong upbringing can make the difference of a day and night to your personality. So it could have been imposed on you by parents who were –
- Overly critical or overly possessive
- Not there when you won that basketball game
- Constantly fighting with each other
- Burdened you with their dreams or their emotions…
We have to realize parents are people who are still evolving, just like us. They are giving you the best they have, but they can only give you what they have.
Given the lack of discernment in a child, even the most casual honest mistakes made by parents can leave negative impressions on his mind.
Our society — the people around us, our friends, teachers, media and their collective beliefs can either make this simpler or more complicated for us –
Did they tell you?
- If you aren’t getting good grades, you aren’t paying attention
- Something is essentially wrong with your personality if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend
- You are a bore if you aren’t partying every weekend
- If the sizes in Zara don’t fit you, you aren’t normal
- You have not made it in life, if you aren’t vacationing in Europe
And so on and so forth.
I haven’t even touched upon cases of trauma, domestic violence, poverty, religious belief systems, physical disability, etc.
We are the results of this — conflicted individuals who are utterly confused about their self-image. Simply because the image we have is not ours in the first place — it is borrowed, at every step in our life.
Every doubt, every negative thought that you have in your head, is a result of this faulty self-image. Utter lack of self-love.
Forget about love, we don’t even KNOW ourselves.
So, please do me a favor as the first solution to this problem, stop beating yourself over it.
How you are born and brought up, is what makes who you are, until you are made AWARE.
Because here’s what you might not know.
What the experts haven’t told you about positive thinking
Not that it’s a mistake, most experts don’t even know what I am going to tell you here.
Feeling down? Thinking negative?
Place your palm below your nose and exhale on it to check your breath. Most certainly, it shall be a little or a lot obstructed from the right. Alternatively, close one nostril and breathe from the other, you will see the difference in breathing, hence becoming aware of the blockage in the right.
In all human beings, breathing through one of the two nostrils is dominant at any given time. It also keeps changing at stipulated intervals.
In a perfectly healthy and balanced person (the rare type or real Yogis), both the nostrils are unobstructed and breathing properly, the shift interval being very regular. And in an unhealthy or imbalanced body or mind, these intervals have gone erratic.
People who are pessimistic or negative thinkers are mostly breathing from their left nostril, the right one being obstructed or submissive. It also happens vice-versa, being too emotional or feeling low and any other kind of negative emotions can cause the right nostril to obstruct. Often, it is the former.
There is only one fool-proof most certain way of correcting this — alternate nostril breathing or ‘Anulom Vilom’ Pranayam. It is a breathing exercise, of which one of the main functions is to balance the activity of both the brains, hence resulting in a harmony of mind and personality.
Before practicing Anulom Vilom, it is always better to clear your sinuses or relieve stuffed nose. Anulom Vilom shall do that for you itself but gradually. To expedite the effect, it is best to have a clear nose.
Now that you’ve learned the practice that can even alter the science behind negative thinking, let us make this change everlasting.
The magic tool that can turn you into an optimist in 24 hours flat
Talking to yourself?
We all do.
Have you ever noticed though, what kind of self-talking are you doing? Because it did change my life!
Given your interest in this article, chances are you are talking negative to yourself, almost all the time.
Becoming aware of this self-talk is the first and the most important step in you becoming a positive person.
Because of all that happens to us — during the whole ‘how we are born and brought up’ process described earlier — we develop the most fatal habit of all!
We self-talk ourselves into failure.
Time for Magic. Spend the next 24 hours as follows and you are an optimist.
- As soon as you get up, become aware of the first few thoughts that came to your mind, note them down.
- Go to a Gym, a Yoga class or any other physical practice that you like. Go through the practice in silence, without music or talking to anybody.
- Wrap this up with a 21-minute session of breathing exercises. 10 minutes of alternate nostril breathing. 11 minutes of silence. In both cases, close your eyes and concentrate on the sound of your breath — the sound of inhalation and exhalation. Don’t fight the thoughts, see what they are, try to concentrate on the breath again. Make notes at the end of the session.
- As you get into your normal routine, be aware of your self-talk. Each time you tell yourself something negative, say exactly the opposite immediately.
- Just before going to sleep, sit down and write what you observed the whole day happening to you in your mind. In the end, write down at least 9–18 positive things about yourself.
- BAM! It’s a new morning and you are an optimist. See the change in the first thoughts that come to your mind when you get up.
Keep practicing positive self-talk and better yet, this entire routine.
Thinking Negative? it’s okay.
Let me make you aware of the biggest pitfall people fall in while striving for positivity.
It is not a permanent state.
Can you imagine being with a person who is upbeat all the time, helping you to see a silver lining in everything… Well, I have been with only one in my life, and believe you me, it was annoying as hell. Because there is something called acknowledging the reality of the situation, and that has to be present, at all times.
While being positive, you have to assess situations, make decisions and even take risks, but calculated. Every success story had careful planning behind it, there is always a method to the madness.
So being positive does not mean you close your eyes towards the unpleasant and the unlikely. It means knowing your strengths and weaknesses both — accepting them both in yourself and in others and lead a life of conscious choice.
Life is dynamic and so are our mental states. Being negative sometimes is normal.
So, if you find yourself going down the path of negative thinking sometimes, don’t pull immediately back. Look into the why of the situation, is there something you need to change? Give careful thought and then move on.
Do whatever you have to, and let this dynamism grow you into a more aware person.
Here’s to the new YOU
You have finally broken the cycle.
Oozing with positivity, you are standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world.
Ah! How fantastic it is to feel like a winner.
Friends and colleagues are wondering about the magical change in your personality and asking you to reveal your secret. Many think you are in love and so you are, with yourself.
Not only are you taking the world head-on, you almost buzz with excitement when you can find someone you can help with, with your new-found knowledge.
BE all of the above, by following through this carefully drafted plan –
- Correct erratic breathing
- Turn all negative self-talk into positive
- Don’t try too hard to be positive
- Practice self-love. Every moment.
See you on the other side of the rainbow.
Roli Jain is a Hatha Yoga Coach and Therapist. After quitting her job, she transformed her own average life into a dream she wanted to live. Now she helps people achieve their optimum physical and mental health inspiring them to live their dreams. Download her ‘Morning hacks to live your Dream Life Now’. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Matthew Henry.