Have you noticed that when you are having a bad day that no matter what you do, everything seems to turn out a disaster or close to it? That everything you seem to touch or do just seems to go horribly wrong? That you seem to be the very embodiment of the phrase that ‘Bad things happens in threes’?
Why is that? There is a very simple explanation for it. For the majority of people, when something happens that does not work out to their expectations, it brings on feelings of negativity such as anxiety, stress, tension, overwhelm, frustration and depression. So when you are in that negative emotional state and you engage in something else, is it a surprise then that it results in another negative outcome?!
The irony is that it’s YOU or, more specifically, your negative mindset which creates the outcome that you don’t want so what this does is serve to affirm your belief that things are not working for you and a little voice inside of you says ‘I told you so!’ Which then reinforces the negativity you are feeling which then flows on to the next thing you do, and so the vicious cycle repeats itself!
So how can you break out of this whirlpool of negativity?
One of the key strategies that I share with my clients centres on FOCUS.
Specifically, shifting your focus. It’s not rocket science, I know. It’s a simple and extremely powerful technique which when applied consistently can change your world.
It is based on this very simple principle – WHAT YOU FOCUS ON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO YOUR STATE OF HAPPINESS.
Just to be clear, this is not some woo-woo feel-good coaching technique that I am sharing with you. It is based on science.
Have you heard of the Reticular Activated Vision? This is the portal through which nearly all information enters your brain. It acts as a gating mechanism to filter and screen out information and affects what you pay attention to. For example, think back to when you last bought a car. Once you decided the make, model and colour of the car that you wanted, did you notice that all of a sudden they were popping up everywhere you went? Why is that? Because you instructed your brain to pay attention to this and this is what it did.
So here’s TIP #1 –
- Be aware of what you are paying attention to or focusing on. If you are focusing on the opposite of what you want, then SHIFT your focus to WHAT YOU DO WANT!
This takes practice so don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t come easily to you during the first few attempts. Persevere as this exercise involves rewiring your brain which is a gradual process.
Here’s another example. Your Unconscious Mind does not process negatives. So when you ask someone to not think about a blue pen, what will immediately enter their mind? A blue pen, right?! What if instead you asked them to think about a green pen? They’ll think about a green pen!
So shift your focus to the outcomes that you do want and your mind will naturally start focusing on ways to achieve these outcomes.
TIP #2 –
- Practice daily gratitude. When you shift your mind to start thinking about what you have in your life that you are grateful for, what emotions are created within you as a result? Happiness, joy, contentment, and satisfaction which leads to a calmer and more relaxed state of mind. It’s the classic ‘Glass Half Empty or Half Full” approach.
To be effective, do this the first thing in the morning when you wake up to set the tone for the rest of the day, and also during more challenging moments to bring things back into perspective and ground you.
TIP #3 –
- Focus on calmness and peace. Because when you are in a state of calm and relative relaxation, your brain will be able process information more effectively, giving you a clearer perspective and enabling you to come up with creative solutions to your problem.
If you find it a challenge to bring yourself into a state of calm and peace, then do deep breathing exercises where you focus on drawing your breath in and out on an even count. This will help to bring your autonomic nervous system back into balance thereby allowing you to access a state of calm and relaxation more easily. Practice this regularly initially particularly when you are not in a negative state, as you want this to become natural and instinctive so that when the more challenging moments descend, you will be able to apply this easily and effortlessly in the moment.
As always, I would love to hear from you to let me know how you have found applying these techniques or if you have other strategies that have worked well for you.
Because the greater the collective wisdom we can muster, the more people we can help to heal and make positive life changes so that we can all move forward together!
All my best
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