Last night I spent a little bit of time scrolling through my newsfeed and I saw a lot of things that made me smile. One of my friends paid off $92k in debt, another finished her goal to read 100 books in 2019. So much to be thankful for, and I couldn’t help but feel so happy for them. Joy can be contagious and I love when I catch it.
I also came across a post where someone was upset about a popular book being picked as a popular book for 2019. I hadn’t read the book. It’s one of those titles I’d heard thrown around a bunch, but I wouldn’t have known if it had come out last year, or three years ago. Overall I thought that it was a hit, so I was a little surprised to see so many people jumping in the comments dogging on it, and the author.
While there’s nothing wrong with disliking a book, or a popular fad, I was impressed with the ferocity of some of the responses. I’m talking long paragraphs, and some serious dislike.
One brave soul piped up to say she actually liked the book, and I had a brief moment where I was concerned for her internet safety. She wasn’t defending the author’s questionable ethics, or the tone that apparently didn’t sit well with this crowd–But just sharing how the book got her out of a bad place in life, and she’s thankful for that. I responded to her, noting my fascination for how we can all read or see the same thing but get different things out of it. Others on the thread went on about how bad the author is and how she copied other authors. I couldn’t respond to that with any sort of opinion–I hadn’t read the book. But I did ask if they had recommendations of other books that maybe were similar, or that said-author had stolen from (because I’d rather read the original).
Noone had other suggestions for me, but recommendations of threads to read with more detailed descriptions of the authors fallacies. I started to go and search for those threads, ready to get all riled up with the rest of them. But then I caught myself. Why was I about to spend my time down a rabbit hole reading more about a book I probably wasn’t going to read? Wouldn’t it be better for me to, I don’t know, read something I actually liked?
Then another thought came to me… What if we spent less energy on negativity? Sure, a good vent every now and then is good for the soul, goodness knows I have them. But a considerable amount of time thinking about a person, movie or book you DON’T like. And arguing on why others also, should also not like this thing that you don’t like.–All of that energy pouring into something that’s literally draining the light and joy from you. It seems a little silly. I’m not saying that’s what people on this thread in particular were doing. But I was ready to. But how would that have helped me? What good would it have brought me?
And let’s really think about it. When was the last time someone you knew who was constantly complaining or throwing out negativity was really winning at life? I’ll wait.
So I say in 2020 I’m going to make it a point to spend less time focusing on things that bring me down. And more energy on things that lift me up. Less time focusing on things I can’t change, and more time putting in the work for things I can. Less time trying to change minds, and more time changing hearts. Which I think can be done one compassionate conversation at a time.
Having a more positive mindset isn’t for everyone (actually, I think it is, but not everyone wants to) and that’s ok. But whether this is something you’re struggling with and want to get better at; Or something you’re already good at, but want to do better; I think this has the potential to change the course of your year.
I hope you’ll join me. And I’ll even share some positive thinking exercises if you’re not sure where to start.
Here are 5 positive thinking exercises to help you get going
Set 5 minutes a day aside to sit in silence and focus on your breathing. This will give your mind a much-needed reset. Any time a thought pops into your mind, release it and go back to your breathing. I really like using the free app Insight timer. This is one of those things I know I should be doing but don’t always do. But when I do, I realize what I’ve been missing.
2. Start a gratitude jar (or journal)
Every day may not be a good day, but there is good in every day. Take a few moments to jot down at least one thing that was good about today. The fact that you woke up could be one. The fresh air you have to breathe, fresh water to drink. Those are some things you can start with. You can put them in a gratitude journal you keep by the bed and jot in at night, or slip them into a gratitude jar. This is a fun one to include the whole family in.
3. Make a vision board
This isn’t necessarily a way to bring positivity to your day, but a way to bring some to your future. Focusing and visualizing on the great things coming your way. Not sure how to make one? Read my vision board tutorial.
4. Read a motivational book
If you aren’t sure where to start, pick a biography of someone you admire. I loved Becoming by Michelle Obama. A few other book recommendations that were a breath of fresh air for me: *Big Magic, You Are a Badass, The Year of Yes. I’ll come back here and add more to the list as I remember them.
5. Surround yourself with people who lift you up
Who you spend the most time with can greatly influence your attitude. Take inventory of your friends, coworkers you interact with, and who you follow online. What relationships could you spend more or less time on, for a more positive atmosphere? If you’re looking for a good source of motivational juju check out Ok Dani’s Lifestyle ReDesign Lounge. There’s a lot of great tips there on mindset and taking action to get what you want out of life.
Something positive thinking exercises I’m personally working on this year is not shying away from sharing my optimism. Last year I felt like I needed to hide that away a little because it wasn’t popular. But this year I’m going to be more comfortable being myself and remembering that it’s ok if I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. This doesn’t mean I’m a happy and peppy cheerleader 24/7. Because I’m not. I do tend to focus on things that bring me joy, and ways I can change things that don’t. And this year I’m going to own that.
*This post includes referral links. If you click them and happen to make a purchase I may receive a small commission for my referral.