Often the news on TV seems relentlessly filled with only bad news. We hear about wars, natural disasters and missing children. Our minds start to focus on the negative things that happen and the problems we encounter each day. We’ve fallen into negative thinking.
It might be time for an attitude adjustment. No one wants to be around someone who is always negative. Here’s how to shift into a mode of more positive thinking.
You have probably seen the suggestion to keep a gratitude journal. The idea involves recording in it the little and big things that you appreciate. It sounds like a wonderful way to shift focus away from the negative things that drag down your spirits. Instead of thinking about all the problems that threaten to overwhelm you, take a few minutes each day to think of good things.
It’s easy to get started. Just buy a nice looking blank book or bound diary. You may even have a notebook already that would suit the purpose. Put the gratitude journal someplace where you will see it every day. Now all you need to do is use it every day. Just sit down with the blank page in front of you and start thinking.
We take so many things for granted, and get into the habit of being critical and complaining. At first it might be hard to think of something in a grateful way. Maybe there are bills to pay, too many meetings to attend and a difficult person to handle. Sometimes our thinking gets stuck in negative mode and it all seems a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry as it can be changed. Shift your thinking for just a moment. I could be glad that I’m able to hold down a job so I can pay my bills. I could appreciate that my opinions count for something and that groups want me at their meetings. I could be thankful that over the years I’ve learned to respond calmly to upset people. These are the same situations, but different thinking.
Filling in the pages of the gratitude journal would force us to start thinking beyond the big things in our lives. We would get beyond the obvious things, such as being grateful for a comfortable home or a caring spouse. Finding some things to note down every day would expand our view. It would force us to really look around at the smaller things that make up our lives. Let’s try it out, by looking around right this minute at all that surrounds us. Here are some examples from my own experience. I’m grateful for: Living in a climate where I can be active outside in winter. Having more books to read than I’ll ever have time for. Getting good enough at golf that I’m no longer embarrassed to play. Having a computer literate family so we can keep in touch by email. This starts to get addictive. After you write down a couple, your mind brings up more and more. That’s the beauty of keeping a gratitude journal. Making the effort to think in a grateful mode and to record those thoughts is a great habit to develop.
Keep in mind that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Set a goal for yourself to write faithfully in the gratitude journal for the next 21 days. It’s a habit that will shift you into positive thinking and away from negativity. Probably one should get a good-sized notebook before starting to write a gratitude list. Once the mind shifts into gratitude mode, it might be hard to stop.