I have a challenge for you. From today, from this minute, for the next seven days, you are to think only kind or positive thoughts.
The end of last year, I was on a two-weeks QI Gong retreat in New Zealand with a wonderful teacher Yuan Tze from the Yuan Tze Center. I do this annually, because during these retreats I always learn more about myself and this results in making positive changes to my life. This year the focus for me was becoming aware of my thinking.
I know that sounds odd as we all think we know what we are thinking all the time. But no! It was astonishing how often my thoughts (and I am a very positive person) were either unkind or not positive or judging in some way. It was actually scary!
It was a very useful exercise to notice just how I was thinking about everything and how my body was responding to those thoughts.
I made a decision to think only kind and positive thoughts from then on. My first task was to realize and catch myself when I was thinking anything. Then, I had to assess if it was a positive or negative thought. If my thoughts were negative, I had to consciously stop and choose a different statement.
If you have ever read any of Byron Katie's work, you would know she is brilliant at offering a formula to become aware of your thinking and realize it's impact on you and then allowing you to turn it around to make a much more true and accurate series of statements.
The first step is to become aware of your thoughts -- observe and assess them -- you may realize you are being controlled by a series of unconscious habitual patterns of thinking.
Observing your thoughts and making conscious decisions to think kind or positive thoughts can also change everything else around you. I tried it and it has made a significant difference in the most amazing ways! My relationship with my husband is quite different now. The interesting thing is, I have not felt like I have changed dramatically. I feel calmer although there have been a couple of family crises that have required long visits to hospitals. I seem to be doing more, yet it seems to take less effort. I catch myself before I am rushing, stressing or becoming angry and say to myself -- "Hm. Is that kind or positive?"
I am not sure if you have seen a YouTube clip called "First-World Problems?" It is brilliant!
This video is a spectacular way to put everything in life into perspective -- in seconds! I won't spoil it for you, but their survival kit for the first-world problems is a picture of a bridge, a straw and a full cup of water with a lid. Basically, they graphically show how ridiculous many of our complaints are. And they help us "get over it, suck it up and shut the full cup!"
Now I catch myself if I am complaining about anything and say. "Oops, first-world problem!" and then I focus on gratitude for not really having any real problems at all.
Both of the strategies above involve you being aware of your thinking and consciously choosing different stories to tell yourself.
Laugh at yourself and your first-world problems (e.g., the air con being too cold; having to carry groceries up the stairs; having to travel too much; thinking your apartment is ugly or being bored. These thoughts are neither kind or positive!
In Proverbs 23:7 it suggests that "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Your heart uses wisdom and discernment; it thinks only kind and positive thoughts (we know the heart has neurons in it). Our heads allow information, perceptions, judgments and negativity to rule the day.
Become conscious of the origin of your thinking; trust your "gut feel' and listen to your heart's wisdom. Then you will choose kind and positive thoughts!
Here is a slide show of some kind and positive thoughts you might like to focus on!
And the most important question to ask yourself before you speak and after you have a thought: Is this kind or positive?
Amanda Gore (www.amandagore.com) is an author, award-winning motivational speaker and joy facilitator! Her philosophy is that Joy is an Inside Job. Finding joy is the secret to more productive, creative, successful and happy humans - at work and home. Amanda is also the director of The Joy Project. To book Amanda for your event click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with Amanda on Facebook - Amanda Gore - Speaker page and The Joy Project page