We all face challenges, some tougher than others. As humans we have a tendency to attempt a comparison between our own challenges and those of others; are other people’s challenges worse than ours? As much as we don’t like to admit it, there is comfort is knowing that you are facing less strife than another person, particularly when that person is a stranger. It can also be frustrating when you feel someone is oversharing with you and maybe expecting you to work a miracle for them.
However, we are pre-programmed to seek confirmation of our achievements both from ourselves, and from outward sources. So how can we make the most of our instinct to validate positivity?
On social media sites recently, there has been a “craze” of people listing positive things that have happened to them. This can include something as seemingly insignificant as “finally finished that book” or as major as “successfully secured our new house” and the list can be as long, short, regular or irregular as the person prefers. This is a fantastic idea, although is sadly open to ridicule if displayed on a public forum. Perhaps a small white board, scrap book or personal diary would be more appropriate for the more personal touch.
Set a challenge for yourself each day. Many people do this for objectives such as fitness or weight loss, but it is also a useful tool for encouraging positivity. One particular challenge is to go the entire day without voicing a negative comment: harder than it sounds but entirely worth the effort.
Share a challenge. If you successfully completed a challenge you set for yourself, challenge it to someone else. If you feel like going for something a little more social, work with a friend to decide on and share a challenge to be completed together.
Remember your strengths. When something becomes particularly difficult to handle, remember back to times in the past when you have had to be strong: when you have felt out of your depth but have successfully got through it.
Actively compartmentalise. Leave work at work, switch off your electronic / communication devices in plenty of time before you settle down to sleep and designate time to catch up with your partner / children / nearby ally. Modern life is invasive and demanding; there is seemingly no end to the benefits of switching off for a while. Emails are rarely in need of urgent attention (that colleague really can wait until office hours for an answer to their question) and modern smart phones generally have a function to hold all calls and texts unless they are from a specified list of numbers. Also, spending some quality time sharing with a loved one will not only take your mind off your own nagging thoughts but will also help you to bond.
If all else fails: nature is a wonderful thing. Trees are full of energy, yet don’t answer back and really don’t mind listening to your worries and stresses. You can find a tree or plant (whether that be outside or at home), have a good vent and then allow nature to re-fill your energy.
A positive mind is a clear and successful mind.