January 2020, a new year, a new decade. I have always enjoyed the start of the new year. It feels like a do-over, a chance for new beginnings. Many people enjoy setting New Year’s resolutions; I stopped doing this because I never stuck to them. However, last year I took from yoga this idea of setting a mantra or intention for the year ahead. Last year, it was to “Be Still.” Although I was not always successful in fulfilling my mantra, it guided me.
For the new year, I have decided to set my intention as “Be Positive.”
Over the holidays, I spent time surrounded by people; I found that many of the conversations I had, centered around negativity and complaint. Upon reflecting on these conversations, I had a thought, why were the people I spoke with consistently going towards the negative? Sure, there are life events and situations that could cause a person to live in a negative frame of mind, but what we often forget is we have a choice in the matter. I had an epiphany, how often do I look at the negative instead of the positive? How often do I complain instead of expressing gratitude? I felt I do it enough to set an intention for the year, “Be Positive.”
I have come to the understanding that it is easier to be negative than to be positive. Just turn on the news, or go onto social media, it is flooded with negativity. I’ve noticed it in my everyday conversations with strangers; people tend to focus on the negative automatically. A question formed in my mind, how can you be positive in a cynical world?
- Look for an optimistic angle. If you are feeling negative about a situation, ask yourself what is the positive? Where is the opportunity? Today, I sit in Jury Duty. I was not happy when I received my summons, last night I dreaded having to report to my civic duty. I complained and whined. However, this morning I woke up and thought of my mantra for the year. How can I think positively about this experience? I am a stay-at-home mom. I spend my days hanging out with my son, Q, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of our house. I don’t like being away from Q, but a positive part of this experience is, I will have a whole day to myself. I have the opportunity to write this blog post, which has been floating around in my head, and I haven’t had time to write it out. I am grateful for that.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Q brings a lot of positivity to my life. It is difficult to feel cynical about much of anything when you hear a full belly laugh of a child. However, I find that if I spend time on social media, reading the news, or around negative people, I start to feel that way myself. Therefore, cultivating a positive environment is essential. Limiting my time on social media and how much daily news I choose to intake is necessary. Also, surrounding myself with positive people.
- Slow down. Last night, I was flustered making dinner, getting Q’s portion cut up properly, and trying to keep my dog Alvin from getting at the food. I was moving quickly, and my husband, Bernard, asked me to pause and take a breath. Taking that cleansing breath allowed me a second to reset. When we are moving a mile a minute, stress can contribute to a pessimistic frame-of-mind. But, taking a moment to slow down helps to refocus and think more clearly.
- Acknowledge and show gratitude. Tell others, thank you. Write down each day, everything of which you are thankful. I find that praying and thanking God for my blessings is grounding.
- Give yourself positive affirmations. Thinking pessimistic thoughts about yourself can be debilitating and contribute to a negative frame-of-mind. Each day, try to say one positive thing about yourself. Write it down, put it somewhere you can see it and read it. Most importantly, believe it.
- Take care of yourself. If you do not eat proper meals, get a good night’s sleep, and exercise, these can all be attributed to issues within your life. Taking care of your basic human needs can improve your experience and well-being.
- Be positive with others. It is said that if you treat others the way you want to be treated, and put out positive vibes, it will cycle back to you. I find that many people do not clearly see themselves; they are bogged down by their pessimistic thoughts. Making someone else feel good by complimenting them, and showing appreciation and gratitude, has a way of making you feel good as well.
We can change our mindsets. We can choose to be more positive. It is not always easy, but it is possible. So, for 2020, my mantra that I will be repeating daily is to “Be Positive.”
What is your 2020 mantra?
Happy New Year,