Positivity or having happy thoughts or a positive outlook on life has gotten a lot of attention over the past few years. We are now much more aware of how our minds work and what effect that has on our bodies and personal experience. This is a good thing. However there is also a concern re: the understanding of positivity. Simply resolving to have happy thoughts does little to truly change anything and can often run right into a “spiritual bypass“. Having a happy state of mind that runs deeper than an attempt to manhandle your thoughts is achievable and worth cultivating but it takes an approach that takes how our bodyminds truly function into account..
Beyond Positivity: New Year Resolutions and Change
Underlying all our New Year’s Resolutions and attempts at change is the desire to feel better…to be happy and healthy. Our minds and how we use them have a lot to do with those goals/desires. Here are some thoughts that may help to support whatever changes you would like to bring into your life.
Happiness is a physiological state and not just a manufactured posture of happy thoughts.
Underlying our bodymind functions whether it is physical health or how we think and feel is the condition of our energy —-it’s quantity, quality and flow has a lot to do with how you feel mentally, physically or emotionally. For instance, if your kidney chi is low you may be prone to feeling fear and no amount of mental gymnastics are going to permanently quiet that feeling. We have to speak to our bodymind in a language that takes its inner working into account. Fortunately most methods that help with this are pleasant to use.
Research Shows Us How to Truly Develop Positivity
Heart and Brain research is showing us a lot about the underpinnings of what we experience within when we are happy. Even better news from this research is that we can create that state (happiness) through the choices in our daily lives. A huge influence is how we use our mind and influence our energy! Meditation has been shown to have a profound effect on how our brains function and effect our mental and emotional states. .
Heart research has shown that when we create coherent heart rhythms our brains functions better and our overall energy is enhanced.
When we expand our energy and build it we feel good. When we contract our energy we feel bad. We can learn to do this consciously VS letting default patterns run.
On one level this seems all so simple. However we do need to learn new methods and often we need to be able to erase old patterns of fear, doubt and negativity that bring us down.
There are many ways to influence our energy, but one major and important way is through mind mastery…being in charge of how our mind focuses rather than letting it run in default patterns that do us no good. Thoughts can and do trigger feelings and those feelings exist as chemistry in the body. It is also true that feeling states can be the origin of negative thoughts. Our physiological health can contribute to both!spawn further similar thoughts.
Shifting into Positibity: Go gently, treat yourself kindly
The things that we habitually think about, believe and feel either expand or contract our energy. The environments we choose to spend time in can do the same.
An easy way to focus on building healthy strong energy that will help you to feel happier is simply to notice what thoughts make you feel good and which ones bring you down. Make a commitment to yourself to GENTLY choose to shift your thought patterns once you notice that you are drifting down old familiar paths that weaken your energy.
No blame or judgment–we all do it—it is simply a matter of deciding to shift your direction to choices that bring you toward mastery and away from the place where you feel buffeted about by life and at the mercy of outer circumstance. In addition to noticing and shifting we also can dive a bit deeper to route out the root of those thoughts and feelings that cause us distress…this has more long lasting effects than the constant attempt to reign in rogue thoughts. Energetic approaches are particularly helpful in doing this.
To paraphrase Victor Frankel: no one can control or dictate how we use our minds. No one else but you gets to determine the inner emotional climate that you maintain. That is a fundamental freedom that no one can tamper with! We have many choices in every moment but we need to bring a full tool kit to that moment in order to really develop a state of mind/body that reflects positivity.