In times of distress, we find it easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of life. Right now, you may find yourself absorbed by the impacts of COVID-19 and social distancing.
I’d like you to take a second and ask yourself, “What are these negative thoughts doing for me?” Is it causing you to worry, stress, and become anxious? Is it preventing you from enjoying the present moment? Why do that to yourself? We all understand that this time is difficult, but as we have heard many times, this too shall pass.
Turn off the news, stop going on social media, and stop googling the most recent news related to the pandemic. Place trust in our medical professionals to take care of anyone affected by the virus.
Believe it or not, each and every one of us have the power to find joy in any scenario, even in the most difficult times. Let’s shift our focus to the positives. Every time I have a negative thought, I imagine a broom sweeping it out of my head. Then I take a deep breath in for 4 seconds. I imagine that breath being full of gold sparkles, which represent positivity and graciousness. I hold the breath for 7 seconds and imagine it filling my body from the crown of my head, to the tips of my toes. Finally, I breathe out for a total of 8 seconds, imagining the release of darkness and negativity from my body. The only thing that remains within my body is the wonderful sparkles.
This practice allows me to focus on the positives and remove any pessimistic thoughts in the present moment. Following the breathing exercise, I will actively flip any negative thoughts. Below are a few examples:
- Negative Thought: Working from home is nowhere near as effective as being in the office! Flip to a Positive: I am so grateful I have the opportunity to work from home, continue to earn money, while also keeping myself and others safe and healthy!
- Negative Thought: Online Classes are more work than going to class! Flip to a Positive: It’s amazing that technology allows students to continue to learn and grow as individuals. I am so lucky to be able to afford this laptop! Also, I still get to graduate on time by being able to attend class from home.
- Negative Thought: My family is driving me nuts! I can’t spend another minute with them! Flip to a Positive: I may never have this much time to spend with my family again. I should take advantage of it and find new things for us to try together! It could create one-of-a-kind memories.
- Negative Thought: My mental health is going to be in jeopardy. I need to socialize! Flip to a Positive: This is a great time to get self-centered with meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature. I have the opportunity to tend to my mental health rather than being a busy body at all times of the day
- Negative Thought: I’m not working! How am I ever going to pay my bills? Flip to a Positive: Thank goodness we have checks coming from the government, all student loan interest has been paused, and the unemployment amount has increased. Now I have time to focus on whether the job I currently have is what I want for the rest of my life.
Being able to focus on the positives helps you to rediscover your values and identify what truly matters in YOUR life. Practicing the exercise above trains your brain to think positively more often. It has been found to improve your quality of life by increasing happiness and decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.