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9 Great Ways to Live a More Positive Life

Written By: Jodi on May 31, 2007 No Comment

Is it just me, or is it hard to be positive a lot of the time? My life is pretty good, everybody is healthy, we’re provided for, and I’m doing what I always wanted to do (be a mom and a teacher). Yet it seems like little things have a way of getting under my skin and making me more irritated and negative than is really warranted.

I just found this post today and thought it would be a good thing to share – you know, just in case anybody else out there has this little problem from time to time. And I know you’re out there…I do tech support for the site, remember? I get the emails and see the complaints. Most of them are completely valid, but once in awhile I do come across someone who could probably benefit from contemplating the following. I also need to work with a certain child in my home who has a generally negative/anxious view of life – I think this makes a good outline for some of what I need to teach him.

I’ll give you the bullet points from the other site along with some thoughts of my own on each one. You may want to go read the original post at the Ririan Project blog. They expand on each point in a different way and have some other interesting things to read there. It is not a Christian blog as far as I can tell, but I think a lot of it is adaptable to those of faith. A lot of the things I’ve seen there are things I’ve learned myself as I’ve recovered from anxiety and depression and also gone through Christ-Life Solution. So I think it’s good stuff, for the most part.

On to the list!

  1. Appreciate as much as you can.
    Who more than we, that are home with our children all day, are in a position to truly appreciate all the little moments in life? We have so many chances to appreciate the gifts we are given, the opportunities we have in educating our children, the time we are able to spend enriching lives and truly knowing our little legacies. To be able to do all of this at all is something to be appreciated every day, even when the day hasn’t gone totally to plan.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
    I don’t know that there is a group of people who are more inclined to do this than homeschooling moms! We compare ourselves to other moms, our kids to other kids, our families to other families, and how well we educate our children compared to how we perceive others are doing. Well, stop it! You will either wind up making negative judgments on yourself or on others. It’s a no-win situation. Realize and appreciate your differences (see point #1).
  3. Realize that it is possible to choose how you react.
    I’m a control freak. Well, a recovering control freak. I am doing much better. What has helped me to loosen my grip on everything going on around me? Some words of wisdom from a counselor: You cannot control Others or Outcomes. You can only control your own actions and reactions toward them. Very basic but very true. It is a waste of time to try to control others or outcomes, you simply do not have that power. Instead, focus on your own reaction and spend that energy working toward a more healthy perspective. Things are rarely made better by over-reacting, but often are improved by under-reacting. Try it and see!
  4. Educate yourself.
    I’m sure homeschooling moms do not need to be told the value of this. I think we learn more than our kids do as we educate them! If something is bothering you and making you think negatively, educate yourself about it. Look for a solution or a way to improve the situation. Or just learn about something you’re interested in. This can make you feel so much better about yourself and is a great example for your kids! The best way to transmit a love for learning to your kids is to model it.
  5. Act as if.
    I’ve been told this before and I’ve had a bit of a problem with it. I’m an extremely honest person, so I have had issues with what I have seen as ‘lying’ through my actions about how I really feel. However, I am learning the value of “acting as if”. Having a horrible day? What if you acted as if it was a wonderful day and put a smile on your face? Having trouble loving a particular child as much as you’d like to in a difficult moment? What if you acted as if you loved them more than ever? I have come to the realization that this is not a lie – it’s a change in mindset. I am choosing how I will react (see #3 above). Most of the time, if you ‘act as if’, you actually do begin to feel the way you are acting! So act how you would like to feel and your outlook will almost always brighten.
  6. Live in the now.
    As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we only have the present moment. The past is gone and the details of the future are unknown to us. Be in the moment. Put your energy into right now so that you can live it fully, rather than wasting precious time and thought on times that cannot be changed or predicted. Don’t worry about how your kids will turn out, instead be HERE, NOW and be engaged in what is happening around you. Another thing I’ve been taught is to take some time to just sit and ‘be’. Notice all the little things around you and focus on them. Notice the color of the walls, the sound of the birds chirping, the temperature of the air, the texture of the chair you’re sitting in. Center yourself in the here and now, which is the only place you can really live.
  7. Do some mental rehearsal.
    This almost seems to contradict the previous point, but it does have its place. This is not imagining future events and letting them take on a life of their own. This is a matter of playing out in your mind situations that you are going into in a positive way. Rather than thinking, “What if I trip and fall on my way into the room?”, visualize yourself entering gracefully with a smile on your face. Visualize a positive experience. See it going well in your imagination and prepare yourself this way. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. Don’t let any garbage into your plans – plan to succeed.
  8. Redefine failure.
    Oh, how we dread failure! And as homeschooling moms, we are constantly battling that fear. We are afraid to buy the wrong curriculum or that we’ll miss teaching our children something they need. Instead of seeing these situations as a failure, what if we see them as learning experiences? We now know that type of curriculum doesn’t work well for us, so we avoid it in the future. We find that our children really do need to learn about a certain subject, so we go back and teach it – and are ready for the next child, too. Failure is subjective. You can decide if you see a situation as a failure or not. Turn that negativity around and see it as a positive.
  9. Focus on what you want, not on what you don´t want.
    This is a hard one for me, but it is so true! We just discussed this in my Christ-Life class. If you focus on the negative, that is where you will go. You need to keep your eye on the target, not on all the areas you don’t want to hit! My instructor gave this example. He was on a bike ride with his young daughter and she was riding behind him. He noticed a big hole in the pavement and directed his daughter’s attention to it, telling her to be careful not to hit it. She then focused on the hole so much, that like a magnet she was pulled right into it! Here’s another example. What if for some insane reason, I decided to give up eating chocolate. (Gasp!) How much success am I going to have if I think, “I’m kind of hungry and chocolate sounds so good. But I can’t eat any chocolate. No chocolate for me. No matter what, do NOT go to the cupboard and get out that chocolate you know is in there on the second shelf in the silver bag. I really shouldn’t eat even one Hershey’s Kiss. Nope, I won’t eat any chocolate. I sure am hungry…for chocolate…” How long will it be before I’m standing there with my hand in the candy bag? I am actually driving myself to do the one thing I’m trying NOT to do. If I instead think, “I’m kind of hungry, I think I’ll go find a healthy snack. An apple sounds good and I could use some more fruit today”, what are the chances I’ll be making a detour to the chocolate? Much less than with my first inner conversation! Make positive goals to strive for rather than focusing on what you don’t want to do. Remember what we have learned while raising our children – even negative attention is attention! There is a reason for Philippians 4:8:

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Keep the negative out of your thoughts as much as possible and your life will feel much more positive!
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