• Sandy Jolles

Positively Limited

In a world where there is a constant stream of pressure to be happy, it may be difficult for some to stay upbeat. Even with daily affirmations, gratitude journals, and replacing negative thoughts with positive alternatives, it may still be difficult to achieve a stable, bright outlook. While a cheery disposition can definitely enhance our cognitive and emotional health, there is a danger in stigmatizing uncomfortable feelings.

Instead of oscillating between binary opposites, we should work with the full spectrum of emotions. If we force ourselves to maintain a positive wellbeing constantly, this may lead to feelings of guilt. The real power of positivity comes when you can hold it alongside more challenging feelings.

Ultimately, it's OK to feel angry, jealous, sad, or afraid at times as these are valuable in the wide gamut of our emotions. These feeling may even propel you in the direction of a more meaningful life. Instead of avoidance, we have the power to make adaptations. There is not a one-size-fits-all mindset, and I've included some tools below to keep in perspective for your personal peace plan.

Avoid Suppressing Negative Thoughts - While it can be uncomfortable, this can be an opportunity to tackle underlying issues. Attempting to ignore them will only cause these feelings to reemerge - sometimes with more roots than before.

See the Reality - Positivity is all about seeing what's there and carries a foundation of truth. Flexible optimism allows us to acknowledge our skills, while also recognizing our shortcomings. This type of awareness should give rise to compassionate and constructive reflection

Develop Mental Agility - If you're toggling between positive affirmations and self-deprecation, it's important to remember there's a rainbow of other emotions too. Falling prey to black-and-white thinking limits us, and puts us in an all or nothing mentality. Words like "no one," "always," and "never," perpetuates generalizations and should be an indication to assess things as they are (not better and not worse).

Recognize the Things you Can't Control - There are situations that simply cannot be changed, no matter how bright your outlook. Bad luck can strike, and the approach here might be to sit with those feelings and work through them. It's important to know that you did not invite these things into your life because you weren't vigilant enough in your thinking.

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