I’ve been reflecting on how we process our thoughts and feelings, the way we ultimately allow our sentences to finish.

How often do we close with, ‘it’s not fair’, ‘I’m fed up’, ‘why does it keep happening to me?’, but then sigh and leave it at that?

Because this response brings no resolution it may result in our downbeat mood staying with us for some time, influencing not only ourselves but those we come into contact with too.

STUCK IN A RUT

Rather than remaining stuck at that point why not instead learn to motivate your approach and finish each sentence positively, acknowledging that whilst you may be feeling fed up or hurt it will pass, resolve itself, get better and may eventually even be viewed as a valuable experience.

NEW BEGINNINGS

When viewed well there are often positives to be gained from negative experiences. Many of us know people who reflect back on their divorce or redundancy, able to appreciate it as the catalyst or making life-defining changes and revising priorities. Those changes would never have happened without that initial scary, world-shattering push which forced them to step up and take action.

MINDSET

When we train our mindset to run forward to a positive place we become more optimistic, solution-focused and receptive to treating today’s misfortunes as merely a temporary setback, gear change or challenge. They’re a stepping-stone and not a barrier to success.

Let’s become more invested in taking important life lessons and personal growth from the many diverse experiences that come our way. And isn’t it frequently the case that we learn more from setbacks than when everything goes to plan?

Those easy times when we’re comfortably in cruise control, familiar and coping with the job in hand don’t require us to test our skills, explore diverse ways of doing things or push for alternative options.

CHALLENGES

The longer we stay in our comfort zone the smaller it becomes as we drift along, comfortably in auto-pilot, hardly needing to engage brain or innovative thinking. It’s trance-inductive to do long-established routine tasks; think of those times when you’ve driven to a familiar destination and have hardly been aware of the journey.

Starting to finish sentences on a positive note doesn’t mean becoming mindlessly buoyant or optimistic. Yes, it’s great to be excited, upbeat, hopeful, but it’s also important to keep a part of yourself in pragmatic mode. Having a mind that’s alert and receptive to new ways of working keeps life interesting and stimulating.

OPPORTUNITES

Regard it as a fabulous opportunity to be committed and engaged, to stretch your thinking and give yourself space to open previously unconsidered and unexpected doors, to learn a lot. Then, even if things don’t work out as originally hoped it won’t have been a complete waste of time. Instead, you’ll have gained new experience, contacts and be able to feel proud that you said, ‘yes’, and had a go.

When we get into the habit of thinking beyond the limitations of the moment, of seeing outside the box we open ourselves to the bigger picture. Checking out new possibilities stimulates alternative thought processes, opening up our mental pathways to becoming more solution-focused, so finding ways to circumvent problems and move forward from a negative, resigned approach.

And sometimes, when life has been comfortable for too long, it can be a good exercise to explore alternative, more complex ways of carrying out routine tasks and actually choose to include levels of difficulty. This is a great way to invigorate our thinking and remain alert and engaged.

PROBLEM-SOLVING

When we’re faced with negative problems or unfamiliar situations they provide opportunities for problem-solving, doing things differently, becoming more prepared to try new ways of thinking, no matter how challenging or unfamiliar they are to us. It’s good mental exercise and moves us away from the default or routine ways that we may typically revert to.

So, when you’re feeling immersed in negativity and upset, going through difficult times and experiences learn to finish your sentences with, ‘but it will pass’, ‘this has taught me so much about myself’, ‘it’s been an invaluable life lesson’. When you start to do this you’ll quickly see how much your approach to life improves. 

Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist and relationship counsellor.

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