First of all, what is positivity? Positivity is all about being positive of course, accepting the world as it is. It is the type of thinking that keeps you thinking in an optimistic manner. It keeps you seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. It is also how you rid yourself of negative thoughts and from there rid yourself of negative experiences. Because as you may know, from your thoughts come your experiences.

So as we all don’t want negative experiences, how do we get rid of the negative thoughts? The answer is really fairly obvious. You need to think about something else. You need to change your focus. After all, what you focus on is what you get.

So here is my HOW TO DEVELOP POSITIVITY in 5 easy steps.

1.Forget the past.

I just stated above, that what you focus on is what you get. Many people spend a great deal of time thinking about the past. They try to work out what went wrong, what they should have done and what they shouldn’t have done. I agree some reflection is important, because it is from reflection that allows evaluation and from there changes can be made in strategy or procedure. But the problem with some people is they stay stuck in reflection, in the pattern of thinking that keeps you asking questions, the type of questions that never seem to get answered. This reflection is serving no purpose at all. It keeps you in a holding pattern. A holding pattern that in the end keep your thoughts jumbled and most questions never resolved.

So the positivity philosophy is to let go of the past. Let it sail way behind you. The past happened. Nothing you can do now can change the past. What needs to be done now is to move forward. Focus your thoughts and energy on doing things differently so that patterns do not repeat.

2. Focus on your strengths instead of on your weaknesses.

How many times have you been asked if you would like to do something and you have declined because you didn’t think you could do it, or you weren’t good enough? Focusing on what we can’t do or thinking how we could do better if we didn’t have this flaw, only holds us in a position of powerlessness. The more time you spend thinking about how hopeless or powerless you are, the more you are likely to convince yourself that you really are hopeless and powerless. Again what you focus on is what you get. Instead, change your thinking! Think about the possibility of learning something new; developing the beginnings of a new skill, actually being able to do it. Or focus on what you can do; what you are good at. Soak up the great feelings that emerge and then tackle the new thing in a more positive, an ‘I must just be able to do it’ frame of mind.  And anyway…… does it really matter if once you have a go, you really can’t do it? At least you gave it your best shot!

3. Listen to the words that you use – choose them with care and purpose.

The words that you use have a distinct influence on how you behave. What you say comes from your thoughts.  Words can be destructive and you may not even be aware of the influence they are having on you. Phrases like ‘you should’, ‘why didn’t you’, ‘I can’t’, ‘this is too hard’, ‘I always get it wrong’, ‘I mustn’t’, ‘ they won’t’, ‘why cant they just’. All of this creates negative states within you, states of doubt, blame, defensiveness, resentment and judgment. Choose your words with care as they fire off certain parts of your brain and release chemicals that align with the feelings they trigger. If you keep thinking in negative language, those chemicals will make you feel low or depressed. And you will wonder how did I get to feel like this?

Instead use more positive phrases like: ‘I love…’, ‘you can’, ‘I can’, ‘this is great’, ‘this has possibilities’, ‘how do we turn this around’, ‘how do we get this started’, ’can we give it a go’, ‘what are the possibilities’. A different set of chemicals will fire in your brain from this more positive language and it will fill you with feelings of hope and opportunities.

Thoughts bring about behaviour. Behaviour creates experiences. You are in control of your thoughts. So choose positive thoughts, as these will generate positive language.

4. Exercise regularly

Exercise releases hormones called endorphins. These are the body’s natural pain-killers. They also create feelings of euphoria or happiness so they are often regarded as the happy hormones. You can’t help feeling better even after the smallest amount of exercise. These endorphins also help to reduce the effects of stress on the body. Exercise helps to remove toxins from the muscles and toxins from the lymphatic system. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen getting to every cell in your body. So how good is exercise – it makes you feel happy.

With our now more sedentary lifestyles, we are all exercising less and missing out on the wonderful feelings that endorphins create in the body. Too many people are taking on the view that exercise is hard work. It is only if you over do it!

A little bit of exercise each day will give you a little bit of endorphins. You will feel better and that feeling will drive you forward to do more exercise and then feel even better. You will see a pattern form. Let exercise become an important part of your day.

5. Bask in the happy feelings from a past experience.

Remember a time when you were really happy. Remember how good that felt. Remember the thoughts you had. Remember how you looked. Remember what you thought about at the time. Capture that feeling, those thoughts and those memories and allow yourself to sink deep into them. Allow yourself to bask in that experience. Float in it, swim in it, let it completely surround you.

Any time you need to move yourself out of a negative pattern of thoughts, go back to that happy memory and bask in the feelings of that moment. You will quickly notice the change in your body; your breathing will slow, your blood pressure will drop, your thoughts will slow and you will move into a more peaceful state making you feel a whole lot better and much happier.

So now you know how to develop positivity. Remember this:

Your thoughts create your behaviour and your behaviour creates your experiences. You are in total control of creating your thoughts. Make your thoughts work for you rather than against you. Create thoughts that are positive rather than sabotaging.

Until next time, from your coach, Janine Stratford