On November 1 I started a month long positive focus, where I wanted to really see how much habitual negativity I could banish from my daily routine. The first full week of my formal positive focus went smoother than I thought.
Things that came easy
- In casual situations, like talking with a cashier, I found it easy to remain positive. I just remind myself that he or she is not the cause of my current mood, and I don’t want to give any negativity or irritation I might be feeling onto them. I think I mostly do this one anyway, but I was conscious of it and things went smoothly.
- In those short exchanges I normally do pretty well, but in longer exchanges I get awkward and uncomfortable. Shyness, introversion, it is a familiar drill. This past week the technician came to do yearly maintenance on the furnace. He is very chatty. I made an effort to engage him, to be friendly and not let any boredom, discomfort or irritation seek out. In return, he explained a bit about the way my furnace system works and how I can know if I need to call for service or not.
- Refocusing myself when I started to get anxious or a little moody. This was where being hyper focused alerted me that my habitual defensive responses were kicking in. By noticing these things starting, it was easy to refocus and laugh it off.
- The forecast yesterday was for rain. It ended up snowing instead. I chose to take that and make a positive out of it. Of course, having grown up in the south in Georgia, the first snowfall of the year is a yearly ritual I get excited about. I consciously used that happiness that taps into childhood joy to smooth out the anxiety and sadness I was feeling yesterday.
Things about staying positive to Improve
- Overall, dealings with other people went pretty well. I had one misunderstanding with a colleague that I still haven’t figured out how it happened or how to solve it. But so far I have been successful in not letting it eat away at me or derail my overall intention of positiveness.
- Dealing with myself is another matter. I realized this week that the bulk of my negative thought processes are actually directed at myself. I am such a perfectionist with myself. I get frustrated with myself when I don’t run at full capacity 100% of the time. I’m a human being, not a machine, and it may sound odd to say, but I have to remind myself of that at least once during the day.
- Building on that, one small slip up or change of plans cannot throw off my forward movement for the whole day. This happened a couple of days this week, and I want to focus on that this week. It is possible to accept unwelcome things, negative events and the usual cycle of moods without giving up for the day.
Tips to have a Positive Week: Lessons from Week 1
- Plan ahead. Have the most important things that need to be done and that you want to be done thought out. Don’t be like me, don’t make that list too long. Just one or two or three important things. The rest you can get to if you can, but don’t put an extra downer on yourself because you don’t repair your whole world in one day.
- Laugh at your yourself. If you always get mad at machines and start yelling at them (not that I’ve ever done that), laugh and realize the negative energy comes from you and goes right back to you. Take it from me, the machines don’t care.
- Realize that a positive week does not mean nothing negative will happen. All we have to do is turn on the news these days to understand that. You can’t control the weather, other people, machines, acts of nature. You might get sick. You will slip up and snap at someone or beat yourself up. Just try to apologize (even to yourself) and get back to being positive.
- Learn the way your emotional mood cycles work. Moods levels come and go, up and down, and if we are aware that sometimes just letting the mood exist, it will pass on its own.
Well, on to Week 2. I’m definitely focusing on how I react to myself this week. If all else fails, maybe it will snow again?