Let Your Cup Brimmeth Over!

Has anyone ever seen Didim so busy this early on in April before? I can honestly say that I have never started a summer season as shattered as I have been these last few weeks – and the season has not even officially started yet!
But it is a good ‘shattered’. It is a ‘shattered’ that is full of positive energy, excitement for what the future will bring, and ensuring every cloud is fitted with the best silver lining available.
It is very easy to talk Didim down. It is very easy to look at everything from a negative standpoint. In fact, the more negative you are, the more you will only see the negative. Even when something positive happens, it will only be the negative connotations that you pick up on.
Negative thinking is a self perpetuating behaviour. When something bad happens, negative thinkers are almost beside themselves with (miserable) joy as the negative consequences just reinforce their negative prophesising.
(Crikey, I am in danger of bringing myself down just writing all this!).
I am sure you have all got ‘friends’ you would rather avoid – the ones that suck any joy, energy, passion, hope and excitement out of life. They may initially be quite amusing in a wry, cynical way… for about five minutes. Anything longer than this has me walking out the door without a backward glance.
Conversely, people choose to think negatively because it actually gives them a sense of control over their lives. They think bad things will happen. Bad things happen (because life does have a habit of throwing the brown stuff at us sometimes!). Hence their predictions about their life being so hard come true. They were right to be negative all along! Thinking in this way makes their lives more predictable (if somewhat miserable) and they feel slightly better being in control.
So why is that so wrong? Surely it is better that they ‘feel’ in control… better than feeling ‘out of control’, surely?
Unfortunately that sense of control is merely an illusion. We all know things can go wrong, but expecting the worst does not help you to build up resilience. It is our ability to ‘bounce back’, to apply resilience in the face of adversity that makes us strong thriving, in control, individuals.
The research paper by Hebert (1996) states:
“Researchers have explained resilience in terms of hardiness, and proposed that hardy individuals have a strong commitment to self, are willing to take action and to deal with problems, have a positive attitude toward their environment, have a strong sense of purpose, and develop a strong internal locus of control which enables them to see life’s obstacles as challenges that can be overcome.”
Negative thinking enables people to psychologically protect themselves against potential failure or rejection. If they believe nothing good will happen, then they will not be disappointed.
What you might not realise is that negative thinking is a choice, not a trait. It simply takes a bit of constant applied effort to choose to think more positively, and there are some really effective techniques that can be applied to help achieve this.
I have always seen my own life as a glass neither half full nor half empty, but as positively overflowing with possibilities. Things go wrong. Work, relationships, life in general does not always go the way I want it too. But at every blip (and there can be several a day) I choose to take a positive stance.
It is not that I am in control of what is happening to me, rather that I am more in control of how I think about things that are happening around me. This helps me to deal more effectively with external factors which are beyond my control, and therefore have a much stronger, deeper and more resilient handle on those things that affect me closely.
I am managing my thinking in a positive, helpful and resilient way.
So many of the conditions that we treat with medication are a direct result of the way we think, the way we mismanage our thinking – depression, fatigue syndromes such as ME and CFS, debilitating fears, phobias and anxieties, problems with addictions, obesity… all these life limiting (ie they limit the way in which you lead your life) are exacerbated by negative, paranoid, obsessive, catastrophic, perfectionist styles of thinking (to name but a few).
You CAN learn to think differently, more positively. Realising that is the first step to getting back on track to a full, and happy, life.