On the first page, we looked at six techniques to set you on the path to an optimistic heaven. The techniques ranged from controlling your thoughts to shifting your focus. Let us look at the remaining techniques here.
7. Repeat a positive mantra
By now you are acquainted with the power of the spoken word. Use this power to the best possible advantage by constructing your own positive mantra. It could be a prayer that instils hope in you or a simple set of sentences that goes like, "I am a wonderful person and I love my life. I am extremely happy and feel positive about everyone around me. It is a beautiful day and I know that everything I do makes a difference to the world." Repeat it everyday at the same time; say it when you wake up and before you go to sleep to add some ritualistic value. Rituals have healing powers too. Sit down in a quiet place and hear the words resonate. Dwell on them whenever you feel lacklustre.
8. Cleanse yourself of negative energy
The problem with negativity is that it lingers on, long after the feelings are past. It troubles you in the form of headaches, neck pain, muscle cramps, and lethargy. Some schools of Indian spirituality say that negativity gathers around your aura (an aura is purportedly a circle of energy forming a halo around you, which governs your mental and physical health).
Cleanse yourself of all the negativity that you have gathered over the years and lugged around with you like an unnecessary burden through meditation, yoga or sudarshan kriya (Art of Living). Simply sitting in a silent place, close to nature, and concentrating on the nuances of your breathing will help. If you feel positive emotionally, mental optimism will follow.
9. Shun negativity in your environment
Dennis and Wendy Mannering, leadership trainers and authors, have pithily queried, "Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?" Do you have a friend who constantly cribs about her work or her life in general? Difficult as it may be, you would do well to avoid this friend and other people who sap your energy with their negativity.
You may pride yourself on being the most strong and grounded person around, but the environment does influence our internal well-being. Stop listening to music with self-defeating lyrics and eschew books that glorify tragedy. Be around people who make you feel bright.
10. Be a sceptic
No, scepticism is not the same as pessimism. Be sceptical of negativity. When someone tries to tell you that nothing is going right or the television blares out news designed to depress you, raise your eyebrows sceptically. Consider if you should let yourself be blown away by all the bad news.
When you think about it logically, the world is a mix of positives and negatives. It is up to us to choose which should dominate our lives. As Norman Peale, multi-million selling author of The Power of Positive Thinking has advised, "Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilitiesâ€”always see them, for they're always there."
11. Maintain a journal of optimism
There are times when we truly begin to wonder if there is any good in the world. Prepare for such contingencies. Make your own personal optimism journal. List your good points and your achievements in it. Paste cuttings of stories about people who have won against the odds. Each time you come across something that stimulates you positively, commit it to your journal. They could be small things such as an unexpected compliment or the picture of a smiling baby. When you feel despondent, flip through the journal. Your mood will instantly perk up.
12. The Positive-o-Meter
This last technique is borrowed and modified from Martin Shervington's 'Don't Think of Purple-Spotted Oranges'. Imagine that you have a meter with figures 1 to 10. Rate your optimism on this meter. Then reduce it half a point. For example, if you rate yourself 5, make it 4.5. This is because we always tend to rate ourselves more towards the desirable. Now do whatever needs to be done to increase your points, read your optimism journal, call up a dear friend, square your shoulders and lift your head high, have a belly-laugh or get up and go for a walk. Notch up half a point at a time. Do it till you reach 10. Rerun this exercise every time you feel yourself turning pessimistic.
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