Positive Beliefs

April 21, 2009

How to Create and Keep Positive Beliefs

By Marilyn Stannett http://www.coachserve.com

The importance of what we believe….   

“Beliefs have the power to create and power to destroy”- a quote by Anthony Robins that I truly appreciate. Think of a time where you believed with utter certainty that you would achieve a goal? What were the things that you did to achieve that goal? How did your beliefs influence achieving your goal? I am curious to learn your stories. 

When I notice negative thoughts arising, I remember the Buddha’s famous words, “we are what we think.”

The concept that “we are what we think” motivates me to let go of negative thoughts about me or others’. If I am my thoughts, then I want to be careful to think positively. If we start with the universal truth that we are born with equal capacity to be brilliant and creative and remain faithful to that truth, I find that thinking then serves to supports us as individuals while also supporting humanity overall. Suddenly, everything shifts to a lighter place with more energy, less problems, and less need for critical judgement… a much happier and brighter space from which to live.

 

The sweetness of now…

When we focus attention on the present moment, we are free from ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. Rumination, regret, and anxiety are proven to be negative. While in that place what or who can it possibly help? Catch your thoughts; bring them to the present. 

We must take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.

Without conscious realization, it’s easy to place blame on situations for why we fall short, when we do. The hard truth is we can’t blame others or circumstances for our imperfections. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves. When we realize we are blaming circumstances we assume responsibility where it rightfully belongs- with us.

 

Find things to do that pull you away from negative beliefs.

This is fun. Think of things to do that are truly enjoyable to you that help lift you out of the dumps. Listen to music, go for a walk, work in the garden, meditate, kick box, roller blade, fly a kite, cycle- do what you enjoy- do it not only to lift yourself from a negative moment, but also keep yourself feeling positively great. Do it because you deserve it. So often we forget to make time for the activities that we love.

 

Find your inspiration.

I have always turned to reading or media that inspires me. For me, it’s taking 20 minutes to listen to a Ted talk at http://www.ted.org and reading a few pages from a favourite book. Recently I started collecting quotes. Visit my site to sign up for my free newsletter and gain access to a free download of my quote collection. http://www.coachserve.com. What inspires you? Set aside a few minutes each day to research a topic of personal interest to you.

 

Nurture social connections.

Reach out to friends and family who are supportive, positive, and non judgemental. Avoid those who are not. By nurturing positive relationships and letting go of negative ones we gain more energy to attract and create what we want more of by creating a life that reflects what we want more of. Negative people are a huge drain on our psychic and mental energy.

 Be magnificent, and remember, “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones you’ll start having positive results”.

~Willie Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness Science

April 20, 2009

http://www.coachserve.com

I first became interested in the science of happiness when the coach training program I was taking offered a course in positive psychology with Chris Peterson, University of Michigan. I am so happy that the focus of psychological study has expanded to include what happens when things are going well for people. Dr. Martin Seligman’s vision to declare positive psychology as an area of study has reulted in so much learning about what helps people be their best.

What makes people want to change for the better? What’s going on with the people who see the glass half-full and not half-empty? How do they know this wisdom which for many, remains painfully elusive?

There is hope for people struggling with the half-empty glass. Empiracally researched information about how to see things, face things, and approach things with less fatalism is coming forth through the work of the positive psychologists. For those of us who need hard core scientific proof- it’s happening.

Emotional Entitlement

April 19, 2009

Positive psychologists study the benefits of positive emotions and positive activities for their capacity to enhance our well-being while also recognizing the value of negative emotions. The negative emotion fear, for example, alerts us to life-threatening situations. While it is impossible to suppress negative emotions and thoughts, and trying to do so is in fact harmful to us; our freedom to watch our thoughts and choose those that inspire positive beliefs is within our control.

While recognizing the value of negative emotions and the harmful nature of suppressing them, it’s equally important to know that by nature, negative emotions constrict our thoughts and create a downward emotional spiral that we can be stuck in. On the other hand, positive emotions also build on themselves, creating positve upward emotional spirals that lift us from the dark, constricting, tank.

In her recently published book, “Positivity”, Barbara Fredrickson refers to a sailboat’s engineering as a metaphor to explain the need for both posive and negative emotions. Without a keel, (negative emotions), a sailboat will capsize in rough waters or winds and without sails (positive emotions), the boat will never catch the winds for motion.

By paying attention to what we are thinking, positive or negative, we can even the score.  Based on her research, Fredrickson explains her discovery- a 3:1 positivity ratio.  When we think three positive thoughts for each negative thought, we reach a “tipping point” that advances the score in favor of overall emotional well-being. As Mark Twain has said, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles…by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

Right Intention

April 18, 2009

Seth Godin’s blog this morning: – thanks, Seth Godin.
“Snarky vs. earnest”
“In the ongoing battle between dismissive irony and well-intentioned trustworthiness, the early rounds always seem to go to those that sell snark.”

“Snark is clever and funny and easy to spread. Snark protects us from confronting the truth of the situation, and snark is incredibly easy to do. Snark is fun, but it doesn’t look good on you.”

“In the long run, though, it’s those with right intention, a long term view and consistent persistence that manage to win”.

“Good thing, too”.

…Gets me thinking about intenetion which leads me to The Buddha’s EightFold Path as outlined in Ryuho Okawa’s “The Essence of Buddha, The Path to Enlightenment”.
Okawa says:
“As we live our everyday lives and come into constant contact with others, we tend to be swayed by an incessant flow of thoughts, and it is difficult to know the True Self that lies deep within us. However, when we retreat from everyday contact, away from others and from their vibrations, and reflect deeply on our own mind, we can find the True Self. When people are around, we may try to put on an act, maybe out of vanity or to offset our feelings of inferiority, but when we sit alone in meditation, the part of us that is true and honest will emerge. This is the purest part of our soul, connected to Buddha. The very beginning of the Eightfold Path is to examine our own thoughts and deeds from the perspective of this True Self.”

“Shakyamuni Buddha established eight checkpoints against which people can examine their own thoughts and deeds:
Right Seeing
Right Thought
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Living
Right Effort
Right Will
Right Meditation
He put the adjective ‘right’ to the eight directions of the mind and the actions of the physical body: seeing, thinking, speaking, acting, livng, making diligent efforts, the use of the will, and meditating. ‘Rightness’ in the Eightfold Path does not imply a simple set of model behaviours against which people can judge themselves to be right or wrong; it means a ‘right’ state that can only be attained throught deep contemeplation.”

While it’s alot to take in, the Eightfold Path is a great place to begin and check-in whether our intenetions are aligned with our True Self – what is true.

Change is the Constant That Energizes Our World.

April 18, 2009

 Change is real, all encompassing, desirable and frequently beyond our control. It is exciting, creative, challenging and therefore cool. Positive aspects of change encompass opportunity, leaning, personal growth, and ultimately, some form of personal translation that allows space for realizing our value and meaning and also, the value and meaning of others’.

How well do you know yourself? Want to Dig Deeper?

April 7, 2009

Written by Marilyn Stannett, April 7, 2009 http://www.coachserv.com
Each of us has character strengths we are obligated to recognize and use. When we do, we understand what adds to our life quality, purpose and meaning, and what negates it. We also gain insight about how character strengths may be used in a more beneficial ways. Martin Seligman, University of Pennsylvania and Chris Peterson, University of Michigan, identified and classified 24 character strengths common to individuals. Each of us has the 24 qualities that these positive psychologists identified, but each of us has our own unique ranking based on our answers to a questionnaire that they developed. To take the free test, log on to http://www.authentichappiness.org and take the Values in Action Character Strengths questionnaire. You will receive a ranked list of your character strengths and will want to focus on your top five strengths. Please don’t see your twenty-fourth strength as a weakness. It is not. The idea here is to focus on your top five strengths because they identify values that are most important and meaningful to you, both personally and professionally. The most positive decision making is aligned with our values. As Stephen Covey says, your values will anchor you through change and adversity as well as good times.

Free Your Mind of Negative Thoughts

April 6, 2009

Practice Gratefulness
Recent research in the field of positive psychology- the study of what goes well in life- point to effective interventions which increase our sense of well being. One such intervention is the practice of Gratitude. Robert Emmons has studied and written about the positive affects gratitude can have on our emotional well being. Based on his research, he recommends keeping a gratitude journal in which you write, daily, three to five good things that happened to you. If this is too demanding, a variation of the exercise is to think of three to five good things that happened to you today while preparing for bed or while lying in bed as you fall asleep. You can take it a step further as Carol Kauffman, Harvard University, suggests, and think of three to five good things that happened and what part you played in making them happen. For example, you stopped to admire and appreciate the beauty of the sunset… well, maybe you didn’t create the actual sunset, but you did stop to sweeten the moment by savouring its beauty….
Sonja Lyubomirsky and colleagues atUniversity of California, Riverside, conducted an experiment where students were asked to write a gratitude journal entry three times a week over the duration of twelve weeks. At the end of the trial the happiness levels for participants in the experiment increased dramatically and were sustained up to six months later.
Practicing gratitude shifts our focus from what doesn’t go well to what is good and going well, reinforcing our positive thought tracks in the brain and diminishing the ancient negative tapes in our heads.

How to Free Your Mind

April 3, 2009

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is sustained attention to the current moment. Mindfulness is the key to creating the change we wish to see. Notice your breath, the sensation of the warm water pouring over your body in the shower, the scent of the shampoo or soap… hear to the dog outside barking, the wind, chimes… be in your body, feel your feet touch the ground… feel your muscles as you move about…the power of staying with this present moment frees us from ruminating about our past and worrying about our future. Staying in the “now” allows us the space and aliveness to detach from negative thoughts. It allows us to be all that we are.
There are many benefits to the ritual of paying attention to what we are doing in the current moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn has worked with Mindfulness since the early 70’s documenting the fabulous and remarkable success his program participants received while dealing with challenging and broad issues like chronic fear, chronic pain, and chronic depression. Recently in Canada, medical organizations adopted Zin’s mindfulness framework in recognition of its potent value as a non-medicinal and effective intervention. Mindfulness is also used to alleviate post-traumatic stress syndrome with US war veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.
In addition to physical benefits such as improved sleep and stronger immune system, mindfulness involves the part of our brain that is related to positive thoughts and emotions. As we practice mindfulness, we create and reinforce a path in our brain which grows deeper with practice, while gradually weakening our negative and deeply engrained thought patterns in the brain. MRI scans of meditation practicing monks, for example, Matthieu Ricard, analyzed by David Richardson, University of Wisconsin, measure significant increase in brain wave activity in the positive centres of his brain while practicing loving kindness meditation. Amazingly, studies confirm similar positive brain wave activity patterns in the brains of people who have meditated for only a brief time.

How to Free Your Mind of Negative Thoughts

April 1, 2009

How to Free Your Mind of Negative

Thoughts

 

Negative thoughts are often false perceptions of ourselves that point to how we are lacking. As we all fall prey to toxic thoughts they become road blocks to our natural talents and abilities. These thought tapes run on play and are deeply embedded in our thought patterns, playing and replaying without our knowledge, holding us hostage to disabling and unreal beliefs, beliefs that paralyze us from taking action, moving forward, and stop our being who we need to be to have the most from life.

Step One: Our first challenge is to

catch the thoughts as they arise in

our mind.

 Once we gain this awareness, we are empowered to dispel the negative for exactly what it is- a lie. Through awareness we notice the negative thought tape playing. The first step is to dismiss the negative thought. Without judging or berating ourselves for the negative thought, simply recognize it for what it is and let it go.

Step two: Replace false, negative

beliefs with positve truths about

who we are.

The universal truth that we are all capable of achieving what we desire, full of inherent ability available equally to each and every one of us is the universal truth  with which to replace toxic thoughts. As toxic thoughts arise, replace them with this spiritual principle of our individual and collective humanity. Cultivating compassion for ourselves and others creates the acceptance of our inherent greatness allowing space for focusing on our positive traits and abilities.

April 1, 2009

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