Browsing "Mental Health"
Dec 7, 2012 - Mental Health, Priorities    4 Comments

Positive Thinking

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. – Zig Ziglar

Thinking positively will help give you a positive outlook on life, it will affect your attitude about yourself, and it may very well even affect your health.  So staying positive is something we all should pay close attention to.  Thinking positively means we take a step back and try to approach each situation in a more positive and efficient way. Your outlook should be “the cup is half-full” instead of half-empty.

Ask yourself this question:  How do I talk to myself?

Are your thoughts positive or negative?  What sort of logic and reason do you use when thinking about things?  Do you often have thoughts or misconceptions based on little or no information?  If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, chances are that your outlook is more likely pessimistic.

Working towards positive thinking is a step by step process and will not happen overnight, it takes time and practice.  Here are a few ideas and approaches you can use to help you become a positive thinker and develop a habit for seeing the positives.

  1. Focus on your accomplishments not your mishaps.  Many times we can get caught up in the little things that we forgot to do, or the things we fall short of.  It’s important to not let those things get in the way.  Focusing on all the positives will help you overlook the negatives.  Everyone is their own worst critic.
  2. Don’t blame yourself for upset situations.  If friends cancel plans, or if you’re not invited to a gathering. Don’t assume that you did something wrong or that people don’t want to be around you.  There is always a bigger picture and being open to the change in plans or okay with a missed opportunity will help you experience a new activity and look forward to the future.
  3. That small rock started an avalanche.  Don’t automatically anticipate the worst in things.  If you slip in the shower and bump your head, don’t automatically assume that the rest of your day will be horrible.  Take these little mishaps as they come and leave them there, don’t carry them with you.
  4. Seeing the Gray in things.  If you see the world as black and white, try mixing those together.  There is often a middle ground. Work at being more accepting of yourself and others.  Remember no one is perfect.


Hopefully these few ideas will help you become more optimistic and practice positive thinking. Start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.  Maybe try periodically during the day to stop and evaluate what you’re thinking.  Allow yourself to smile and laugh, especially during difficult times and find humor in everyday things.  Surround yourself with positive and supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice.

Instead of thinking “I’ve never done that before”, try “It’s an opportunity to learn something new”.  Or “It’s too complicated”  -  “I’ll tackle it from a different angle”.

“There’s no way it will work” – “I can try to make it work”
“It’s too radical a change” – “Let’s take a chance”
“No one bothers to communicate with me” – “I’ll see if I can be more open to communication”
“I’m not going to get any better at this” – “I’ll give it another try”

Practicing positive thinking every day your thoughts will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You will become less critical of the world and by having a positive mood, both you and those around you will gain an emotional boost.


Oct 19, 2012 - Mental Health, Priorities    1 Comment

Your Calm Pond

When you’re falling asleep at night, riding on a bus, standing in an elevator, or maybe walking you’re dog; what do you think about? Where does your mind spend most of its time? When your life is still where does your mind wander?

We all have specific hopes, concerns, and dreams for the future. Maybe your mind drifts away imagining what life will be like in the months or years to come.  Maybe you’re mind fades back to the past constantly pondering what choices you’ve made and what life experiences you’ve had. Whichever category you fall into I want to encourage you to take note of what you’re thinking about. Write down the thoughts you have the most. Taking  note of these things will help you realize if what you’re thinking about is helpful or beneficial to you.

It’s import to your mental and physical health to give your thoughts a little moderation. We can spend a lot of time thinking and maybe even worrying about things that are not in our control.  We need to make sure we’re keeping the good things in and the bad things out. Keeping a journal has helped show me where my mind has been and where it might be headed. So the next time your life becomes still in this fast moving and chaotic world, try writing down what you’re thinking about and see where it leads you.


Sep 14, 2012 - Character, Mental Health    No Comments

Our Sense of Self

Everyone grows at different rates. Becoming mature and finding a sense of self or identity is something that everyone goes through. Knowing who we are and becoming aware of ourselves is natural and normal. It takes time and can be a difficult process. Struggling to find your own identity can be very depressing and frustrating.

Maturing and developing a strong emotional core is very important to the development of our identity.  It’s important to have positive interactions with others, be able to access situations, predict the thoughts and feelings others, and to engage in appropriate tones of empathy. Having a strong emotional maturity will help influence your career and everyday life. Emotionally mature people have the ability to earn the trust of others, make people feel valued, and build respect from those around them. The earlier in your life that you start to work at learning how to relate to others the better off you will be. Here are some key points that can help you develop an emotionally mature mind and help you identify a very important and needed sense of self.

1) Practice Listening to Others:
There is more to listening to other people, than just sitting there like a cone with a smile on your face. Listening to others requires that you not only nod your head but also that you give feedback to what they’re saying. This will show the other person that you’re sincere and really understand their point of view. People tend to disclose more information to others when they know they are truly listening. This will help you see the world through their eyes and give you a different perspective on what you think and feel; which in turn will help you develop a stronger sense of self.

2) Learn Empathy:
The ability to predict and relate to other people’s feelings can be very challenging. Understanding another person’s state of mind can help you know what to say or know what kind of support you can give. When you learn how to help others you learn how to help yourself at the same time. Always try to be gentle.

3) Control your Impulses:
We are impulsive by nature, however impulse control plays a surprising role in emotional maturity and developing your identity. People who can control their immediate reactions have an additional moment to think about another person’s feelings. They’re also less likely to say things they regret. Try to avoid yelling and always apologize when you’re wrong. This will help you take the time to really think about your actions and if the outcome from those actions is the kind of actions you want to be identified with.

4) Engage in Group Discussion:
Some people are hermits and struggle with shyness which can be a hindrance to developing an identity and building emotional maturity. Be someone that can talk openly and honestly with others. Be open to different viewpoints. Work at taking small risks with conversation. You might be surprised at the response you get.

Whether you’re rooted in who you are and are comfortable with the person you’ve grown into, or you’re unsure of yourself and you don’t know what you want to do with your life. These are a few things that will be very helpful to you. Everyone has room for growth and improvement and I hope this helps you in whatever your struggles are.