We live in a critical world. It is easy to be negative and to find fault and to see all that’s wrong with the world. And if we look for the bad we will always find it. But is that a good way to live?
Instead, we can change our attitudes, be more positive, and find more joy in life. If we strive to focus on all that is right, and good, and true, our lives will definitely take a more hopeful and meaningful path.
Here are five things all of us can do to follow that path instead of going down the road of negativity, fault finding, and criticism:
1Practice Gratitude. Research shows that when we count just three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It is also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. Two thoughts cannot occupy our minds at the same time. If you are focusing on gratitude, you can’t be negative. You can also energize and engage others by letting them know you are grateful for them and for what they do.
2Praise Others. Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them and watch as they create more success as a result. Make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism.
3Focus on Success. Start a success journal. For example, each night before you go to bed, write down one great thing about your day. The one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Focus on your success and you will look forward to creating more success.
4Let Go. Focus on the things that you have the power to change, and let go of all the things that are beyond your control. You will be amazed that when you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out.
5Pray and Meditate. Scientific research shows that these daily practices reduce stress, boost positive energy, and promote health, vitality, and longevity. When you are faced with the urge to complain or you are feeling stressed to the max, stop, be still, plug in to the ultimate power, and recharge.
We find that being intentional and engaging in steps such as these—we have a better outlook on life–we are able to set a positive example for others—and we are able to help others find more positive aspects in their own lives.
In our work with people living with cancer, emotional, physical, and spiritual distress, and people who have been given a life-threatening diagnosis, the number one value that so many of them talk about are steps such as these: Being grateful. Focusing on what is right. Looking for the good. Letting go. Being still. Forgiving. Reaching out for a power beyond themselves through prayer and meditation.
These daily practices can mean the difference between hopelessness and hope. Between despair and possibility. Between giving up and growing into a life of deeper satisfaction and peace.