“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” Gandhi
Chitta Vritti is a wonderful almost onomatopoeic Sanskrit term referring to the ceaseless chatter of the mind. At Yeotown it is something we strive to calm during our detox health retreat, or Yeotox, with practices such as yoga, meditation, mindful practices and activities like our coastal hiking. Often it is only when you are trying to be still that you realise the extent to which our minds are constantly occupied, deliberating their way through over 50,000 thoughts a day. And of this huge amount of thoughts how many do you suppose are positive, energy-infused moments of inspiration and motivation?
Positivity is a vital component of our confidence and happiness and while many of us are happy to lavish compliments and love on others we are often found wanting when it comes to how we treat ourselves. In fact we go in the opposite direction. We reject or play down compliments we receive, challenge positivity and constantly deny our own strengths, to those around us and, more importantly, to ourselves. Often we allow our minds to churn over recycled criticisms, limitations and disparaging comments about ourselves without even realising.
When we catch a glimpse of ourselves in a mirror our minds are so quick to point out the ‘negatives’, we shy away from cameras for fear of not looking ‘our best’ and we don’t have the confidence to push ourselves out of our comfort zone for fear of failing due to a lack of belief in our own strengths.
Perhaps we are conditioned to play down our positive attributes in public so we don’t come across as arrogant but constantly demeaning ourselves to ourselves is harmful as it sets the tone of our inner language and thoughts which shape everything we think about and believe. Many of us are extremely harsh and critical about ourselves, in fact, if we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves we probably wouldn’t have many friends!
So how do we break free of these negative thought patterns? Like anything worth having you have to work at it, train the mind and try to catch it in the act of self-sabotage. What you focus on grows so if your mind is constantly fixating on what you can’t do of course you will struggle and flounder. With a little guidance the voice in your head can be your main motivator. First you need to tune in and really listen to the thoughts that roam around your mind. Are they generous? Supportive? Kind? Helpful? If they are not, ignore them! Override any negative responses and replace them with new ones. Just simple affirmations such as “I can do this” will bolster your self-belief.
Instead of labelling something ‘a problem’ re-categorize it as an opportunity for development, a challenge or an experience to learn from. The narrator in your head is capable of amazing things. If you started a marathon thinking “I can’t do this, I won’t finish, I need to stop” how far do you think you’d make it? Reinforce every moment of your day with positive words “I can, I will, I want to, I love it!”
Think of it as self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you tell yourself you can’t, shouldn’t or won’t do something the less likely it is to happen. You can, you should, you will! Invite your mind to bolster your strength and if you are feeling low remember to express gratitude for all the good things in your life.
“…if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
― Roald Dahl, The Twits
And remember, the gracious response to any compliment is always “Thank you”!
Think happy, be happy!