Books, Encouragement, Recommendations, Social Media/Blogs

Choose Joy part 6

Surround yourself with Positivity

If you are cultivating a joyful environment and doing more things that make you happy you are doing a lot of this already. But there were just a few things I thought should be touched on still. Some of this is easy, but a lot of it requires digging deep and being very mindful of your surroundings.

The Power of Positive Thinking

I recently read The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking by self-proclaimed atheist and skeptic Matthew Hutson. In his book he explores the various ways believing in magical things that aren’t true benefit us anyway. And while I don’t necessarily agree that all the things he says ar magical don’t really exist, I love how he uses research to show how we can benefit from certain things. One of the myths of magical thinking he tackles is the mind’s unlimited ability to manifest things in our lives. Mr. Hutson concluded that this way of thinking works mostly as a self fulfilling prophecy. When you believe you can you are more likely to take the risks needed to achieve your goal.

Let’s say two people are both given roses and they both prick their finger on a thorn. The first person throws the offending flower away, complains about the pain, and then continues to focus on all the unfortunate things that happen or could happen the rest of the day. The second person bandages their finger and puts the rose in a vase, and then continues the day with a light and happy heart because someone gave then a beautiful gift. Who is going to pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers next week? Believe that life is beautiful in spite of it’s thorns and it will be.

A positive midset is the key. Even if you have suffered a few too many cuts or an infection from life’s thorns lately, you can do this.

Positive affirmations

This is easy to set up, a little harder to follow through on. Take a few index cards and write down some of your struggles and negative self thoughts. Now cross that out and write the word LIE across the top. Flip the card over and write a positive truth, even if you don’t feel it yet or have to work toward getting there. Hang that card up somewhere you will see it everyday or several times a day, and say your truth out loud every time you see it.

Here’s the hardest one I’m working on right now. LIE I am lazy. TRUTH I work to my full capacity. Honestly this would be even better if I substituted “potential” for “capacity”, but my energy isn’t what it use to be and giving myself a little grace is also a struggle for me right now so I am actively focusing on smaller and immediately realistic affirmations. But don’t be afraid to set big long term goals.

If you are feeling stumped or not ready to dig that deep find so affirmations or quotes that inspire you and print those out to hang around your home. Here’s a few to get you started:

Social Media

Social Media can be amazing, but it can also be crippling. It really depends on how you use it. If you can’t help but compare the highlights of your friends lives’ to the lows of yours or feel pressured to fabricate a perfect life to post, it’s time to seriously cut back. If your feed is full of angry politics and news about everything that is wrong in the world, it’s time to carefully re-evaluate what pages you follow.

A study by Dr. John Gottman found that in a healthy marriage you require five positive interactions to balance every negative interaction. This can be applied to so many other relationships, including your relationship with social media. Do what you can to get your feed to a 5:1 ratio for the best experience. Follow pages that bring you joy, limit your friends list to people you are legitimately friends with, and do a little clean up once in a while.

And for the love of God, avoid the comment section! (I’m guilty!)

Keep Positive Company

“You become like the five people you spend the most time with” floats around the internet, self improvement circles, and entrepreneurial settings. I believe this theory can be attributed to Jim Rohn, although I am currently unfamiliar with his work. I’ve seen this enough to feel confident in repeating the theory. Some would say that this means you should spend the most time with people who are “better” than you. I think it means that, in as much as you can control it, the people you spend the most time with should bring something to the table.

My inner circle of five is currently my three youngest children, my husband, and my friend, Marie. My three-year-old brings unstoppable confidence. My 5-year-old sees beauty in absolutely everything and delights in it. My 7-year-old has set a huge long-term goal and is working hard to obtain it. My husband gives me grace when I am frustrated by my limits and reminds me rest and to work within my limits in order to reach my full potential. Marie has heaved me up from rock bottom and infused my goals with energy when they are lacking. Beyond them, my circle of friends is full of people who inspire or encourage me in some way.

I find this idea to be true not thanks to the wonderful people in my life, but because of a recent dark period in my life. Not long ago, and not entirely by choice, my circle had a growing number of people with toxic behavior and it sent me spiraling. It also brought out some behavior in myself that I am not very proud of. Thankfully through some deliberate changes in how I spend my time and energy, and boundary setting where I couldn’t change, I’ve managed to change my environment. With one exception, the people with the most toxic behavior have seen themselves out of my life, the exception’s phone number has been blocked, and others have been moved to outer circles. That is not always possible if you are being held down by coworkers or family, but just keep moving those people outward as far as you can, and bring in the ones who lift you up for as much time as you can find.

Thank you

So that is it. That is how I choose joy and choose a happier life. I hope you have found some nuggets that enrich your life and/or some resources to explore the topic more. Thank you for indulging me in a lengthy series at a pace that I can work steadily at. I have once again become more deliberate at these things since starting the series and am so much happier and at peace that I was five weeks ago. I’m still working to re-establish these healthy happy habits, but thanks to you, dear readers, I am succeeding. I hope you are too.

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