This winter, I conducted an experiment. It lasted two months and it absolutely changed my life.
The first month, I decided that every morning, as soon as I got up, I would download all of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences into my journal.
My intention was to be brutally honest with myself. As much as I could, I wanted to be aware of everything my mind was thinking. It didn’t matter if it was stupid, whiney, judgmental, or full of blame. I put it all out there in the spirit of inquiry, ready to play detective in my own inner world.
To my astonishment, I realized that my mind was throwing a negativity party.
When I gave myself full permission to write anything and everything that was going on in my mind, I became acutely aware of what my subconscious had been up to the whole time. And it wasn’t pretty.
In all honesty, I thought I was a positive person. Sure, I knew I was human and had my bad days. Occasionally, I had very bad days where I was a grumpy, frustrated, unhappy woman.
But, ultimately, I thought of myself as a person who always tried to look at the bright side. At least I knew I tried to be that way for others.
Deep down, it wasn’t how I was acting with myself.
Thanks to this daily writing exercise, I noticed that there was a thought behind every feeling I had. And those thoughts were driving me unconsciously.
If I felt low or bad or angry or tired, there was a thought behind that feeling.
And if I was feeling happy, enthusiastic, joyful, or at peace, there was a thought behind those too.
So the next month, I decided to do it differently. I wrote the same amount every morning, but I told myself I could only write in the positive. If a negative thought arose as I was writing, I had to turn it around in my mind before I wrote it down.
Sometimes, I wasn’t sure if what I was going to write was true, but I wrote it anyway. And, as I continued to write, I began to start BELIEVING it as truth.
I’d heard the adage of “fake till you make it” but after little time, I really didn’t have to fake anything at all.
I realized it was SO easy to start experiencing my thoughts with lightness, joy, and gratitude.
When I finished recording my “positive download” each morning, I felt energized, vibrant, light, and prepared to meet the day with enthusiasm and confidence.
Positive thinking was totally transforming my days. I was becoming a believer in it.
I soon became practiced, and I started tracking my feelings throughout the day. If I didn’t feel joyful and peaceful in any moment, I knew there was a negative thought behind it.
My work became to quickly identify that thought and flip it. I immediately looked for the opportunity, lesson, acceptance, or gratitude that emerged from whatever I was experiencing. More than becoming half-full, my cup was overflowing with joy.
To put it mildly: This process is very powerful.
Truth is, 50% of the time, we feel negative feelings. That’s just how life is. It’s foolish to think that life is just lollipops and rainbows. We need to allow our feelings— good and bad— to rise up and pass.
But, when a negative feeling grabs hold, it’s important to realize that it’s here to teach us something. These feelings are here to help you so you can grow and become the person you desire to be.
In these moments you’re called to remember that you have a CHOICE and get to DECIDE what thoughts you want to have and how they get to govern your feelings.
I’d like to encourage you to check in with yourself when you aren’t experiencing joy or lightness. Try it today, this week, for the next month, or for even longer.
Easily and gently ask yourself, “What am I thinking right now? What is the thought?”
And then, without giving the thought any attention, without believing it, without making a big deal about it or resisting it, switch it to the positive.
Even if it sounds delusional to be positive about everything, wouldn’t you rather have joy and believe in the positive rather than believe anything else?
I wish you an abundance of happiness in your life!