Positivity & Negativity 2022 Where To Start
28 June 2022 | Admin
Positivity and negativity 2022 want to change?
Where to start with me...
With everything that has been going on in the world over the last two years and only halfway through 2022 it seems that everywhere you look social media we see memes and quotes on positivity contradicted by endless news concentrating on negativity.
Quotes and memes telling us to ‘look on the bright side’ ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ etc. Endless videos of fluffy kittens and dewy-eyed puppies may well bring a warmth to our hearts as we scroll down, and then bang some bad news jumps from our screen! Newspapers and television blast out negativity, our anxiety and fear levels go up, we get stressed, we worry.
All these thoughts on events close to home and elsewhere in Europe, the pandemic, which is still with us, and now, as if things weren’t bad enough the fuel crisis, inflation and rising interest rates, not to mention the very real situation many people find themselves in of having to choose between heating and eating.
Take a couple of deep breaths, just allow yourself to stop and catch up with your thoughts and let’s just delve a little into how we can begin to develop some positive strategies to reduce negativity and build some mental resilience. Yes, absolutely we need to be kept informed, but we really don’t gain any benefit from the constant negativity which we can become completely immersed in from some social media, newspapers and television.
If we can clear some bandwidth in our brains and make a little bit of space, free up some of our RAM (I love using computer metaphors). If we can just allow ourselves to lay the negativity to one side for a few moments and enrich our brains and thought processes with useful positive direction.
So again, just go with me on this, take a couple of really deep breaths in and out and allow your mind to slow down a little, try to cut out other distractions, and we’ll get stuck in.
I’d like to start with a favourite inspirational quote I came across back in the days when I was studying psychotherapy.
“The future is both created and negotiable.”
Think about that for a moment – REALLY think about that statement for a moment and you can begin to realise the implications of what it means for you. It is not a subjective statement; it is a literal one. Your future is created – it must be because it doesn’t exist yet, it is yet to be created. So, why not just take a moment to explore in your mind exactly what that means for you. Who do you think is going to actually create your future? Our lifestyles, commitments and circumstances will of course dictate it to some degree – but to how much? If you think ahead with a clear head, where you concentrate solely on your preferred future outcome then you may begin to realise just how much of your future can be and is created by you. Which brings me nicely onto the second point.
Your future is negotiable, you can change it, negotiate it, craft it, tailor it to suit and shape it.
If you take a few moments to allow your mind to explore just a little into what your created and self-negotiated future could be then you will begin to realise exactly how beneficial some rational and positive thinking strategies can be. When you can think clearly without all that negativity swirling around in your head, a forward strategy can be developed.
I love simple, evidence based, science backed solutions and strategies. The modern psychotherapy I practice is based around the latest neuroscientific evidence.
For example, it was only a few decades ago that the scientific community thought that it was impossible to generate new brain cells. It was always assumed that as adults we ceased to generate new brain cells and that what we had in our grey matter as adults was fixed. Now, thanks to modern technology and the ability to scan the brain in real time we know that our brains do in fact generate new brain cells, we call this neurogenesis.
Similarly, huge progress has been made in terms of neuroplasticity and the ability of the neuro pathways in our brains to change and reorganise throughout our lives, meaning quite simply we can learn new things at any age. Again such things are no longer theories but proven scientific facts thanks to the advent of CT scans etc.
OK, that’s as technical as I need to get in a short blog, but put in plain English, you are not too old to learn anything and yes it is not only possible, but relatively easy to change your thought processes, gaining more positivity and ditching the negativity.
So, back to the subject of positivity and negativity.
Feelings of anxiety, depression and fear are all caused by negative thinking.
In basic terms we have an intellectual side to our brain, it’s the part you are using now to read these words, it’s the part of you that you know as you. It is the part of our brain we use to rationalise and strategize, we don’t share this part with other animals. When we use this part of our brain we generally make the right decisions and get things right in life.
We also have a primitive side to our brain, known as the fight/flight/freeze part, it is known by other nicknames such as our monkey brain.
This part of the brain will kick in when faced with imminent danger, for example if you turned the corner and bumped into a polar bear. It would kick in, you would go sweaty, your heartbeat would increase, your stomach would turn over, and you would be off like a shot.
That is all well and good, that is exactly what that part of the brain is designed to do.
The problems arise when we get stressed, anxious, overwhelmed by day-to-day things which are perhaps getting on top of us’ or when things have built up slowly over time. This side of the brain will kick in to try to help us, it is there to protect us from danger.
In very basic terms, when we are in the primitive side of our brain we are on alert, we can then easily get into negative thinking cycles. The fight/flight/freeze side of our brains will always look at things from the worst possible perspective, it is programmed to do this for our survival. This side of the brain is not innovative, it is not an intellect, it cannot plan what to do and refers to previous patterns of behaviour.
It is also an obsessional mind and is hyper-vigilant, it will begin to look for danger all around and keep us on red-alert.
This will promote even more negative thinking and before you know it you are in a constant negative thinking mindset. A vicious cycle of negative thought patterns that you cannot shake yourself out of.
Positivity and Negativity what we can do
This type of negative thinking and the patterns that go with it, can and do accumulate, you may have seen me refer to the metaphorical ‘stress bucket’ in some of my other writing or when I have been interviewed. So how do we empty our stress buckets?
Well the human brain is a marvellous thing, and when we are functioning well it has a good way of processing all this negativity, storing it all as a narrative memory. In other words the events are stored away without a large amount of emotion attached to them. This happens when we get the right amount of quality REM sleep. You will wake up the next day having forgotten about whatever may have bothered you the day before, or if not forgotten you will certainly have put it into perspective.
However, when we don’t get the right amount of REM sleep our mental wellbeing can really take a hit. Our REM is restricted to around 20% of our sleep patterns. If we try to overdo that the mind will wake you up. You will know when this is happening because you will wake up, wide awake, often quite miserable and unable to get back to sleep again. You will no doubt know the difference between that and being woken up by a car alarm going off or the telephone ringing.
And so starts another day of negativity, being on edge, not being able to think straight and making bad decisions.
How about something positive to finish off with then?
Well positivity can be self-perpetuating. The trick is to start with a good night’s sleep. Once you have done that you can wake up feeling refreshed and thinking logically from the intellectual side of the brain. You will be thinking clearly and rationally. If you can think clearly you can think positively and get on an upward cycle.
All well and good you might say, but how do I begin sleeping better?
If you would like to make a start on sleeping better then I have a gift for you as a thank you for reading my blog.
My relaxation recording is available for you to download completely free of charge. If you play it when you go to bed it will help you to drift off into a natural and refreshing sleep, allowing your mind to do its’ thing whilst you go into a blissfully relaxing sleep.
Just click on this image and follow the instructions to download the full version completely free of charge, it’s yours to keep and it’s fine if you would like to share the link with others.
Thanks for reading this edition. If you would like to know more about the therapy I offer then please check out the rest of my website. I offer worldwide therapy via zoom and also have a private practice for face-to-face therapy in Preston Lancashire. I am also available for corporate mental wellbeing events in the UK either in person or via zoom.
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