Having an upbeat or positive outlook may come easily to some of us. But with life issues, experiences and cultural pressures, it can make possessing a sense of positivity more tricky for others. Put simply, we can liken positivity to art.
What? Come again? Positivity as an art?
In a sense, yes, positivity is an art. Just as with sketching, painting or drawing, positivity requires a certain amount of creative aptitude. With each new life experience, especially during times of crisis, we need to know how to 1) embrace or maintain an encouraging outlook, and 2) see the "good" in our situation.
One of the most effective means to being capable of doing both these two skills is being able to come back to your center, to stay balanced and as neutral as possible. To get yourself back to center as quickly as possible, you need to be able to embrace the practice of meditation. We know meditation is a technique that for some may need the assistance of focusing on something such as a candle, your breath, or a picture when your're unable to hold your concentration. It is when you take meditation to the next level that you begin to involve your imaginative element and artist essence of meditation. It is here at this point that your outlook on life really begins to change. Positivity begins to grow to be part of your essence, which at last makes it possible for you to grow and be open during time of challenge or crisis to remain neutral and centered.
There are several studies that show meditation supports a healthy way of life and is considered one of greatest resources to reducing your anxiety. When your stress is being reduced and handled efficiently, your outlook on life also begins to improve, consequently creating an upward spiral in all areas of your life. Individuals practicing meditation on a regular basis know personally how meditation supports their ability to remain calm and centered.
Meditating regularly will allow you to achieve a deeper awareness of yourself through your observation of what happens in your mind. You will be able to gain valuable insight into who you truly are and how you're managing the situations around you. The following are three practical meditation approaches to support and boost your self-esteem, self-recognition and overall positivity. These three meditation tools can be done in order or individually.
1. Meditating with an empty mind to identify the underlying emotion and core value being triggered.
This is the challenging technique, as it simply works with a clear and settled mind. It takes roughly three to five minutes to turn off your mind from your "normal" thoughts or thinking activity. You will need to be comfortable; lying down on a bed or seated in a chair. Begin to clear your mind from all the distractions of the outside world. Allow your mind to be free from all worries; disengage from actively thinking of tasks, projects, individuals etc. When you become aware that your thoughts are sneaking back in or you get distracted, bring your concentration back to emptying your mind by focusing on your breath. As you practice this meditation element, the time your mind is "empty" will increase. Remember to be gentle with yourself as well as patient. As you are able to hold your focus longer on being open, the easier it will be to identify the emotion and core value that the events of your day have triggered.
During times of crisis or unexpected situations, being able to quickly quiet and connect with your inner center faster will help you identify the emotion and begin to move into processing and gaining the understanding you seek. When we have this level of clarity, our outlook immediately improves and we being to feel empowered to act.
2. Meditating on your identity to connect the emotion and core value to re-establish your sense of balance.
This meditation approach is deceptively easy and amazingly powerful, so don't underestimate it. There are two parts, and the first is begin by relaxing and asking the question "Who am I?" Concentrate your thoughts exclusively on the question and your mind's attempts to satisfy it. Be conscious that your mind's first responses most likely will be to express the labels used about you (e.g., your name or what you do). Don't analyze the responses from your mind; simply ask the question again and again to extract all the labels and information your mind has regarding you without being able to exclaim who you are. Keep repeating the question, with full attention, until your mind begins to grasp that it cannot offer you a accurate answer.
This is a profound experience of transcending the common mind, which is one of the goals of nearly all meditation techniques. Remember, your ordinary mind may feel threatened by this question and, being clever, will attempt everything to persuade you this is a waste of time and of no use. Be patient, take your time and ask once more "Who am I?" And above all else, focus on your breath if feelings of frustration arise.
When you arrive at the place of calmness that there is actually no correct answer, you've re-established your center and can move onto the second part: connecting the underlying emotion and core value. When you know the underlying emotion that's holding you in a negative perspective and which core value is being triggered, you can learn how they're connected and be able to rephrase this connection from a positive view point and a greater self-awareness, thus resulting in your becoming more optimistic.
3. Meditating with self-awareness, empowering you to execute the actions necessary.
For continued growth in the area of awareness of self, it's significant to be experiencing self; that is, again, every so often taking the time to look at yourself and what it is you're doing and learning what it is you need to do to . Examine what you're experiencing, especially if your mind is telling you what you're doing is unpleasant. If you simply agree to, without question, your mind's narrative you may feel anxiety, discomfort, pressure or other negative emotions. But if by focusing your awareness you learn to resist (What your mind has shared with you as unpleasant.) and submerge yourself with full concentration in what you're doing (that is, you entirely face it), you may well discover all the negative, power-sapping effects evaporate because the "fear" engendered by your mind was a label for the experience rather than the experience itself. Meditate with your self-consciousness and become free of the self-sabotage your ordinary mind can produce. Self-sabotage and damaging self-talk are the leading reasons behind a negative outlook. As you release the act of self-sabotage, you will gain the ability to identify which actions are in your best interest to be engaged in, allowing you to improve your ability to remain centered during times of crisis and emergency.
These three meditation tools can work in tandem or individually. If you're an individual who sees the glass as half-empty, to see the glass half-full will take practice and determination. This change will not happen overnight, but the skill of holding a positive outlook will enable you to see the good in the situations you experience. The greater your level of positivity, the sooner you will see your gift. Remember, your outlook doesn't need to be upbeat 100% of the time. But when we're confronted with challenges that look bigger than life, a positive outlook will allow you to move through it quicker and with a feeling of stability and grace.
Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.
To your success!
Coach Karen K
Life Coach and Business Coach Karen Kleinwort is the founder Therapy in Transition and is a Certified Professional Coach specializing in the integration of her clients' minds, bodies and spirits into her Personal Empowerment Coaching practice. For more information, visit www.coachkarenk.com, www.therapyintransition.org .