I know that in “It’s a choice – Part 2” I mentioned that this post would be about how nutrition contributes to making positive choices, but on further reflection I decided that it is not only obvious, but it is something you can research on your own. I don’t want to insult your intelligence with some rant regarding the virtues of veganism or admonishing simple sugars from you diet. You know what you should be doing, so just do it; remember the saying garbage in, garbage out. It’s not that I won’t write about nutrition, it is is just that there are other things that need to be said regarding choosing a positive path that are maybe less obvious than nutrition.
In “It’s a choice – Part 2” I mentioned that to set the stage for positive outcomes you must prepare yourself with supporting practices such as yoga, walking, or running in the morning, followed by meditation and affirmations. While I am resolute in my support of these practices, I can tell you that they only provide the environment where positive thoughts can grow. Yoga, walking, running, meditation and affirmations are analogous to tilling and watering the soil so crops can grow, but without an adequate amount of sunshine there will be no harvest. This post is about the other factors, that must come into play so that you can reap the harvest of a positive attitude and approach towards your life.
Let’s look at three things you can and must do to make that positive choice in your life on a daily basis.
- Cultivating Self Awareness
- Living in the present
- Being Grateful
Cultivating self awareness should be near the top of your list because without it you will find making daily corrections nearly impossible. If you can have enough awareness to know that a negative stimuli is about to create a negative response you are in a pretty good position to choose a different response. Self awareness allows you to realize when you are starting to go of course and make a correction, otherwise you are likely to continue down whatever negative path you started to go down. These paths might be anger, resentment, a feeling of superiority, or some other negative behavior. Just don’t let self awareness result in some form of self incrimination or guilt. Know that being self aware is a big step in changing or at least minimizing negative behavior, for without it you are just a member of the large group of reacting beings and you know what that often results in.
I’ve written about living in the present in the past, but the importance of it can never be stressed enough. True focus is always in the present and the present is also where happiness exists, certainly not in looking back, and not in the future. There is a quote I really like by Esther Hicks:
“Your life is right now! It’s not later! It’s not in the time of retirement. It’s not when the lover gets here. It’s not when you’ve moved into the new house. It’s not when you get the better job. Your life is right now. It will always be right now. You might at as well decide to start enjoying your life right now, because it’s not ever going to get better than right now-until it gets better right now!”
I think this quote says it better than I could ever say it. Live in the present if you can and you will have become one of the few that understands the absolute power in doing so.
If you struggle with finding ways to appreciate your life, you are probably missing the feeling of being grateful. You will note I didn’t say trying to be grateful, but really feeling grateful or blessed for what you have. If you cannot find a way to feel grateful for what you have you will always be in a state of wanting. People who live their life appreciating what they have will be much happier than those that are always unsatisfied and wanting more. There are a number of ways you might do this, like daily journals, or going over a list of things you are grateful for, but whatever method you choose it must be a daily occurrence or the mind will wander into the future and your ego will get the best of you. I like to review the 10 or 15 things I am grateful for both big and small things after I am done meditating; this seems to ground me for the day. Another way to feel grateful is to simply look around you, and observe those in the world that have so little; you don’t need to look far.
Finally it is the person that performs these things everyday that reaps the true benefit. I find myself that when I miss my meditation session, which then causes me to miss saying my affirmations and thinking about what I am grateful for, the rest of my day is almost always less satisfying, more stressful, and not a lot of fun. This preparation of your body and mind each days is essential to obtaining the right frame of mind to make positive behavioral choices. I get up at 4:30 a.m. each day and by 5:30 a.m. I am out the door for a run/walk or on my yoga mat, back by 6:00 a.m. to meditate and wrap it up with some affirmations and making sure I am grateful. This might seem extreme, but it is this kind of preparation that gives me the energy and a positive attitude to deal with all the work day challenges.
Try this for a couple of weeks and you will begin to reap the rewards.