healthymind

Beware of Positive Thinking - It's not always good for you

Yes believe it or not positive thinking isn't always good for you. Actually there are times when trying to turn a negative feeling or event into a positive one can be bad for you. Why?

Because in a nutshell, life isn't always about things going our way, life isn't always great, perfect and plain sailing. Sometimes life is just hard, painful and difficult. This continuous need to think positively is causing us to get sick. Personally I am fed up of all this positive talk, all this inspirational and motivational speak. You know why I'm fed up?

Because until we grow up and accept that we live well even when things do not go as we want. Until we stop this delusion that we can make everything better just by being positive, we will continue to suffer.

Depression is often caused by not feeling good enough or somehow not being like everyone else. Thoughts such as

"everyone else has their shit together, what's wrong with me?"

Even though we know we are all messed up and it's about time to admit it.

Let's stop this constant "think positive thoughts and everything will be great" or worse "if you think it, you will attract it!" - come on it's delusional and definitely not healthy.

What can you do to live better?

So it sounds like I'm being negative but I'm not. I am worried about all these people who get told to cheer up, smile, think positive and deny what they actually feel. I want to help the people I work with who are led to believe that all they need to do is be positive, when that's the last thing they can be.

I'm fed up of listening to people who are in denial about their own emotional health telling others what to do. And yes I will put my hands up and say, I'm not perfect, I don't have all the answers and yes I'm a mess. Of course I am, just as we all are. But it is my very acceptance and awareness of all of this that helps me live in this messed up world, pretty happy most of the time.

I worry about the affect all this positive talk is having on our children. We are not teaching our children how to deal with real life. We are not preparing ourselves for the hard times.

It's time to face the truth and then do something with it. It's time for us to take responsibility to help all those people who are stuck in depression, anxiety and stress being told to just be positive!!

When you feel down, what should you do?

In life there are only a few certainties, one is that we are born and the other is that we will die. In between that we have very little control, we are guaranteed to experience a whole host of good things and bad things. And when everything is going great, we are happy. Easy to be positive now, right?

But when things are not as we want them, when we are going through hard times, then we get depressed, stressed, unhappy and we fight to push this "bad" thing away. However what would happen if we learnt to just sit with this feeling, emotion and experience?

What would happen if we knew how to be when things are not as we want them to be?

To be still when things are not as we want is true happiness and it is liberating.

Some would call this resilience. I call it inner peace. A sense of inside all is quiet, still and safe.

To achieve this inner stillness even when things are not great and not as you want them, you need to practice how to stay still. In Mindfulness we use several practices, one being meditation. In meditation we learn about our mind and how to better relate to it.

And remember that nothing stays the same.

The bad news is nothing lasts forever, the good news is nothing lasts for ever 

Why positive thinking is bad for your health?

Trying to think positive when you are actually feeling bad about something means you are denying your true feelings and that keeps wounds open. Over time these feelings will manifest into something else, either physically or emotionally.

So perhaps it's time to say how you feel, just open up about your real emotions. As soon as you are able to accept your true feelings and emotions, the quicker you will be able to deal with them.

As a society we should just as easily be comfortable with negative feelings as we are with positive ones. We should be able to accept when others are not happy and positive, otherwise we become a society in denial. A society that can only function when everything is great. This alienates people and stops us from being real, authentic and human.

It isn't the things that happen to us that cause us to suffer, it's how we relate to the things that happen to us that cause us to suffer - Pema Chodron

Surely it is better to strengthen our resilience rather than pretending all it takes is a positive attitude?

Surely it's better to work on our attitude to negative stuff than to pretend there is no negative stuff?

 

A woman's true Value by Jennifer Aniston

This morning I was taken in by the article written by Jennifer Aniston addressing her experience of being constantly objectified in the news. And while most of us women are not faced with the constant media attention, what we struggle with is mainstream societies view on women.

From a personal perspective I've always been a little out of the box even as a child and as such found trying to fit into this female role most frustrating. For me it's been the view that a woman's value is aligned to her external appearance. That somehow she is less worthy if she doesn't fit into a size 8, 10 or whatever the standard is today. Or that she doesn't wear the right clothes and make up. 

Just like Jennifer Aniston, I'm also fed up of listening to the constant reference to women as a "thing" to look at. Surely beauty is much more than skin and bones? After all isn't the body just a collection of organs covered with skin and bones? It's so ridiculous that it's laughable, yet so many women are sold by this view point.  

What's worse is that this objectification is often from women towards other women and that makes it more infuriating. In some ways it is understandable for men to be seeing women in this way, they are conditioned by society and don't know how it feels to be a woman. But when other women criticize and judge each other based on body shape, it is shameful. Don't get me wrong, there is no justification to objectify anyone, man or woman. My point is that if women are doing it to each other, how do we expect things to change?

The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. - Jennifer Aniston

Before you speak - think! - Words are damaging

As a mindfulness practitioner I like to think I help people raise awareness to the importance of mindful speech and how thoughtless words have an impact on others. Silly remarks about a girls appearance as she is growing up plays a huge part in how she values herself and can shape her self worth.

Yes we can tell a girl she is beautiful but when we say it, we must let them know that beauty is the whole person, not her body, not hair or clothes. Beauty is the mind, the compassion, the attitude and the capacity to be a loving being. 

We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.

The constant focus on what a woman looks like, her relationship status and her role in society is damaging. It needs to change and it needs to start with us women.

A message to all the "thin, so called beautiful women" - Get over yourself!

As a mother of three men I'm proud to say I've raised men that see women as equals. And from my experience, most men do not want women who are beautiful on the outside. Let's give men more credit than we do, not all men are superficial. If you are attracting men into your life that do not value you or see your worth past what you look like, then perhaps you should ask yourself why?

Right Speech, right view, right intention - from the Noble Eight Fold Path in Buddha's teachings.

Mindfulness and Self Awareness

Before I leave you thinking, what does any of this have to do with Mindfulness, let me explain. Mindfulness is about raising your awareness, it's about letting go of limiting beliefs because they all start and end in the mind. Mindfulness is about practicing being present in the moment and this requires letting the past be in the past. 

Mindfulness above all is about you becoming the best person you can be, about reaching a state where you are at peace with life and fully accept what is, this moment.

Through Mindfulness we see that we are all the same, we all have the same struggles in life. And putting others down to make ourselves feel better comes purely from an egotistic point of view and that damages us more than it damages anyone else.

So perhaps next time before you judge others, you can stop to ask yourself why?