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Adopting a new way of thinking for 2021

28 January 2021

5 mins

For many of us, January can feel like a challenging time of year – payday can feel so far away, the weather outside is cold and dark, and with the added impact of being in a national lockdown, our mental health is also significantly affected.

In this blog post, the University’s Chaplain for Brahma Kumaris and Sikh communities, and Positive Thinking Course facilitator Natalie Steel explains how we can change the way we think to feel more positive about ourselves and our lives.

Positive thinking is about having a good look at yourself, because the most important person in your life is YOU.

Let us use our mind and thoughts in a positive way; we have thousands of thoughts arising in the mind every day. If you were to consider your mind to be your best friend, how would you treat it?  

Sometimes we try to suppress or battle with our thoughts. However, if we cultivate a friendship with our mind, then it will co-operate with us and create thoughts that are positive and beneficial. We can do this through developing positive self-talk, and learn to love, accept and appreciate our mind, and ourselves.   

How we think impacts the way we feel, our words and our behaviour. The first step is to become more aware of what is going on in our own minds.

We can change the way we think and how we are triggered by external factors such as people, possessions and circumstances.

For example, I may say: “It’s raining today, I feel miserable.”

I am actually feeling miserable due to the thoughts I am creating about the weather. Instead, let’s change it to: “It’s raining, so let me look at changing my plans today – no problem.”

I am not generating a negative thought and therefore there’s no low feeling. We need to be cautious because if I do not change my pattern of thinking, I will start to develop a habit of blaming external factors for the way I am feeling. This will block me in looking at myself and taking responsibility for my own thoughts, words and actions. 

Thoughts are like seeds and will grow in my mind – are you planting seeds of positivity or seeds of negativity?

There are four types of thoughts: ordinary, waste, negative and positive. Thoughts are energy. Using positive thoughts will affect your mind, your body, your relationships and the atmosphere around you.

Positive thoughts create good energy and uplift yourself and others around you. Positive thoughts give rise to feeling motivated, enthusiastic and will renew your energy levels too.

Take another example. You might live with someone who is quite messy and often think or say to yourself “Why can’t they just put things back in the right place?”.

If you say this with irritation or anger and follow it with more comments – you not only upset yourself, but others around you too. You may find what you’re looking for but in the process, you have distressed yourself and others which may require an apology later on. Often, feelings of guilt come from our own negative reaction to a situation.

Negativity has no place in my mind – keep having this determined thought. Replace anger with peace.

I am peaceful. I am calm. I am relaxed.

I keep bringing these thoughts into my mind. Thoughts create feelings. I start to feel good because I am generating good thoughts. 

We can change the way we think by a technique known as SOS – Stand back, Observe, Steer:  

  1. Stand back – Create a space for yourself. Stand back from your mind and from the influence of your thoughts.  
  2. Observe – Without judgement, watch and see how you are thinking. Watch your attitude, your perception, and your beliefs.  
  3.  Steer – Gently, not with force, direct your thoughts in a positive way. Create thoughts that will bring benefit to yourself and others.  

When I implement this, I become emotionally free as I realise ‘my happiness’ is up to me to create from within. I start to manage my mind and the level of happiness I would like in my life. I am no longer waiting for others to make me feel good (otherwise, I could be waiting a long time!).

I have a choice about how I think – so today I choose to observe my mind and be more self-aware. I am a positive person, I can change.

I encourage you to change your own thoughts to enable you to think, feel and behave more positively to yourself and to those around you. 

“Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”  – Frank Outlaw 

Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.

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