This morning as I sat in front of my laptop thinking about my next blog I received an email reply from my father. A brief rewind… my parents are in the process of preparing for retirement. We have convinced them to leave sunny San Diego and come here to Maine, at least part-time. Things are now starting to progress and we are now preparing to build an attachment on to our house. There has been a lot of discussion back and forth on design, location, etc. The hottest of topics… a garage.
This was the dialogue this morning…
Husband (via steel maritime vessel): “What about a carport instead of a full walled garage?
Me: “No way the old man will agree. He has to wipe down his car every day. He’ll have a hellava time doing it on days like today. (We got another foot of slushy snow).
Husband: “What if we got horses and hitching posts instead?”
Me: “I’m in!”
Father: “There’s always a smart ass in the crowd. We can always say the hell with it altogether and there are no worries.”
A conversation that could have been silly banter back and forth quickly turned sour and negative. This quick email exchange made me realize that it’s easy to fall prey to negative thinking. Having negative thoughts can cause a fog where it’s almost impossible to loosen up, have fun, and see the brighter side.
Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome.
As we all know when we start to have negative thoughts, shifting our focus to something positive is much easier said than done. But, I have found, it’s the only way I can personally get turned around. Nothing gets me moving in the right direction more easily than “choosing” to look for the silver lining in my life. Frankly, I just don’t have time to be or deal with a Nasty Nelly.
I’m not saying everyone should walk around happy all day long, skipping down the street, whistling show tunes. I’m also not saying that happy thoughts is the cure all for every ailment known to mankind. What I am saying is that if we all just lighten up just a little bit we can avoid going down a path that can be potentially painful and unnecessary.
It wasn’t long ago where “I chose” to see the worst in everything. If I had to pick a phrase my husband would use to describe this time it would be the “duck and cover” period. He even got the kids in to it. When he would calmly say, “Hey, I think it’s going to be a full moon tonight” it was code speak for, “Mommy is going to go bug crap crazy soon. Seek cover.” To this day if my kids see a full moon I can hear them whisper, “uh oh”.
Fortunately for me, my third child was born, and “I chose” to re-focus on my family and home. As a way to reinforce my newly acquired outlook I decided to start a blog and began to enjoy the life around me.
Here are some things I do to help overcome negative thoughts, perhaps they’ll work for you, too:
1. Meditate or do Yoga.
My favorite is hot yoga. When the husband is away I do what I can at home, especially with a little one. Even listening to meditation music at night before bed does wonders. I’m blessed I have two older children who, believe it or not, dim the lights, turn on the music, take the baby, and just let me relax. Who cares if it’s only for 5 minutes before the crying and fighting starts. 5 minutes is better than nothing! Meditation and yoga helps me stay present – the only moment, the most important moment.
We all gotta do it. It really does help change your mood and relieve stress. And, believe it or not, it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
3. Surround yourself with positive people.
When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking. Whether it’s a Facebook group I’m part of, fellow bloggers, or a neighbor, surrounding ones’ self with those who encourage and support me in my goals keeps us positive.
4. Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive.
You don’t know how many times my husband calls/emails and tells me his schedule has changed and won’t be home when expected. The old me would instantly freak out and get mad. And, yes, perhaps, a few threats of divorce. What I failed to see is that the change was not his doing. So, as a family, we make do with the cards we are dealt, and remain thankful for our strong family unit that is fortunate enough to live in a beautiful state.
5. Don’t play the victim. You create your life – take responsibility.
If I am unhappy with a situation I think of what I can do to change it. We always have the choice to make change happen.
6. Help Someone.
Every so often I like to take the focus away from me and do something nice for another person. I admit, though, my husband is much better at this than I am. When the Nemo blizzard hit I plowed the driveway of an older couple up the street from my home. I am no expert snow plower… I only took out a small tree, a flower bed… then there was some sod… hmm, I digress. I did what I could. In the end, my neighbor was happy(ish), and I felt great about myself. It’s addictive. Choose to help someone else. Random acts of kindness last forever and make us feel great about who we are.
7. Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward.
It’s easy to dwell on mistakes. Learn from them and move forward. I always remind myself that my mistakes led to where I am today… my family, this home, this present life surrounded by nature and clean air.
I’m an awful dancer, and even worse at singing. But when I do it I feel great. Singing to “Call Me Maybe” in the car with my kids, or dancing in front of my baby while she’s in her bouncy seat… it’s an easy way to cleanse, providing quick, and cheap, stress relief.
9. List five things that you are grateful for right now.
When things are really crazy I stop, breathe, and appreciate what I already have. Here’s my list: My husband, my children, my home, my health, and my new found path in life. This week I am also especially grateful for electricity.
Whether it’s a book, positive quotes, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. Reading and writing is an amazing outlet. Just writing this blog has already made me forget the emails I exchanged with my father this morning. I was able to go back and write to him as if nothing had happened, in a normal tone.
In the end… remember this…
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
This post was featured at the Homestead Barn Hop