Jul 3, 2009

- Are you Positive and Proactive?

Sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed by life, feeling as though small problems are bigger than they should be or that we lose control of ourselves and the outcomes we wish to achieve. Whether it's based on a bad day or a bad year, the solutions are always easier than they seem and yet we fail to see them so clearly.

We often think deeply about the problems we face, try to understand its source or seek others for help and support. But what if you were told that these solutions were the wrong approach to solving the struggles we encounter? In fact, if these were the right solutions then you would be in the perfect place in life, never feeling helpless, alone, or confused without the knowledge and strength to overcome your difficulties. When we dwell on illness, debts, failure, or relationship issues, we plunge ourselves more deeply into a well of overwhelming problems. When we try to think about the root cause of our troubles, we often ignore that our minds and perspectives are biased and erroneous. And when we seek others for support, we often seek the help in those who confirm that we are in the right and ignore the fact that our own past actions are what created our current situation.

Building resentment, frustration, anger, or sadness as well as deciding not to decide or deciding not to care are all false coping mechanisms that we regularly use when we are faced with dilemmas. There is only one solution that exists and that is to find resolution, regardless of how big or small the problem is.

Resolution is the act of creating positive outcomes out of negative events by becoming proactive. Although it's true that a problem is only a problem if you see it as such, and that having a positive attitude in life generates positive circumstances, but how many times have you tried to take hold of that positive attitude only to find yourself denying the problem you need to face? The true challenge in becoming proactive is in seeing challenges in life as opportunities to learn and grow. No matter how traumatizing or mundane a problem is, there's always a purpose for encountering a roadblock and appreciating that purpose is the key to overcoming it.

So why is it that we don't all become proactive? It's because we're often focusing on the problems we have. Rather than looking beyond the problems and keeping our eyes on the goal, we focus in on the problems at hand, ultimately magnifying them till they become overwhelming.

Here are some strategies I've put together to help you get over the bumpy road you may be facing and find yourself a positive outlook.

1 - Change the way you think so you can change the way you feel. 

Instead of letting all those negative thoughts run wild in your mind, think positively (or objectively at least). Once you begin to avoid thinking negatively, you will begin to act in a more positive fashion.

2 - In the moments when you can't help being angry or irritated, take a deep breath. 

Taking deep breaths for a few seconds is a very well known stress-management technique and it's very effective. Consciously slow your breath down to a regular rhythm while thinking of nothing at all. This will naturally help remove all the negative thoughts.

3 - Get back to the basics and stop worrying about all those extras (like the fancy car, the brand-name clothes, your social status, etc.). 

We often spend our time comparing ourselves with others, thus feeling unsatisfied with what we have and our own personal accomplishments. A great man once said: "the way to being a great man is to be better than the man you were yesterday" (or something like that).

4 - Our daily issues and concerns seem miniscule when they're a bigger picture in the way. 

Think about a great project to do, a mission, something bigger than yourself or your family. Think about something that can impact a greater number of people for an extended period of time. This activity will put you higher on the 'life goal scale' and make all your other problems seem minimal. When you no longer see your problems as too big to overcome, they no longer become major challenges in your life, you develop the courage you need to face them, and you seem to magically overcome them easily!

Admittedly, these techniques will take time to cultivate but with strength and determination, your stress will be greatly reduced and the more you do it, the easier it gets! 



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