The other day I went to a yoga class that honestly changed my life a little bit. It was two hours long and based mainly on meditation and breathing. One thing the instructor said has had me thinking hard about the negativity and problems in my life.
He said something along the lines of "everything in your life that is an issue does not need to be an issue, it is only an issue because you make it so."
Of course, we have our health conditions that are there because of no fault of our own and we can't really ignore or disregard those. However, our negative thoughts can be dealt with in ways that will make them seem to pass by like clouds, and go away.
My yoga instructor encouraged us to acknowledge the negative thoughts, be mindful of how they were trying to make us feel, let them be as they were, and let them pass through. He said we couldn't help their entering into our minds, but we could help the way we reacted to them.
In an article called "Getting Beyond Negativity" for Psychology Today, Gregg Henriques, Ph.D, writes, "Reacting negatively to negative feelings creates a vicious loop where we feel bad about feeling bad, leaving us stuck in a cycle of negativity. This cycle has trapped many people. But it is possible to break it by cultivating a different attitude."
He creates an acronym, CALM, for things to remember when you experience negative thoughts. It stands for Curiosity, Acceptance, Loving compassion, and Motivation. He explains how to remember and use the parts of CALM when negative thoughts emerge.
It seems impossible to deal with negativity in a way that doesn't leave us feeling bad. But when you try to be mindful of your thoughts and actively think about letting the feelings pass through as they are, and not react even more negatively to them, a much calmer lifestyle appears on the horizon. Also, it seems silly, but taking deep breathes in and out through the nose really helps when bad thoughts try to take over.
There is a lot out there for me to learn on dealing with negativity in a calmer manner and letting bad emotions pass through. Learning these practices will be a new resolution of mine. I encourage everyone who reads this post to try to change the way they react to negative thoughts when they emerge. And also, take a meditative yoga class.