We have seen these people before and wonder how they do it – you know “those positive people” – the ones that always see the glass half full, the optimists that always see the silver lining in the dust, and we wonder “How did they get to be like that?” Positive living is real. It can happen. It can happen to you. It is built inside of you. But, it takes practice, a lot of committed practice.
When a teacher colleague asked how I stay so positive and wanted to know what she could do to bring some positivity to her day, this piece was born. We are born into a world where negativity and fear surround us. It is passed from generation to generation. It clouds the positivity within. Our genes hold powerful and intelligent information about our lives and our biology.
One of the greatest discoveries of modern science other than the immense work that went into and continues to go into the human genome project is the discovery that even though our genes are carriers for personality, physical appearance, and even diseases, we have the power to turn our genes on or off. Let me repeat the last part of that sentence, yes ladies and gentlemen science shows that we have the power to turn our genes on and off. We can give some genes the power to transmit or to lay dormant.
Fear is built into our biological system from our tribalism and survivalist days, but we are also blessed with the evolution of our prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the brain (the front part of our head behind our eyebrows) where executive functioning and processing takes place. Choosing to live a positive life is learning how to harness and foster the connective power contained in our PFC. In order to sharpen our processing prowess we must practice using it in environments that promote growth and connection.
I have suggested some simple ways we can sharpen our executive functioning and start leading and living a positive life. We have the power to make any day and every day awesome.
The Morning Center
I know many people say they are not morning people. Sure, some of us get up without alarms at the same time every morning and some of us require the help of our handy alarm. Either way we get up, becoming a morning person in positivity takes a giant shift perceptually in how we view our daily life.
Getting up earlier will affect when we go to bed. This will change. Just because we get up earlier does not mean we lose sleep. Sound sleep is a non-negotiable. If we are going to turn off our genes that do not exhibit the best sides of ourselves and turn on the genes that do, we must get up every morning and declare it. But, mornings are chaotic – getting dressed for the workday, lunch packing, breakfast, dogs to walk, getting the kids up and ready for school if you are a parent, etc. – chaotic, I know, I know. I am a working single-mom, believe me, I know chaotic mornings.
Yet, when I tune into my morning center, I am more likely than not to dance through the chaos instead of wrestle with it. And frankly, can’t we point to any time of the day and say it is chaotic?! Here is the secret, the honey, the gem, the magic pill if you will – get up 35 minutes before your regularly scheduled chaos begins. Do this every morning for the rest of your life. This time is your new Morning Center Time. There are so many healthy options here. Take 30 minutes and enjoy a run, a swim, a time to write in your journal, a time to write your to-do list for the day, a time to read, etc. You get the idea. Do what nourishes you and stick to it. But, wait, that is not it. We have 5 minutes left to spare. Yes, that was intentional. Take the last 5 minutes before the chaos starts to sit down, breathe mindfully, and affirm, “Today will be awesome”, “I create a beautiful joyful day for myself”, “I see light and beauty”, and yes, you are getting the idea here. Affirm your awesomeness! Why? Because you are awesome! We just have to clear the dust sometimes to see the silver lining.
Don’t know what to affirm and your mind is short circuiting for thinking about it too much? Treat yourself to some affirmation cards. Try Louise Hay’s Wisdom Cards. There are tons of options out there. Find cards that resonate with you if you find creating your own too challenging and distracting. Most importantly, do not skip this last 5 minutes of your Morning Centering Time.
You Are What You Eat
Do you ever notice that when we eat heavy and greasy food, we tend to feel heavy and greasy not just physically, but emotionally? Or have you ever noticed how much lighter and energized you feel when you eat nutritious wholesome food and consequently your mood feels more light and energized? There are staggering scientific correlations that show how food affects how we feel and act during our daily life. We must learn to be aware of the connection of the food we eat and how it makes us feel physically and emotionally. If we feed our palettes with vibrantly colored fresh food, we are going to consume that vibrancy and freshness in our body and our emotions and those around us on a day-to-day basis will be thankful for the colorful breath of fresh air.
Add more whole food, plant based food items to your diet. Start keeping track of the foods that make you feel heavy, tired, and sluggish and notice the ones that help you feel alive, light and energized. It is highly likely that the foods that make you feel the most alive and energized are whole food, plant based items. Yes, it is work, at least in the beginning, but the benefits are huge. Pack your lunch and pack your healthy snacks so you are not caught somewhere with hunger and foods that could have a negative impact on your body and mood.
Stick to your evening schedule and shoot for getting the kids to bed earlier if you are a parent. Whether it is getting the kids to bed earlier or putting the projects away a little earlier, Evening Closure will help us bring a positive closure to the end of the day. Perhaps there are some things you could not get to in your Morning Center Time, so connect to them here in Evening Closure. Drink a hot cup of herbal tea and reflect. If you are in a relationship, sit down with your partner and share your day, reflect and connect.
If you had a particularly hard day either physically or emotionally, take an Epsom salt bath with your favorite essential oil (yes, you to gentlemen). Epsom salt not only relieves sore and tired muscles, but it relieves tired minds. If we have been in high negative energy environments throughout the day, it is vitally important not to take the negative energy to bed with us. We literally have to rinse it off our bodies. We can rinse it off in a hot soothing Epsom salt bath. The minerals pull the impurities that we cannot see with our human eye, but we feel them in our bodies. When we close the day on a positive and healthy note, when we go to bed feeling refreshed and energetically cleansed, we are more likely to stick to our Morning Centering Time and the positive cycle is reinforced.
Making our day shine takes committed effort and practice. Stick with these guideposts and your commitment will get much easier. Your mind and body will yearn for these practices because when we institute them in our lives we feel amazing. Our brains are built to seek pleasure and sometimes our brains can play tricks on us if you are not using the full capacity of our PFC. This kind of pleasure is sustainable and will carry us forth in a vibrant life.
If we pull away from the guideposts for any period of time our bodies send out fire alarms in the form of muscle tension, short and snappy language, and heavy emotions that absorb our spaces everywhere we go. These are red flags that our PFC is snoozing and it is snoozing because we have allowed it to snooze. We must wake up our executive functioning every single day, not just one day here and there. Every day. Your life is not a trend. It is not a fad. It is your LIFE. Make your day shine. Add these practices into your daily life, as part of your lifestyle. And, do not forget to make it awesome every day. That is how life is meant to be lived.
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea