Do you find it difficult sometimes to maintain a positive mindset?
Does it seem a bit fluffy, as if it’s something lucky people have, because – well, why wouldn’t they have a positive mindset?! Everything is going well for them!
Aside from the undeniable research in neuroscience about the universal benefits of maintaining a calm and positive outlook more often than we are inclined to, it’s a journey we each must take alone. But it’s a journey each of us is more than capable of, if we Set our Mind to it.
The fact is, no-one else can change our thoughts unless we allow them to. Yes, we are of course alive and breathing so we have instant and human reactions to what people say or situations we find ourselves in. But those natural reactions only last a short time. If we allow their narrative to embed in our mind, and if we re-enforce it by revisiting those negative thoughts frequently, we might as well admit that we are training our minds to think negatively, through repetition and frequency.
In ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, the author Viktor Frankl – a Professor of Psychiatry who was imprisoned in several concentration camps during WWII – observed that our mind is the one pure freedom we have. His captors could take his clothes, his belongings, even his family and his health, but they could not take his mind. Unless he allowed them to. So he didn’t allow them to. He survived the war (he lived until 1997) and wrote the book which has been described as a ‘timeless formula for survival’.
(P.S. I was afraid to read it because I thought it would be too upsetting; but it’s okay, it’s not gruesome, so I safely recommend it).
Nelson Mandela, when asked how he maintained his resilience during his time in prison, said that he had decided very early on that he would not give in to despair. He kept that promise to himself even during times when his faith in the humanity of others was strenuously tested.
This week I heard a podcast where the guest was a mindset coach who was the victim of kidnapping. His ordeal lasted just over 3 hours. The podcast is just 14 minutes long, but I have a feeling the benefit you get will last longer than those 14 minutes. He describes his initial reaction (which was as you would expect!) and how he used three principles to regain control of his mind.
The key point here is that these were principles he had studied, was teaching and practising long before that awful day. The time he had invested reaped its reward at the exact moment when he needed it to.
The link is here. I hope you find it insightful and helpful.
Until next week, take care of your health and your mind,