Revisit: Get more positiveness in life +++

In my search on how to age gracefully, I have discovered and would like to share in this post on how to be more positive and happier in life.

[This was first published on 03/06/2019.]


Mindfulness teaches us how to notice our natural emotions and responses, then in turn accept them and respond to them such that it enhances our well-being. Meditation is often used to bring about that mindfulness and, at higher level, the calmness of mind. (Calm being the opposite of stress.)

When we are under stress, we will start to develop negative emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, fear etc. All of which are our body's natural responses that cannot be averted. To overcome these challenging emotions, we must learn to NAV (name, accept and validate) them, and not to suppress, deny or fight them. Cases like taking sleeping pills hoping to sleep away stress and anxiety, or getting dead drunk to escape from reality would only create more problems as one becomes dependent on these ways to 'escape'. It is not easy, however, to tackle them head on - which leads us to why we should be practising mindfulness.

A simple read to get started with the practice of mindfulness is this little book 'The Calm Coach' by Dr Sarah Jane Arnold. She showed us the ways in which we can respond to our body, emotions, thoughts and behaviour so that we can attain a calmness of mind.

jacket, The Calm Coach
The Calm Coach by Dr Sarah Jane Arnold

A particularly interesting tip in the book I found is about noticing our automatic-thinking styles such as the following.

"Black-and-white thinking: Seeing only one extreme or another, and not seeing the nuances in between. E.g. believing that something is all good or all bad.

Catastrophizing: Fearing and believing that a situation is far worse than it actually is in reality.

Comparison: Negatively comparing ourselves to others.

Emotional reasoning: Viewing ourselves or the situation based upon how we are feeling. E.g. 'I feel scared; something bad is going to happen.'

Empty positive thinking: Attempting to reassure ourselves with phrases like 'It'll be fine', which we don't really believe. This can unintentionally invalidate our emotions and interfere with our ability to manage the situations effectively because it encourages us to ignore what's bothering us.

Filtering: Focusing on the difficult and unwanted aspects of a given situation - forgetting to consider the pleasant parts and the bigger picture.

Jumping to conclusions: Making assumptions, judgements and predictions about someone or a situation, without knowing all of the relevant facts first.

Mood-dependent retrieval: Having thoughts that match with our current mood and emotions.

Over-generalizing: Making statements such as 'this always happens'. In reality, it may not be so.

Personalizing: Regularly relating things back to ourselves and blame ourselves for things that go wrong or could go wrong.

Ruminating: Worrying over and over again about a particular concern or fear. Often the mind is trying to solve a perceived problem, but it's got stuck in a loop without finding a workable solution.

Self-critical voice: Putting ourselves down, criticizing and bullying ourselves.

Shoulds: Regular thinking or saying 'I should', 'they should have', 'you should', etc, can put unreasonable demands and pressure on ourselves and others."

Learning to tune in to our thinking as soon as we notice them, and respond by naming the automatic-thinking style in our thoughts can prevent them from unconsciously influencing us in an unhelpful way. 

I realized I have many of the above thinking styles and I really haven't given much thought to them till now! 

Go and pick up the book to learn about the rest which would be really useful.

2i) Stay away from Energy Vampires

As the name Energy Vampire suggestions, they are people who suck away your finite energy which could have been spent meaningfully. Below is a video on how to spot an Energy Vampire.

2ii) Remove these 6 negativities

Coupled with the above, the short video below shows what we should remove from our lives -

  • Guilt
  • Excuses
  • Negative people
  • Anxiety
  • Pleasing others
  • Negative self-talk

3) Find our IKIGAI

We have FINITE amount of time, energy and resources, but we have INFINITE willpower and imagination to do what we believe could be done. That's how mankind gets airplane, computer, internet, smart phones and all the things that revolutionized modern living.

We don't have to be the next Albert Einstein, Steve Job or Warren Buffett. However, if we can contribute even a little to making the world a better place, find value in what we are doing and perhaps learn to enjoy it more. I think that is brilliant enough. 

Modern traps

We often put too much pressure on ourselves trying to over-achieve at work and our daily lives. 

We kept trying to reach a faraway goal like trudging in mud, only to move the goal post when we got there. 

We are aiming to FIRE, yet at the same time, doubting we can ever get that cushy, retirement life or dream home that we wished for. 

Take a pause.


#inner peace #mindfulness

"Achievements can never be more important than fulfillments."

Related post: Spiritual Food I

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