YOU ARE WHAT YOU SCROLL
1. Stuff Happens.
A cherished vase fell from the top of the refrigerator this morning and I immediately thought, “well, there went my nice morning.”
Have you ever jumped to negative thinking over something so small?
As I picked up the shards, my mind raced through memories of glass breaking, someone yelling, tears falling. My brow furrowed (wrinkles!), my face reddened (broken capillaries!) and my neck stiffened (ugly posture!). Stress was already making its appearance in my body!
There was no one there to scold me, so I scolded myself, “you knew better than to put that there!” In a daze, staring at the glass, I was shocked by my bitterness, “nothing can ever be perfect, can it?”
Gazing at the glistening splinters, like a watercolor waiting to be painted, I asked myself, “why did I rush so quickly to such a dark place?”
2. What are you feeding your mind?
I wondered if it could it be all this negativity swirling around in our feeds? Oscar Wilde said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
When I’m quick to suspect a friend is hurting me on purpose, when I assume that driver is out to kill me, when my never ending internal commentary is so harsh it would embarrass and shame me if heard aloud, when I believe the universe is conspiring against me for all that has gone wrong AND THEN, when I take it out on a customer service rep . . . I have to consider what is tinting my glasses, and why thinking the worst has become a habit.
3. Stop, breathe, and move.
Have you ever gone back in your past to re-experience emotional pain, to beat yourself up over past failures? “STOP!” I said to myself and grabbed my camera. The broken glass gave me an excuse to be artistic and write a life lesson. When you catch yourself in spiral of negative thinking:
Say,”Stop!” Don’t continue the train of thought or judge yourself for having a negative thought.
Simply notice the chain of thoughts from the triggering event. Observe how something small can blow up before you realize.
Notice how your body feels. Is your heart racing? Palms sweaty? Breath shallow? Believing you’re in danger or getting outraged can cause a chemical reaction to gear you up to fight or flee. Take deep breaths until you feel calm again.
Reframe the thought with a positive slant.
Express gratitude and smile. Engage in a brief physical activity to flush out the toxic hormones, like a yoga pose, a few dance moves (blast a tune in the car) or a short walk.
“Beliefs and perceptions are subconscious states of being,” says Dr. Joe Dispenza, author of You Are The Placebo, Making Your Mind Matter. “They start with thoughts and feelings that you think and feel over and over, until they ultimately become habituated or automatic—at which point they form an attitude.”
A negative outlook stems from thinking the same toxic thoughts over and over. Society – media of every kind – does conspire against us with gloomy views and images, overrepresented dangers, impossible portrayals that make us doubt ourselves, all relentlessly attacking our mental space every second if we allow it.
It’s up to you to stop the cycle. It’s up to you to feed your brain something better.
4. Replace FOMO with soul food.
Since our largest organ is our skin, we often display the result of all this negativity and stress right on our faces.
Afraid you’ll miss out on all the crabby chatter that also promotes a negative outlook and does damage to cells? Think of it as your new fall skin routine. Combat the damage by getting rid of the ugly stress hormones and increasing the feel-good, beautifying hormones!
Choose healthy brain snacks – content that feeds your mind and makes you feel uplifted. Customize your feeds to hide people you love to hate.
If you’re antsy and feel the urge to get annoyed, write a journal entry, doodle, brainstorm, read about cool stuff that piques your curiosity. Look out the window and daydream. Meditate.
Get some fresh air and touch nature. Negative thoughts and emotions have an addictive quality, so it may feel difficult to pull away at first. But feeding your anxieties and anger won’t have a desirable effect on you or the world.
You are a positive force with big goals. Don’t let anything chip away at your vitality.