Hello my loves!
I thought it was high time for a lifestyle post on my blog, and I've been wanting to write one about PMA, or positive mental attitude, for ages.
Ever since I turned to mindfulness and meditation help deal with my anxiety I've found that the power of a positive mental attitude towards all things, big and small, in life as really helped me stay calm and feel much better about life as a whole.
It might be cheesy, but as the Jack Sparrow (best one liners ever, major kudos the the screenwriters) quote points out, your attitude to a situation is going to be one of the biggest factors that affect how a situation turns out. Your attitude can literally change the outcome of any given situation.
PMA has no strict definition, because it can be different for everyone, but one I found that quite sums it up for me is: "Positive mental attitude (PMA) is the philosophy that having an optimistic disposition in every situation in one's life attracts positive changes and increases achievement. It employs a state of mind that continues to seek, find and execute ways to win, or find a desirable outcome, regardless of the circumstances. It opposes negativity, defeatism and hopelessness."
I strongly believe that trying to be more positive about life has seriously helped me out in the past 6 months in dealing with a number of life situations, big and small.
This time last year I was stuck in some seriously bad thinking patterns. Here are some examples:
Situation 1: Continuous knock backs from interviews and job applications
Reaction: "Oh my lord, no one is ever going to hire me, I am completely useless. What was the point of coming to university? This isn't fair, why are other people doing so well and I amen't, they don't deserve it more than I do. This was all such a waste of time and I'm going to wind up in a dead end job for the rest of my life"
Situation 2: A ton of work deadlines due extremely close together.
Reaction: "I'm never going to finish this all to the best of my ability. Why on earth did I do this course. Something is going to suffer. I cannot deal with this."
Situation 3: So called 'friends' being false, flakey and generally bad friends.
Reaction: "It must have been something I've done. What on earth have I done? Why do I even bother trying so hard when no-one cares. I'm all by myself and I'm never going to recapture all the golden friendships of my younger days"
Seriously? Can you even get over how pessimistic and insecure I could be? I have to shake my head and laugh at myself, but I really got myself into a stressful, upset head space that had a massive impact on my life. This negative thinking did nothing but make every situation I faced seem insurmountable, which in reality very few situations are.
However, meditation and mindfulness have taught me to slow down my mind a bit, take a step back from situations, and examine them without attaching all my own fears and expectations to them too much. It doesn't always work, but I feel better for trying, even in terrible situations.
So, lets take the same situations and see how I'd try to think now.
Situation 1: Job/Career Issues
Reaction: "Ok, that sucks, and to properly appreciate that that sucks I'm going to allocate a day to be upset. After that day however I am going to get on with it and get over it. Lot's of other people are in my position, and at the end of the day sometimes the world is not fair. What can I learn from the feedback? How can I improve my CV and make myself better? What experience would be beneficial for me to get? Most importantly, remember that sometimes some things have to fall apart for other things to fall together. You are extremely smart, personable and have passion for what you do, and one day the right person is going to recognise that. Isn't that position worth holding out for?"
Situation 2: Stressful periods with a lot on
Reaction: "Ok, let's do this! We have to do x amount in y amount of time, how do I plan this to ensure everything is done on time, and I have breathing room in case of an emergency? Realistically, there is not way that I am not going to do it, because I always hand things in/do what I promised on time. Grab the calendar and start a timetable, and see who might be able to help me out. It's a challenge and I'm going to ace it!"
Situation 3: People being terrible
Reaction: "Unfortunately, people are people, and some people are not meant to be in your life forever. I am lucky enough to have some incredible friends, and so long as I can count on one hand the friends who truly love me and care for me, I am a lucky girl. In fact, I'm going to go text/call some of my good friends now and arrange something to cheer me up."
See the massive difference in the way I think? At the end of the day, stressful/horrible situations happen in life, but the majority of the time it is not the end of the world, so what is the point of acting like it is? The only thing you do is blow the situation up and stress yourself up more.
Every single person on this planet has their own issues and problems, and despite how easy it can be (especially in this community) to think other people have a perfect life, that is hardly ever the case. But, more and more, I see that the people with a positive can-do attitude seem to make the best of every situation, and to weather difficult situations more easily.
So, these days, when I start to have a little pity fest or to feel angry with the world, I like to try and think of the positive things that I do have: parents who love me and are so very kind to me; a boyfriend who worships me; the best best friend in the world; pretty good health; and excellent education; high intelligence; a roof over my head and to have the opportunities of a developed country; the opportunity to do things that make me happy.
Yes, my knee might be royally screwed at the moment, but even though I can't run outside I can still do pilates and run on a treadmill; yes, I might not have secured a full time job after Uni yet, but I have a hell of a lot more experience than I did last year and opportunities are on the horizon; yes, I've had to move home for a year, but I'm saving so much money.
I still have my moments! But, trying to do things this way has made me a lot calmer as a person, and I'm much more appreciative of the good things when they do happen. I try to turn can'ts and wont's into cans and haves.
Control your thoughts, don't let your thoughts control you. This article encapsulates this well.
Have you tried positive thinking? What is your attitude to the ups and downs that life can throw at us?