With all the negativity about the election and the economy, it's easy to get down in the dumps. On a bad news day, I end up surrounded with negativity -- Radio, new sites, TV, blogs, and twitter. All bearing bad news, prophecies of coming doom, and discussions of who, how, why, when we got into this mess. Elections bring their own special brand of negativity, with constant attacks, spinning, mud-slinging, finger pointing, and fear mongering.
It's enough to get a person down!
On the other hand, I know that wallowing in the bad-news morass can sink me into a depressed state, and that's not a productive way to deal with anything. I mope around, doing things in a half-hearted way. What's the point, when the sky is falling, the economy is tanking, and nothing's going to work anyway? Low energy, low motivation, and low productivity. This is hardly what I need!
So, I've decided this week to get back to a positive thinking diet. My approach here is a combination of Tony Robbins' "10-day Mental Diet", and the "21-day No Complaint Experiment" that I got from Tim Ferriss.
There's a lot of similarity between these plans. The gist of it is that over this period of time, you train your mind to focus on positive thoughts, not negative.
When a negative thought emerges, don't allow yourself to dwell on it more than a minute.
Don't verbalize your negative thoughts
Immediately replace the negative thought with a positive one. Where you can, focus on a solution rather than just the problem. If the problem is too big for you to have a solution, then focus on some other related thought that's positive and empowering.
Whenever you break the rule and hold your negative focus more than a minute, you need to start all over on day 1.
A key element that the "no complaint" plan adds is a bracelet. When you find yourself focusing on a complaint rather than a solution, you have to switch your bracelet to the other wrist, and start again. The bracelet acts as a tangible reminder of what you've committed to, and helps you stay on track.
By the time you've gone 10 days on this plan, you've really accomplished something! I can say from prior experience that it feels really amazing when you can keep this up. Banishing all that negativity makes life seem a lot rosier. You're accomplishing more because you're focused on solutions rather than problems. You've got more energy, life is better, and you're a heck of a lot happer.
As for this morning? I've got a long way to go! I've swapped the bracelet half a dozen times so far, and I'm having trouble making it through 21 minutes, let alone 21 days. Oops -- that sounded like a negative thought there, didn't it?
Quick change: The mere fact that I'm working on this is already making me feel better! With a little bit of practice, 21 minutes will be no problem at all. By tomorrow, I'll practically be an expert!
Gee, I'm feeling better already!
I'm heading out soon for our San Francisco and Napa Valley trip. For me, the most stressful part of any trip is the few days right before it, when I'm trying to get everything done before I leave town! It's always hopeless, there's too much to do. -- Ooops! Quick change -- I get through as much as I can, and the rest of the to-dos will still be there when I get back. Sometimes aging them a bit mellows them out.