There have been thousands of scientific studies demonstrating attitudinal, emotional, and cognitive effects on physiology, health, and healing. Despite this, most people don’t grasp how to use this to their benefit. For instance, we know that a positive attitude is health promoting. It sounds simple enough. It is simple, but not necessarily easy for most people to incorporate a positive mindset. In fact, many people actively resist making this change for fear of being perceived as naive or a Pollyanna.
Here is a simple exercise that you might want to focus on for the next week. In this exercise, you are not trying to change your negative thinking. Notice when you are making negative predictions. Just notice. Notice how you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually. Observe without judgment how you treat others, and treat yourself. See if you can be compassionately curious about yourself.
For example, “I don’t want to go to this meeting. I know it is going to be really boring.” Notice how you are casting human attributes onto a meeting. A meeting is just a meeting. Whether you are bored or not is your choice. You have primed yourself to be bored. You have externalized the reason for your expected boredom onto the meeting. Notice, are you tense, angry, frustrated, feeling trapped, defensive, tired, tuned out, or assigning negative attributes to people or ideas?
Here’s another example. Let’s say you are meeting your friend John for coffee. Before you even leave the house you might be thinking “I know John will be late. He’s always late. He’s so inconsiderate.” Notice how easy it is to be filled with anger, resentment, and judgments about something that hasn’t happened, let alone the negative feelings you are projecting onto your friend. Perhaps you tense your jaw and shoulders, as you recall other times when John was late. When John arrives you put on a game face and are jovial when inside you are burning.