This is a weird subject for me to write about, because it is something I fail in a lot: staying positive. I tend to get bogged down in my dark thoughts and anxiety. I’m writing this post to inspire myself, and maybe even help you. I think the best way to do this is to use a real- life example.
Last Saturday I was far behind on my math. I had been spending a lot of time with my sister who was in town for a week (which was amazing), and I had a lot of other school to tackle, because finals are coming up soon. So, on Saturday, along with my blog post, some other school, and music practice, I had more math than I could tackle in a day. I was struggling with one of the concepts, and it was taking me much longer than I thought it should. I did not have a good attitude. All I could think about was that I would never get it down in a day, and that I would have to do it on Sunday, and that I wouldn’t get my blog post done, again, and that I would fail the class and be shamed by all of my engineering school friends (my thoughts are crazy sometimes). I was in this loop most of the morning, and I made very little progress on anything, because my brain wasn’t focused. This is a sadly typical negative response that I have to hard things, especially being behind schedule.
At around 3, I realized that I wasn’t getting anything done, because I was too busy worrying and hating myself. I had a decision to make. I could continue my negative feedback loop, and continue to do nothing. Or, I could try changing my attitude. I decided to change my attitude. Instead of focusing on what I wasn’t getting down, I decided to focus on what I could get done, and let go of the rest. I focused on getting done the math that I could, and not everything else I wasn’t doing. Even though my attitude was better, I still didn’t get everything done. I didn’t write a blog post. I didn’t finish all of my math, so I had to finish it on Sunday. My attitude didn’t change all of the circumstances, but it did change how I handled it. I was free to focus, and free to relax and enjoy the learning process.
So this week, I want to focus on staying positive. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to pretend that everything is perfect, or even force myself to not feel sad. I just will move on from the stress and sadness, rather than stay stuck in the muck of my own attitude. I need a lot of practice, and I’m choosing to start now.
How do you fight negative thinking? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section!