Focusing On Positive Thoughts Leads To Discovering Purpose, Meaning and Gratitude in Our Daily Lives
Have you ever asked yourself the question, why am I here on this planet? Do you feel you have a specific purpose in your life? These questions are not concerned with what the media or the advertising agencies would have us believe; that our lives are to be lived in an egocentric, materialistic manner.
When we have a specific purpose in our lives, such as cultivating and nurturing a positive attitude, our lives take on new meaning and depth. When we have an attitude of gratitude for everything in our daily lives, we are automatically in a positive state of mind and our actions and energy will flow naturally to everything and everyone we encounter.
If we want our lives to be positive, we must nurture our days from the onset. Even before getting out of our beds we must focus on how we want to spend our day. There are only two choices; to be positive, or, to get caught up in worldly distractions, which will usually bring a sense of fear, anxiety, and negativity into our lives.
We all have times when we have to deal with tragedy and major challenges, such as the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, a health issues, and we reach that place of feeling totally overwhelmed. If we take these challenges and turn them into opportunities, it will create the perfect circumstances that gives us the push we need to get us out of our comfort zone and move to a higher level in life.
When we strive to be resilient and stay positive even in the midst of life’s greatest confrontations, we are much better equipped to deal with any and every situation with a better attitude. When we face difficulties head on, we discover there is opportunity to gain something incredibly beneficial, such as greater depths of compassion, patience, forgiveness, strength, insight into our deeper selves, whatever it might be, it transforms a situation that may seem negative, into one filled with possibilities. We discover the true meaning of life that is so essential to feeling and being alive.
Richard Bach in his book Illusions, wrote something that has been very useful to me through the years, “No problem comes to you without a gift in its hands. You seek these problems because you need their gifts.”
In my late teens I was helped tremendously and inspired when someone gave me a copy of a book by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking. I love to study inspirational topics, motivational teachers and books. I have discovered everything that has happened in my life, good or bad, was necessary to learning life lessons. Now my life has become an exciting adventure of discovery and awakening.
In order for us to maintain a positive attitude, like a garden, it requires time, attention, and cultivation. The following are some essential tools for the care and nurturing of positive energy.
- Find meaningful affirmations and place them in key places in your home, work place, and the dashboard of your car. Example: I am at peace, serene, renewed and grateful for everything in this life. I have everything I need to enjoy the here and now.
- Be aware of your breathing. Take long, deep breaths from your abdomen. You will instantly feel calmer and bring your self back to present moment awareness. This is also the best way quickly reduce head aches and stress
- When feeling anxious, angry, frustrated or stressed, repeat aloud or silently words with strong positive energy while breathing deeply: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, TRANQUILITY, RELAX. Use these words to bring you back to balance quickly, in a focused, powerful way.
- Appreciate this moment, every moment.
- For balance of body, mind, and spirit, not only do we need to focus our attention inward, having our homes in order is very important. Our personal space needs to be a positive reflection of our inner peace, which ultimately shows an overall caring for all that we are and have.
There is an abundant selection of spiritual, inspirational, and motivational magazines, books, audio tapes, CD’s, and pod casts at our fingertips. We live in one of the most amazing times in the history of our planet.
One of my favorite ways to start the day is by reading a little booklet filled with affirmations and uplifting spiritual teachings called the Daily Word. With the technology we have today, the opportunities for educating ourselves, discovering new passions, even while driving or working out at the gym is endless. These resources are helpful to keeping us in a positive state of mind. How wondrous it is getting important life lessons from some of the greatest teachers this world has to offers 24/7.
There are so many online websites and blogs where we can find inspiration. If you have an open heart and mind you will be amazed how what you need will just be there for you. Have you ever had a book, magazine article or some other bit of information magically appear that is perfect for your spiritual and personal growth the exact moment you need it most in your life?
Some days it seems as though, no matter what, we just don’t feel our best. Those days it is essential for taking it easy and giving ourselves a break. I don’t like staying in a negative zone for long, so one of quickest ways to chase the blues away is to go through an exercise that is as simple as saying “thank-you” for every little thing we do and have. If I am getting a cup of tea, for example, I feel gratitude and give thanks for having running water, a kettle, a stove, electricity, tea. This leads to even more thoughts of feeling thankful for a roof over my head, food, clothes, love for family, friends, a great companion in life, and on and on it goes. You cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time. It is as impossible as being truly loving and hateful at the same time.
One very cold February evening while handing out hot cocoa, cider and cookies to homeless people, I encountered the most grateful person I have ever met in my life. The overflow from the Salvation Army had come to sleep in parish hall at the church where I was going. A woman from the shelter and I were having a very interesting conversation, one that I will always remember. This dear lady, who was in her sixties, had just come from the hospital after suffering chest pains from exposure to the cold. She pointed at her warm looking, quilted coat and told me about how having this coat had saved her life. She explained to me that, before she goes to the homeless shelter at night she sometimes sits in a local shopping mall where she could escape from the cold. She said, “One day these nice girls saw that I didn’t have a warm coat. They went into a store and the next thing I knew, they gave me this coat! When those girls bought this coat for me they didn’t realize that they were saving my life.”
This woman was so grateful to be sleeping a mat on the wooden floor of the church. She was joyful to be in this place, where she could “Feel the Spirit!” When I went home that night and crawled into my cozy, warm bed I prayed that homeless woman would be blessed with good health and a contented life. I am grateful to that women to this day for teaching me one of the most important lessons of my life; to be grateful for all that I have and not to take even the smallest thing for granted!
When feelings of anxiety, frustration, anger or worry are bringing you down, one of the quickest solutions to get rid of that negative energy is to do something for someone else.
- Send a card to someone you need to contact.
- Make that phone call to someone you know could use it.
- Make a donation to a favorite charity.
- Give someone a bit of your valuable time.
- Practice random acts of kindness.
In order to maintain a positive attitude, it is so important to consciously balance the body, mind and spirit. One tool that has become absolutely essential to me is going at least once a month for massage therapy. This is what I consider my therapeutic RESET button. Massage is not an indulgence. It is the best gift that I give to my body for all it does for me. Massage therapy is the point in which I am releasing accumulated stress, emotional and chemical toxins that accumulate in the body and a time in which I can completely let go and relax.
It is also imperative to care for the body by eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and to exercise. Take a brisk walk, do yoga, tai chi, swim, dance around the house, whatever it is, just do some type of physical activity!
If we do our best to have a positive attitude, not only are we going to be living up to our highest potential, we will be doing something that has purpose and meaning. Mother Theresa said, “We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love.” With a positive attitude we generate positive energy and love into our world. The more positive energy we generate, the better off our lives, families, communities and our planet will be.
Article adapted from speech given by Rose Winstanley-Trefz to Delaware County Toastmasters, Media, PA, August 2006.