Those days where every step forward leads you three steps back. Yup, we all have them.
For me, the beginning of this week has certainly fit this description. With one thing after another going wrong, I´m left wondering if there´s an escape button for responsibilities?
But, of course, this mentality is not the most productive of sorts. I mean, dwelling on the negative can´t do much good, right? Thankfully, psychology has taught me that our frame of mind can be chosen. And when we can choose to be happy and relaxed why wouldn´t we?
I know what you´re thinking. I can almost hear a little mental chorus repeating,
`That´s easier said than done´.
But let me explain.
One of the most common mantras of positive psychology is to reframe obstacles as challenges. See, the basis of this discipline revolves around focusing on one´s strengths in the face of adversity rather than dedicating time to the weaknesses. Now how does that relate to unpredictability?
Let´s discuss the idea of unpredictability for a minute. Unpredictability is essentially a neutral term, however has an indirect negative connotation due to it´s root´s in irregularity. Irregularity is defined as being unbalanced and a lack of balance is almost always associated with difficulties in one way or another. As such, unpredictability has received a bad rap.
However, as we all know, our lives are full of unpredictability. In fact, every moment of our lives is unpredictable. Unfortunately, to the frustration of human nature, we only have minimal control of our planned existence. Therefore, we´re left having to learn how to deal with it and this is where positive psychology becomes the most useful trick to stash up your sleeve.
Having the ability to reimagine a negative obstacle as a positive opportunity for challenge is essential for inner peace. When we approach something with a negative mindset, we set ourselves up for stress and internal struggle. For many of us, this is our reaction to unpredicted events and over years this becomes our ingrained strategy.
How then can we increase our ability for positive mental reframing? Simply being more conscious of our natural reaction. Scanning the situation for the opportunity rather than the setback and devoting significant attention to it. Of course, you were right when you were thinking it isn´t that easy. Changing how the brain is rewired requires time and consistent practice. But with dedication it can become second nature.
So why choose to see the unpredictable as stressful when there are better options?
For more on positive reframing, check out this short but sweet TED talk.