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A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Five

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Choosing To Focus On The Positive Continued…

 

Practice Gratitude

 

When I practice gratitude I can’t help but feel positive. It allows me to focus on all I have in life rather than defaulting to the things I might lack. It changes the glass from being half empty to half full.

 

A wonderful way to do this is to think of one thing you are grateful for each day. This might sound cliché but it really works. Soon you will be looking for things to be grateful for and before you know it, you’ll appreciate just how much you have in life.

 

It took me a while to get into this habit but now I feel grateful most days, having increased my sense of happiness in a profound way.

 

Why don’t you try thinking of something to be grateful for every day for thirty days? You have nothing to lose and it could bring you such joy and happiness.

 

Use Affirmations And Visualize

 

This is something I have done intermittently but am recommitting to do on a more regular basis. Phrase your affirmations in the present tense and try to say them ten times each day whilst looking in the mirror. Some popular affirmations are:

 

  • I love and accept my authentic self completely
  • I can do anything I set out to
  • Everything in my life is working for my ultimate good and as it should
  • I forgive all those that have wronged me in the past and let go of all negativity
  • I am achieving excellence
  • I have an abundance of energy and am totally healthy
  • I have a wealth of inner resources to conquer any and every challenge I face
  • My old habits have gone, my new, more healthy and empowering habits, have now taken root in my life

 

Another wonderful tool to boost positivity – which new research has suggested allows us to reach our goals faster – is to use visualization. The critical element which the research picked up on was that if we visualize achieving our goals our motivation decreases, however, if we visualize how we will go about achieving our goals, our motivation increases and we are likely to achieve them faster.

 

I visualize by listening to chill out music, with lit candles all around my room whilst looking at my dream board and planning how I will achieve my dreams.

 

Practice Hope For The Future And Optimism

 

I’ve often confused hope and optimism for the same thing. They are related, however there is a subtle difference. Whereas hope is grounded in an expectation and a desire for something to happen, optimism focuses on that thing turning out well. We need both to fully embrace positivity in our lives.

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A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Four

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Choosing To Focus On The Positive Continued…

 

Focus On Existing Goals Or Create Meaningful Goals

 

Exert from ‘How To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality’

 

Bill Copeland, a well respected author, once said “the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” The truth is that in today’s society whereby instant communication is the norm with sites like Facebook, Hotmail and Twitter constantly vying for our attention, it can be challenging to sit down and assess what we want to achieve on a deeper level, let alone make time for those activities.

 

In Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, he pin points ‘perceived progress’ as an essential component of our overall happiness and, as the field of positive psychology develops, this principle is becoming widely accepted.

 

The process of making our dreams reality can be a very exciting and creative one. Essentially we are creating a map to get us from where we are now (Point A) to where we want to be (Point B). Though there is much advice surrounding the area of setting goals there is generally a consensus that all goals must be S.M.A.R.T.

 

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timescaled.

 

Let’s explore the meaning of S.M.A.R.T. in this context further…

 

Specific goals identify what we want to achieve on a practical level and are often grounded in weekly participation of your chosen pursuit. For example, a vague goal would be to become a pop star. Although becoming a pop star is an admirable goal we need to think of how we are going to achieve that and add these interim steps to our main goal.

 

A specific goal in order to achieve chart success might therefore be to take weekly singing lessons and practice singing exercises for thirty minutes a day. Once we have specific goals we immediately feel energized as we know on a practical level what needs to be done.

 

Goals also need to be measurable; ideally goals should be measured in the short-term and medium-term. For example, you can easily measure whether you have been attending weekly singing lessons and practicing each day.

 

Every six months you can review whether you have made progress by seeing if you have attended any open mike nights or have started writing your own lyrics. The main objective is to outline how and when we will measure our progress. This helps us adjust our goals when necessary and keeps us motivated down the line.

 

In order to ensure our motivation remains high it is vital that our goals are achievable. This needn’t mean thinking small, but it is essential that we plan the steps of our goals methodically and that we allow a realistic timeframe to achieve those goals.

 

When our goals are truly achievable they will cease to be the dreams and fantasies they set out as and will start to appear more feasible, thereby increasing our drive to achieve them.

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A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Three

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Choosing To Focus On The Positive

 

Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to focus on the positive when you seem to be surrounded by negativity. It takes great strength of character to seek the silver lining when you’re the victim of gossip but finding the positive is an essential tool when shifting from feeling powerless to powerful.

 

Mindfulness And Accepting The Present

 

Exert from ‘How To Stop Operating On Auto-Pilot And Live For The Moment’…

 

Whilst at one of the worlds best facilities in 2009, I was introduced to something called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation which has gained great medical recognition and is designed to cultivate an experience of living in the moment. However, to stop there would be to sell mindfulness short. It also encourages us to accept the present in all its fullness – even if what we are experiencing is unpleasant.

 

It serves to both heighten our perceptions and teach us to appreciate and see our environment anew. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of mindfulness and the man responsible for bringing it into the mainstream medical arena, describes mindfulness as ‘The awareness that emerges when we learn to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally to things as they are.’

 

The first few mindfulness classes I attended brought me such a deep feeling of relaxation, well being and peace, I knew I would continue to use mindfulness throughout the course of my life.

 

Mindfulness can teach us to access states of openness, acceptance and immersion which we seldom find in our everyday lives. The sort of states one might experience on holiday. Think of mindfulness as a form of mental vacation, a way to connect with non-judgmental principles and a complete acceptance of what is, whatever that may be.

 

In recent years the body of research on mindfulness has been enormous and the amount of positive findings staggering. Mindfulness has been found to help us better process pain and emotion and there is evidence which suggests it can significantly reduce the chance of patients with chronic depression relapsing. Studies even show that mindfulness can improve our concentration and quality of sleep.

 

As if those benefits weren’t enough, it has also been proven that mindfulness lowers the stress hormone Cortisol and many patients treated for stress, anxiety, pain and depression are increasingly being advised to practice mindfulness. Whereby mindfulness was once seen as a holistic treatment, it is now recognized by the medical profession as a viable treatment in and of itself.

 

To gain more insight into what mindfulness is, it is important to examine what it is not. For instance, mindfulness is not trying to relax. To become aware of the present moment, especially when we are going through a period of stress or depression, can be far from relaxing. Mindfulness simply allows us to become less reactive to our inner struggles and enables us to let go.

 

Unlike other forms of meditation, mindfulness is not trying to rid the mind of thoughts. When thoughts arise (as they will) the mindful person will simply acknowledge and observe them, allowing them to pass and returning their focus to the breath.

 

Stay tuned – next Monday we will continue looking at choosing to focus on the positive and will go into the role goals, hobbies and interests have to play in helping us to ooze positivity.

 

Further Resources:

 

‘A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted’ by Will Bowen

 

Have you ever meditated? What type of meditation did you do and how did you feel after? Is daily meditation something you would like to introduce into your lifestyle? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, understanding and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Two

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How To Stop Engaging With Gossip

 

This is always a tricky one and if I’m honest I was better at this when I was younger than now, often not wanting to speak up for fear it might cause conflict. The truth is I think I’ve just lost sight of how important it is not to engage with gossip, even if I might do so in a passive way. I have to admit I’m disappointed in myself for doing so and I’ll be making a special effort to adopt the following strategies myself.

 

Change The Subject

 

This one might be obvious but in the heat of the moment it can feel quite difficult to do, especially when the conversation is in full swing. Try thinking of something fun or positive to talk about, like an upcoming event or even a holiday another might have planned.

 

Say Something Positive About The Person

 

This is often the best way to communicate that you are not comfortable with the direction of the conversation without having to say so directly – a good strategy to have in your bag! Think of something positive about the person in question and if you can’t, think about something compassionate you could say like ‘bless her, she might be going through a really tough time right now that we just don’t know about’.

 

Confront Gossip Politely But Assertively

 

This is of course the most courageous thing to do, though not everyone may feel able to act on this one, especially in larger groups. If you would like to know more about assertive communication please read my article titled ‘Assertiveness; A Journey Worth Taking’.

 

Point Out Missing Information

 

If you see that not everything is being taken into consideration or there is missing information in someone’s gossip, so long as you don’t reveal any secrets, point it out – it may just be the nudge they need to stop gossiping around you.

 

How To Protect Yourself Against Gossip

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A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part One

 

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Do you consider yourself a gossip? Before I sat down to write this series I thought gossip was spreading malicious rumors or trying to discredit someone in the eyes of others and, if you had asked me a month ago whether I was a gossip, I would have said a flat out no.

 

The truth is sometimes I do gossip. Sometimes I am hurt and endlessly find fault with those who I believe have caused the situation to my friends; sometimes I make judgments about others in conversation, without fully knowing their story. Sometimes, when I am very hurt, I even resort to labeling them when describing them to others.

 

I’m completely ashamed to admit this of course, but in order to do something about it, I first had to acknowledge the issue existed.

 

Naturally, in time I forgive them, or realize I don’t know the full story, but by then the damage has already been done, leaving a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

 

I don’t want to be that person anymore, regardless of how I’ve been treated and neither do I ever want to jump to conclusions – after all, everyone is on their own journey and is doing the best they can with what experience and resources they have.

 

So this series is as much about my own journey as it is yours. Think of it as a detox for the soul – a lighter, happier way to live.

 

Why We Gossip: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly  

 

Whilst most of us are aware just how poisonous malicious rumors and gossip can be, very few of us are aware we gossip relatively regularly, so ingrained it is in our culture. Have you ever read a Hollywood magazine about A-Lister news? Did you share with a mutual friend that you thought one of your close friends was making a mistake? Then you have likely engaged in gossip. So why do we do it?

 

The Good (ish)

 

In truth there really isn’t any good kind of gossip, however there are understandable psychological reasons why we may be drawn to gossip.

 

The most common reason is that it is a subconscious way of bonding with others. In between the lines you are communicating to those you gossip with that they are more important to you than those you are gossiping about.

 

The Bad

 

Another common psychological reason we are driven to gossip is that it makes us feel important when we know information others don’t, in part elevating our unspoken status.

 

In some cases it might even be a form of projection. The key to know whether you might be gossiping about others as a form of projection is when your reaction to certain behavior is disproportionate.

 

For example, why does it bother you so much that someone who is single and you barely know, slept with two guys in the same week? Could it be that you are suppressing feelings about your own sexuality out of misplaced shame and guilt?

 

The Ugly

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Four

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Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week is the grand finale where we see what practical steps we can take to adopt a more positive outlook!

 

Steps to foster a positive outlook:

 

I have outlined what actions I took to eradicate my negative mindset and create a positive outlook, so that you too can increase your positivity and happiness.

 

 

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Three

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This week we continue to explore the 8 key gains of adopting a positive outlook.

 

The 8 gains of a positive outlook:

 

5.       Positivity sees failure as opportunities to learn and grow. Any possible failures are seen as learning curves which can help us to see where we went wrong and enable us to adjust our future approach to goals, situations or problems accordingly.

 

6.      Critically, positive people focus on finding solutions to problems rather than negative people who can be more myopic and focus on the problem itself without a wider, outcome focussed approach.

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Two

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week we saw how others negativity and our own can cause us to enter into a negative downward spiral, this week we explore the 8 key gains of adopting a positive outlook.

 

The 8 gains of a positive outlook:

 

Beyond the scientific evidence which supports the many benefits of being positive, positivity leads to a happier, more fulfilling life. Below are the nine key psychological advantages of fostering a positive mental attitude:

 

  1. Positivity enables us to see the best possible outcomes and leads us to feel inspired. When I was positive at my job in London I remember feeling excited for the future and being inspired to be creative and try new things. The more I visualised my future being happy and successful, the more inspired l became. Inspiration leads to an increased capacity for creativity. I often say creativity is self-expression in its truest form. Once we are inspired to express ourselves creatively, we naturally feel more at peace with our own individuality – what a wonderful by-product of inspiration and creative self-expression!

 

  1. Positive people also anticipate success rather than failure which feeds into our motivation and consequently reduces the likelihood that we will give up. When we envisage positive outcomes of challenging problems or situations, we automatically increase our resolve to persist until a positive outcome is reached, in line with our expectations.

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part One

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Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recently I was working as a receptionist in an ongoing temporary placement. I couldn’t have been happier – I found the work easy and enjoyable, the people were really welcoming and friendly and the pay was good.

 

As I progressed in my placement and became closer to my colleagues I was told nightmare stories about the boss who allegedly intimidated his workers and ruled with an iron fist. At no point whilst working there did I see any behaviour of his that I would class as out of the ordinary however the stories inevitably coloured my experience of how I perceived the workplace.

 

About a month into the placement my colleagues began to gossip to me about nearly all of their  in turn. At first I felt awkward and then before long I felt as if I were expected to agree with the comments, thereby joining in on the gossip myself. This process happened so subtly that I was soon privy to all manner of gossip, from how one new employee was too negative to how needy another was.

 

It wasn’t long before I started to become more negative, focussing on the flaws in people as opposed to my more typical empathetic and positive attitude towards others. It was as if the negativity I was surrounded by was breeding negativity in me, like a virus spreading through my body.

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