1. Take Control – I understand this may not be easy for some but the fact is that we are all responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Except in extreme circumstances – we can take control of these things and train our minds (just like muscles) to become stronger, more durable and more positive.
2. Make a habit of exercising – “Healthy body, healthy mind”. Not only does exercise make you feel good physically and emotionally it also encourages positive hormones to be released in your body and brain.
3. Eat right – “You are what you eat” A diet of junk and nutrient poor food starves your body and brain of nutrients they need to function properly and feel good.
4. Be realistic/flexible – Accept that there will be setbacks, successes and failures. It is natural to go and up and down with one’s motivation and emotion and it is natural that the best laid plans with often be interrupted. Accept frustration and find solutions or just keep moving forward despite them.
5. Develop disciplines – Change requires change! Meaning if you want to be more positive – you have to do something that will result in more positivity – like reading a book! You need to develop disciplines of learning the things you need to learn or exercising or eating better or sleeping better or all of the above! Just be careful not to try to do it all at once! Take baby steps.
6. Baby steps – Sometimes when we look at what we can improve – numerous things appeal to us or confront us! Pick the one or three most important things you want to change and start with – trying to do too much can be a recipe for disaster.
7. Be grateful – an attitude of gratitude attracts positivity! Gratitude involves positive thought and therefore creates a state of mind of looking for more positives. Find anything to appreciate – your time, body, friends, things, weather, life!
8. Smile – “when you smile the whole world smiles with you – when you’re sad you are alone” quite simply you get what you give – if you can give some positivity in a smile – you will get some positivity back!
9. Use Positive affirmations – Positive affirmations can be a great way to train your mind and change some thought patterns. Try to choose your three most self-limiting thoughts and train yourself to turn those thoughts into uplifting thought! (e.g. instead of “I’ll always be fat” – affirm to yourself “I am getting fitter and leaner by the day and I will be proud to achieve my goal weight of 80kgs by July 30 2011”
10. Relieve stress/anger – It is hard to avoid stress and anger so it is important to have some mechanisms to relieve these negatives. Have some strategies in place – talk to your partner/friend/trainer, go for a walk/swim, do a weights or boxing session – find something you enjoy and have it available when needed.
11. Remove stress – This may not always be possible but quite often it is! If you can avoid a stressful situation then do! Or if you have a problem hanging over your head – deal with it. Sometimes delaying confrontation can be more stressful than the confrontation itself.
12. Find passions/talents – We all have something special about us. Find and develop your talents or passions. You don’t have to be the best in the world in what interests you but if you can find something to do that you deeply enjoy doing – this can be a great outlet and can build great peace and strength.
13. Act – don’t react – Being proactive can mean taking the imitative in different circumstances. (e.g. instead of waiting for ill-health to inspire you to get fit – you can get fit before ill-health comes. On a deeper level being proactive means realising that “Between what happens to us – and how we react to what happens to us – is our ability to choose our response”. To me this means that in any given situation we have the ability to control what we do – no matter what happens to us – we can choose how we will act.