SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Month: October 2015

Dear Negative Nancy, You’re Not Welcome Here!

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Negativity is poison to our body and minds. It consumes us, it takes over. And it does so with ease….We barely even know it’s happening.

The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will be. Would you agree with this statement? I think that is an easy ‘yes’ for most people.
But, what happens when you are the one bringing the negativity to the table?

It happens, we all have spurts of being the dreaded ‘Negative Nancy’. The one who focuses on all negative things, talks negatively, whines, never has anything good to say, and focuses a lot on their lives and all the things going wrong… We have all been there! But, how do we get out of this dreaded phase? How do we keep from allowing the negativity to take over?

Negative thinking is easy. In my opinion, it’s our minds lazy track. It is so much easier to think negatively than positive. We really need to train our minds to focus on positivity and leave the negative to Nancy.
I have a question for you…What are some negative traits you feel you posses? Those things you want to change?
…I bet it was really easy for you to come up with a list of things you do not like about yourself, or feel need some tweaking. But now ask yourself the opposite; what are your best qualities? What do you love about you?
…Was it more difficult to come up with your positive features than negative? Was your positive list shorter? A lot of the times, we will answer yes. Our minds steer towards the negative, and a lot of times we have to train ourselves to think about the good, the positive, the uplifting. It is hard to forget about the negative and put it aside. It is hard to ignore those thoughts.

Think about how much easier our lives would be if we didn’t respond to or pay attention to all the negativity. If we thought about the great qualities we have, the good in the world, focus on our friendships and their worth… Wouldn’t that be wonderful? 

I think we have all had that friend who is stuck in ‘Negative Nancy’ phase. The one who always thinks about themselves- the ‘poor me’ attitude- and quite frankly is just exhausting to be around! You leave feeling so icky and ‘blah’ inside because they have complained so much and had nothing good to say about anything/anyone. The ‘Nancys’ of the world tend to focus on themselves, and afterwards our moods change because of all the negativity that has been brought in by Nancy. I unfortunately have had to wash my hands clean of some Nancy’s in my life, and it’s really too bad. They had some fabulous qualities about them, but they let so much negativity consume them, that they could not even focus on the positive and supportive friendships they had right in front of them.

So, how do we keep from becoming Nancy? What can we do?

For me, the most important step is to be mindful. I love the word ‘mindful’ because it  really keeps me in check. To be mindful means to focus on our present moment, to be aware of ourselves and our thoughts. Mindful means to think about our current feelings, thoughts, and our body language.  Once we start recognizing right away that we are being negative, we can alter our thinking. There are numerous mindfulness techniques available to practice and help train ourselves to be more present in the current moment.

Another important step in avoiding becoming the Negative Nancy of your posy is to remember that life is not fair. We all have days of feeling like we had a giant target on our backs, and we just do not understand why everything terrible is happening to us today. It is important in these moments to work on training our minds to think positive thoughts. What about my day went well? What can I do differently next time? Tomorrow is a new day! It could always be worse. Think about what you are thankful for today, think about what is going right in your life. Again, being mindful of the moment and how you’re feeling. It is a waste of time to go through life thinking about the obstacles that come your way that are not fair. This is a waste of your energy..Energy that could be utilized is much more productive ways!

Try not to use the word but. But is so negative! It is an ugly word, in my opinion, and always negates the beginning of your sentence. For example, what if I said to you “thank you so much for helping me clean the house today, but next time don’t forget to fold the towels’…What does your mind focus on? For me, it focuses  on the statement about forgetting to fold towels and makes me feel defensive. But completely eliminates the first part of the sentence, making it seem as if it never existed, because we focus on the negative which begins with but. It takes practice to rearrange our sentences to eliminate the word but, however it does make our conversations with others more positive, therefore people’s interactions with us are more positive as well. What if instead I thought about that sentence and said ,” regardless of the towels not being folded, I noticed how great of a job you did cleaning today and I really appreciate that…Thank you”.

Always remember that smiling is the best medicine 🙂 Nothing helps uplift our spirits and load our minds with positivity more than a little laughter and smiling. Smiling is contagious! The more we smile, the more people around us will feel our positivity and want to find something to smile about too. Isn’t your favorite person at the office the one who is always making light of the situation and cracking jokes? You can be that person too, if you want to!

Also important is not to dwell…Try moving forward and turn that negativity into a learning experience. Dwelling on icky feelings keeps us feeling down in the dumps. It rubs off on our friends, and honestly makes them not want to be around us. Not to say we can’t vent sometimes to our friends, that is what friends are for too! Just try focusing on positive aspects of your friendships as well, and be supportive of one another in the positive aspects of your lives.

Know that it is okay to seek out a ‘listener'(therapist, counselor, life coach). Utilizing a listener is such a wonderful and healthful gift that we can give ourselves.  We don’t have all the answers.  People who are trained in these fields can serve as a  wonderful and non-judgmental sounding board.  Don’t ever deny yourself the ability to consider visiting with someone if life presents you with a roadblock. Allow this ‘listener’ to help untangle the thoughts and come to a place of peace.  We all help each other, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

Another important factor of course, as I have mentioned before, is to work on loving yourself! I talk a lot about this because it is so important, and so easily overlooked because we spend a lot of time putting our energy into others’ needs before our own. To love yourself will bring positive feelings, and it will be easier to let the negative stuff go. As I mentioned in a previous blog (http://swsecrets.net/2015/10/08/lifes-too-short/), make a list of what you love about yourself. Think about some of these things right away in the morning, or right before bed. Better yet, have your list somewhere visible. It sounds cheesy, but it’s really helpful. My husband and I made a list of things we love about each other and have them next to our bed. It always cheers me up to see that list, even if I do not read it. Just having it there is a reminder that I am loved and possess many great qualities that my husband notices.

Being a positive person will bring more positive feelings, experiences, and people into our lives.

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

keep shining

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Life’s Too Short

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It’s true…. Life is WAY to short to be unhappy. Our days here truly are limited, so it’s really important that we make the most of it. We really do exhaust ourselves without even realizing it a lot of the time. From work loads that seem to follow us home, children and their busy schedules, laundry (my personal favorite), oh  the list goes on and on!

During my travels to other countries, I have learned that we in the U.S. are really materialistic, hard working people. We work, a lot. We work hard, and we are constantly on the go. We spend hours upon hours working to afford that gorgeous $300,000 home, but never spend any time in that new home because we are always working! Ironic, isn’t it?

I remember hearing this question once and it has really stuck with me. I believe it went something like this… “The day when you are on your death bed, who do you want beside you? Your job, or your family and friends?” For me, this was really powerful. Where do you want to spend a lot of your time? Consumed by your work, or being happy spending time with those you love? Which one of those options will be there for you in your final days?

Now I am not saying work is not important. I love my job, and we need to work to meet our needs. But, to be happy means to find balance.

Where do we find balance? Where can we find some peace and happiness, and learn to do things for ourselves once in a while?

You’ve got to learn to make time to be happy! Do what you love, and love spending time with yourself. It’s so important to spend time by yourself and get to know the person you are. It is so important to love yourself before giving ourselves to everyone else. It is okay to be selfish sometimes!

Have you ever been asked the question what are the things you love most in your life? And how many times on our long list of things we love do we mention ourselves? Probably never! We need to love ourselves in order to be happy. And in order to be happy we need to take breaks from every day monotony to enjoy what we love. Make a list of things you want to make more time for, whether it’s watching a movie once a week or going on a trip. But, remember to put yourself at the top of that list and remember to spend time getting to know who you are.

What are things in your life (besides your charming self, of course!) that you love? What are things you wish you had more time for because they make you happy?

Make time for those things, and make time for yourself. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

‘It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.’

-keep shining