By Jean Eljay, PhD, MS, CMT, CHt, NLPc, AdvCH, CHt
In their article on happiness, MA Killingsworth and DT Gilbert noted that humans focus on things that are not present and perhaps may not even exist. The mind wanders about half the time we are awake. Indeed, the authors suggest that … “mind wandering was generally the cause, and not merely the consequence, of unhappiness.” The literature links most unhealthy outcomes with the belief in “too much or too little behaviors”. These behaviors stem primarily from being unfocused about the uniqueness and contributions that each and every individual brings. We listen to and accept all the negativity that society, our extended families, and friends, and most of all, ourselves bring by using negative self-talk. Negativity builds a framework of questions with few answers. This creates confusion and uncertainty. In turn, the confusion and uncertainty reinforce and strengthen the negativity. This becomes ingrained as an endless cycle of frustration and unhappiness.
Unfortunately, some major consequences of allowing these pressures to fester will cause unhealthy outcomes in ourselves and those around us. This pressure can come from anywhere for example: 1) performing poorly 2) lacking stable relationships with family and relatives, 3) feeling insecure about lasting friendships 4) humiliating and embarrassing social blunders and lastly, 5) just being “not being good enough” – (a good example of the imposter syndrome). While these are a few sterling examples; the list of triggers initiating and maintaining pressure is unending.
Reducing pressure and diminishing negativity results in immediate refocusing on the positive aspects of life. Everyone takes and remembers the many missteps that occurred along the way. Fixating on these missteps only reinforces the negative. This tends to sap energies necessary to maintain a positive outlook. Taken together, past mistakes and future concerns jointly upend the harmony of the present moment. Demonstrated by research over and over again, positivity is work. It requires and expends energy. It is so much easier to give-in and give-up. Once the dreams and future goals are diminished, it becomes so much easier to quit.
In her seminal book entitled, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success which was first published in 2006, Carol S. Dweck presents the idea that in order to grow at any task, failure must be viewed as a proper and fitting step taken to success. In her book, each chance that is taken always results in a step toward growth. The growth mindset helps to build that elusive positive road to success. In terms commonly used to promote success, “every challenge is an opportunity”. When those opportunities are taken, regardless of the outcome, positive learning and growth happen easily and naturally. Therefore, a growth mindset opens the road to positivity and success. Focusing on growing and taking action helps to release all the pressure as it builds up. The time span of this build up does not matter. It might be instantaneous or built up over time. Life sapping pressure is the result of the lack of belief in growth. This occurs whether in the moment or whether it has been accumulating over a lifetime. As we focus on growing and learning all that accumulated negative pressure is released. Just like the valve on a pressure cooker, the steam is sent harmlessly skyward.
Moving forward during one’s lifetime, it is appropriate and necessary to decide what needs to be created to be joyful and happy. Focus on life’s uniqueness and value. One powerful way of taking that path of happiness is to create the expectation of it and enjoy each step. When the conscious and subconscious mind are enlisted for happiness and harmony, the results are a happier and healthier lifestyle. Together they diminish the negative effects of high pressure, confusion, and uncertainty.
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