Think Small – On Positive Mindsets

Emerging from a weekend that possibly felt no different than the rest of the week, I think it’s time to face the truth: we’re all stressed and under pressure. Whether personally or professionally, this new normal is testing even the most agile and resilient of us. Work isn’t the same and none of this is business as usual. There are meetings with pets barking in the background, random deadlines sent at crazy times and many parents trying to desperately keep their children out of Zoom calls (some more successfully than others). It’s intense for everyone and it’s not about to change any time soon. 

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I thought it would be helpful to share with you what has helped me not lose my shit all together. And trust me, like many of you, I’ve had plenty of reasons to do so in the past weeks and months. 

Now, when I can’t change things that are affecting me negatively, which let’s be honest happens a lot to any of us at the best of times, what I like to do is refocus my attention on the good things. However small, positives can be found at any time. Where I’d normally be an advocate for the think big approach and the reach for the stars mantra, today and during this crazy time my motto is: think small. And when I say small, I mean ‘Asda’s mango shower gel that makes my skin dry but smells like summer’ small. 

So here are a few more examples of the small things that get me through the day in no particular order:

  • My morning cup of coffee
  • The reduced commute (now from my bed to the living room – approx 10 steps)
  • Reading time on the couch 
  • Sunshine (even through the window)
  • Two-minute microwave cookies

My point here is, you really can find happiness in the small things if you decide to focus on them. 

At this point, I should probably clarify that I wasn’t born with a positive mindset. I struggled through many challenging things in life and carried with me a lot of anger. But I’ve managed to slowly work through it and today my mind is able to spot the positives, even when there doesn’t seem to be many (e.g. during a global pandemic). 

Before I learnt to adapt my mindset to think positively, these were some of the misconceptions I had of positive people:

  • They are always happy and smiling
  • Their life is great and they don’t have problems
  • They are faking it 

You know what’s coming next. As a ‘turned to positive’ person, I can tell you that the above is simply not true. Despite now being a positive person, I still have many bad days and I’m not always happy, but I am not faking my positive mindset. I mention this is because those stereotypes are what for the longest time stopped me believing I could become a positive person. I used to think that my life was simply too complicated and tough. Positive people, to me, were those who’s lightness was simply a reflection of the beautiful life they had, nothing more. Truth is, if anyone were to think that of me, they couldn’t be more wrong.

So here I sit, typing this up in the hope that it will help you to find at least one small thing today that can bring you some light. That’s all you need to become a positive person and trust me, it’s well worth it. 

Ain

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