What's a "Positivity Practice?"

Soaring Into the Light“He who would learn to fly one day must learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”
– Nietzsche

 

A Positivity Practice is an activity you do on a regular basis to increase and expand the experience of well-being in your life.  It’s the learning to stand and walk that comes before flying, and the ace-level flying that takes you to new heights.

Train Your Brain

Positivity Practices train your reticular activating system,  the part of your brain that filters the billions of bits of data your senses process according to what’s important to you.  They teach it that you’re on the lookout for specific kinds of feel-good yummies.

Activate the Body-Mind Connection

Some Positivity Practices train your body as well, showing you how to move with more flexibility, freedom, balance  and grace.   They teach you to be more aware of your breathing, your posture, your sensory input, your levels of tension and relaxation.   They show you how to tune into the messages from your heart,  how to listen with your whole body and not just your ears.  In short, they build your mind-body connection and integrate you.

Whole-Mind Enhancement

On subtler, more advanced levels, Positivity Practices lead you to greater familiarity with your larger mind. They expand your awareness and let you experience the ability to direct your thoughts and to release them, to hone  your intuition, to  center your attention in the present, and to build your capacity for focus.

Mastery

Positivity Practices are skill-building tools that enrich all aspects of your life, introducing you to more and more parts of yourself and leading you to greater mastery of the magnificent instrument of consciousness that you are.  And because they’re all about you, they’re a source of endless discovery and ever-increasing power and joy.

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Three Good Things: A Positivity Practice

WARNING: Don’t be deceived by the apparent simplicity of this practice. It holds more challenge than you might suspect. And it produces some potent benefits and results.

WARNING: Don’t be deceived by the apparent simplicity of this practice.  It holds more challenge than you might suspect.  And it produces some potent benefits and results.

Practice Instructions:

Three Good Things.

Every day for the next three weeks write down three good things the day held for you.

That’s it.  The whole thing.

.

.

The Challenges

It doesn’t sound very sexy.  It sounds superficial and glib, like a throw-away sentence from a hackneyed self-improvement book.  Again I say:  Do not be deceived.

It’s easy to dismiss.  “I already know my day was fine,” you say.  “Why bother writing things down.  This is silly.”

Over and over again in the posts at PLN you’re going to hear me warn you about the four most dangerous words in the English language: “I already know that.”  The fact is, unless you have practiced Three Good Things previously, you have no idea of its potential power.  It measurably improves the sense of well-being even in the clinically depressed.  If your starting point is higher than that, you’ll get even more of a boost from it.

It’s not as easy to do as you might think.  We tend to gloss over and take for granted the positive moments of our days.  The positive emotions are fragile and fleeting.  Like thoughts, after they have floated past, we tend not to remember them.  Be prepared to feel a bit stumped, and even frustrated, when you begin this practice. It’s normal.  Just make up your mind ahead of time that you will do it anyway.

For some help in getting started, see:  Scavenger Hunting for Positivity Souvenirs: 50 Good Things to Collect on Your Travels.

By the way, it not only gets easier, but it becomes a lot of fun as you go along.  Remember, what we focus on expands in our experience.  By the second week, you may find yourself waking up wondering what good things will end up on your list today.

Installing a new daily routine takes effort.  Whether it’s starting a new exercise routine or diet, a new job, or learning a new skill, in the beginning everything takes effort.  Make up your mind to make the commitment to it, and let it be a challenge and fun.  Think of it as more of a game you’re playing with yourself, a scavenger hunt for positive experiences, rather than as a chore.

The Pay Off

You're a Winner!Some of the rewards you will get from this practice are:

  • Enhanced self-awareness (And Self-Liking!)
  • Exercise of your ability to focus
  • Increased skill in noticing (An essential for building greater positivity)
  • Insight into your personal positivity triggers (Wow!  This turns me On!)
  • Greater enjoyment of your life as you increasing tune your attention to things that make you feel good  (It’s FUN!)
  • Increased awareness of how much goes right in your day
  • A collection of positive memories to savor at day’s end (Mmm!  Bedtime Treats!)
  • Something new to talk about over dinner  (Awww.  Giggles. Appreciation. Closeness.)
  • And, in retrospect, a way to see the areas of your life where you tend to put your attention and to consider whether you want to make any changes. (More Joy in More Places!)

Practice Tips

  • Make a firm commitment to yourself to do the practice.  Do it for fun, or just to see if you can, or because you want to test it to see what kind of results it produces for you.  But make the conscious and committed decision.
  • Hunting the Good ThingsGet yourself a butterfly net to catch your good things as soon as you spot one. (Before they flit away!) If you have a pen and paper handy, jot it down.  Or text yourself a message.  If you can’t physically record it somewhere, make a strong mental note of it by creating a memorable mental image of it or by giving it a label of some kind.  Noting good things as they occur throughout the day is much, much easier than trying to recall them at day’s end, believe me!
  • Set aside a regular time for recording your three good things each day and designate where you will keep your lists.  Make a new folder on your computer labeled “Positivity Practices” and a file called “Three Good Things.”  If you prefer to write by hand, get yourself a new notebook or a place where you can keep your daily notes together and organized.
  • If it appeals to you, consider making the practice a ritual.  Buy a special journal for collecting your daily lists.  Play relaxing music as your write, maybe light a couple candles.  Let your daily review be a kind of meditation, an exercise in savoring.
  • Reward yourself for your daily completion by checking off the date on a calendar.  You might like the free, fun, progress tracking calendar at Don’tBreaktheChain.com
  • If you miss a day, just continue the following day.  It’s okay.
  • Share the practice with a partner, or friend, or your whole immediate family.  Make a date to share your lists on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Share your experiences with other PLN readers by commenting on this post.  Bookmark it, or look for it in the Positive Practices archives and add your questions or comments as you work the practice.
  • Oh, and it’s okay to write more than three if you can’t decide which of many good things to choose.  But don’t settle for less than three.  And I suggest you try to limit yourself to no more than five or six when an especially great day comes along.

*    *    *

That’s it.  Make the commitment and get started.

Next week, you’ll find a different practice to add to your repertoire.  So get a good start on Three Good Things right now.  And, hey!  Have fun!

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Scavenger Hunting for Positivity Souvenirs

50 Good Things to Collect On Your Travels

Good Things.

Sometimes we’re so busy enjoying our positive moments that they slide by without our noticing them.

To increase your awareness of the good things in your life, go on a scavenger hunt for positivity souvenirs.

Here’s a list of the kinds of things to put in your basket of treasures:

  1. Something that made you laugh
  2. Something that made you proud
  3. Something that made you feel warmth for another person
  4. A good decision you made
  5. Something beautiful you saw
  6. Something delicious you ate
  7. Something you accomplished
  8. Something that made you feel a part of your community
  9. Noticing a negative feeling or thought and letting it go
  10. An act of generosity you witnessed or performed
  11. A good habit you reinforced
  12. A new idea that excited you
  13. A goal you achieved
  14. Something you did that was fun
  15. Something that made you feel satisfaction
  16. Something that inspired you
  17. An act of kindness that you witnessed or performed
  18. Something that made you feel compassion
  19. A time when you really listened to someone
  20. Moments when you were mindful/aware
  21. Giving or receiving a gift
  22. Times of spiritual connection (meditation/prayer/ritual)
  23. Something you celebrated
  24. A beautiful fragrance you smelled
  25. Taking good care of your body
  26. Taking time to relax
  27. Getting enough sleep
  28. Something that made you feel confident
  29. Something you did really well
  30. Telling someone how awesome they are
  31. Staying calm in a potentially upsetting situation
  32. A moment when you appreciated someone else’s achievements
  33. Listening to really great music
  34. Saying no to a temptation
  35. Engaging in a hobby or sport you enjoy
  36. Something you did to help someone
  37. Getting something done you have been putting off
  38. Telling someone sincerely that you love them
  39. A moment that encouraged you
  40. Encouraging someone else
  41. Giving or receiving a hug
  42. Something that made you feel capable or competent
  43. Making good headway on a project
  44. Smiling at strangers
  45. Trying something new
  46. Improving something in your environment
  47. Seeing something worthy and new in a familiar acquaintance
  48. Doing something you were afraid to do
  49. Doing something creative
  50. Something that made you feel reverence, gratitude or awe
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Welcome to Positive-Living-Now!

I want your whole life to be sparkled with joy. And when it fades, I want you to sigh a long, satisfied sigh of pleasure and to find yourself refreshed, relaxed, and ready to meet the moment at hand, whatever it may hold.

Glasses clink.
Music plays.
Balloons and fireworks fill the air.
Hearts throb.
Feet tap.
Laughter rises.
Trumpets blare.
Bics Click.
Elephants parade by.  (Elephants?)
Fireworks burst.
Coat tailed waiters carry in a giant cake, ablaze with candles.
Men cry.
Women swoon.

“Okay, okay,” she says, grabbing the microphone.  “Enough of that.  Now let’s get to work.”

What?  What?” you say, rubbing your eyes.  “Did someone say ‘work?’ I thought we were going to party!”

“We just did!” she says, handing you a plate of cake.  “But positive moments are fleeting, you know.  You want more, you gotta pay your dues.  Want some coffee with that cake?  You look like you could use some.”

Suddenly you find yourself sitting at your computer, reading words on the opening page of the new Positive-Living-Now blog.  Great little dream there, wasn’t it?  Can you still feel the tingle as it fades away?  That was the joy of celebration, the bright dazzle of it.  And I want you to have more.

I want your whole life to be sparkled with joy.  And when it fades, I want you to sigh a long, satisfied sigh of pleasure and to find yourself refreshed, relaxed, and ready to meet the moment at hand, whatever it may hold.  That’s what positive living is all about.

It’s about drinking in all life’s joys and wonders, and being open to whatever life holds.  And the purpose of Positive-Living-Now is to provide you with ways to do just that, to find the best in life, and in you, and to make it even better.

Thanks for your curiosity and interest.  Thanks for being a part of our launch.  I happily invite you to subscribe to Positive-Living-Now, to make it your home for learning vibrant living.

Oh, but before we settle down, one more thing.  For those of you in the front row who signed up before we launched  – and those of you who subscribe before June 15 – I have a welcome gift for you, just to thank you for believing in Positive Living.  Watch for it in your email soon.

Now, sit back, relax, look around and enjoy.   Come back often.  I have a wealth of good things to share.

Warmly,
Susan

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