“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” ~Wayne Dyer
According to many life couches and self-help experts, the key to living a happy, productive, and successful life is to think positively, become more aware, and develop your consciousness. All admirable and helpful characteristics, but how do you learn to think positively? If you want to become more aware, what should you become aware of? And exactly what is consciousness?
The key is ATTENTION.
Attention Is a Choice
Attention defined is:
- The act or state of applying the mind to something.
- The ability or power to concentrate mentally.
- Observant consideration; notice.
What you pay attention to or focus your attention on becomes your reality. If your focus is continually on the negative things going on in the world then guess what? Your reality will become one of fear, threat, scarcity, and violence. If, instead, you make a conscious choice to pay more attention to the positive things happening around you; the beauty of the sunlight streaming through your windows, the sound of children laughing, a tasty meal, a breathtaking piece of art, people helping each other, you will begin to notice a shift in your perceptions.
You have a choice as to where you want to focus your attention, you do it all the time; surfing Facebook or Pinterest when you should be working, eavesdropping when out in public, listening intently when playing children suddenly get quiet, relishing the beauty in a single blossom or a work of art. Making positive changes in your life begins when you start to recognize your own personal power; the power to choose what to focus your attention on.
Shifting Your Attention
Imagine for a moment that you have a very disagreeable toddler who is whiny, crabby, annoying (I know it’s not much of a stretch for the imagination if you have kids). For many people, your attention naturally centers on how irritating this toddler’s behavior is to you.
With that same young child in mind, consciously change your attention now. Instead of focusing of how you are reacting to the toddler’s behavior, place your attention on the child. What might the child be experiencing? In my experience, most kids are whiny, crabby, and annoying because they are either tired, uncomfortable, bored, or sick. How does that awareness feel now? Are YOU a little less irritated? How do you think the child would respond if you approached it with compassion instead of anger? Yes, this sounds a lot like ‘Put yourself in their shoes’, and in this instance, it is.
With practice, positively shifting your attention can help you overcome negative thinking. Change can be unnerving, often fraught with fear and self-doubt, but things never improve without change.
Check out the article “Challenging Negative Self-talk” for some tips on how to bring more positive thoughts into your life.