April 30, 2023
I am so glad you are reading this as even the title “Positivity” is controversial.
In this article I will be covering Positivity - what it is, what it isn’t, and why it matters and how to start genuinely being more positive as part of your wellness recovery process.
Positivity doesn’t just feel good in the moment, it opens us up and allows us to transform for the better, allowing us to discover and build new skills, new connections, new knowledge and new ways of being.
Learning new skills, developing healthy habits, and having more useful ways of being are all key in your recovering well process.
There will, no doubt, be plenty of people in your life telling you to stay or be positive. You might even be telling yourself this.
There are many challenges to being positive.
You may still be reeling from the actual diagnosis of cancer, with all the worries and fears that this can bring up.
You may have had to use medication that affected your mood significantly, or might be taking ongoing medication that affects your mood. I was profoundly affected by some of the medications, and what really blew my mind about this was the thoughts that I would have that weren’t what I would claim as my own. I wouldn't put myself in the “always stays positive” category but one medication in particular seemed to give me a whole new way of being miserable and what I can best describe as self-loathing. Not very helpful in being positive!
You might not have “well worn paths” of positivity yet (or you might feel old ways of feeling positive no longer sit as well with you since your life had changed so drastically).
And then there’s the challenge of toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is really just invalidation by another name. A way of dismissing difficult feelings, hiding painful emotions and ignoring your problems. It might come in the form of platitudes, reciting “positive”quotes about hard situations.
That’s not for you, if recovering your wellness and well-being is your goal so you can enjoy the benefits and wonderful parts of being alive.
Non-enjoyment smiles. Even the term brings a smile to my face when I think of this term as it’s something I instantly recognised without explanation. A study at Duke University Medical Center in 2001 looked at behaviours that linked to transient myocardial ischemia, expecting to see anger as a key behaviour. They did find that. They also found that “non-enjoyment smiles”, smiles that didn’t include the eyes and weren’t genuine expressions were also linked to transient myocardial ischemia.
In a nutshell - the kind of positivity that we are after for our health, and enjoyment of life is “Heartfelt” positivity.
In her book, Positivity, Barbara L. Fredrickson states there are ten forms of positivity - joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love.
Fredrickson (2001) is inspiring and encouraging when she tells us “You have, already within you, the active ingredient that’s needed to craft a happy life that’s full of growth and creativity, and to be remarkably resilient in hard times”.
Cancer diagnosis, treatment and your recovery back to a well lived life definitely has hard times. You may even feel depleted of your joy, gratitude and serenity at the moment.
Fredrikson (2001) has good news for us there too “this active ingredient is renewable”.
There are many paths to positivity, and like all things recovering well each step builds upon the previous one. The trouble with most habits, including positivity, is you might not yet have well worn paths for it which makes “just being positive” a bit of an uphill climb with lots of slippy parts.
Luckily wellness work brings it’s own rewards, and there is a simple starting point
Loving Kindness Meditation.
Using this guided meditation is simple and easy to do, all you have to do is “show up”
Barbara Fredrickson has resources on her website https://www.positivityresonance.com/meditations.html
Commit to trialing Loving Kindness meditation for the next 10 days and at the end of your experiment ask yourself....
What’s changing in me?
What situation have I seen myself approach in a more positive way or recover from more quickly?
Fredrickson, Barbara. Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life. Harmony/Rodale, 2009
Rosenberg EL, Ekman P, Jiang W, Babyak M, Coleman RE, Hanson M, O'Connor C, Waugh R, Blumenthal JA. Linkages between facial expressions of anger and transient myocardial ischemia in men with coronary artery disease. Emotion. 2001 Jun;1(2):107-15. doi: 10.1037/1528-35184.108.40.206. PMID: 12899191.
October 06, 2023
I have found with the people that I help that using minerals gives us a strong foundation to work with.
On a personal level I am extremely grateful for the support of minerals!!
September 01, 2023
August 25, 2023
When you start to think in a downward spiral, or become distracted or focussing on negative “unwanted” thoughts - of the past, the present or the future you simply tell your brain “Useful Thoughts Only”
The trick is catching yourself in the act, but I suspect you may have a few (or even many) opportunities each day to practice this technique. The great thing is, even if you realise after quite a while that you have been riding the unhelpful thought train, you can stop at any time and tell yourself - USEFUL THOUGHTS ONLY.