Bridge of Life

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny
― Lao Tzu

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed, confused or even fearful
and not exactly sure why?  With the hustle and bustle of modern life,
negative thoughts and energy can creep into our psyche but that doesn’t mean
they have to stay. As the summer slowly winds down this is a wonderful time to
take a trip inward to exam feelings of negativity that may be keeping you from
living a more vibrant life.  Accumulating negative energy can be as subtle
as the changing of seasons and you may not notice it until you stop for a
moment to reflect on your inner feelings.  The good news is that once you
become aware of negative energy you can uproot it with five simple steps that
will put you back on a positive path and keep you there.

Becoming Aware of negative influences is the first step to eliminating them. Are
there toxic people in your life those chronic complainers that are unwilling to
entertain change?  Have you stopped doing the things you enjoy such as
dancing, biking, strolling on the beach or simply reading a book?  Take
stock of what you listen to on the radio and television.  Do you overload
on news or jarring music or watch T.V. series laden with violence?  Have
you taken on too much work limiting your down-time?  All of these questions
can help identify potential sources of draining negative energy. Once you have
taken inventory you can create a plan to implement change.

Reclaim your creativity. Hush the naysayers (real or imaginary) by getting back to the
things you love, those innate gifts that have always been there.  Burying
or neglecting these precious parts of yourself can causes a sense of un-fulfillment
or a vague uneasiness.  Negative energy often feeds on the fears imposed
by others. By taking action, such as picking up that dusty paint brush, or
joining a poetry class or learning to play an instrument (creativity is
limitless) you will refuel your imagination.  You don’t have to be a
Picasso or the next great novelist to enjoy things you are passionate about.
By carving out time for your creative self, you will liberate your true
nature, which ultimately douses negativity.  Joseph Chilton Pearce, the
renowned author and lecturer on human development says, “To live a creative
life; we must lose our fear of being wrong.”  Let yourself go and be a student
of life again.

Take a walk, ride
a bike, practice yoga or Pilates.  The body is meant to move, too much
hunching over devices causes your posture to slump and your spine to shrink and
with it your spirits spiral. Giving your joints and muscles a workout
stimulates endorphins (positive chemicals in the brain) that motivate and
uplift negative moods  The side effects of exercise are feeling stronger
and more empowered, which then seeps into all aspects of your life.  One
very useful yoga philosophy is change your actions; change your minds. In
other words, by getting the body in motion, we get out of the thinking mind and
the stories it has created.  By releasing pent up stress, you free up
space for positive thoughts.  If time is an issue, exercise during lunch
or snag an early morning class or put on music in the privacy of your home and
dance.  Making exercise a priority is a powerful way to combat fatigue and
stress while paying homage to your body.

Walking can also be an opportunity to re-commune with nature.
Smelling the seasonal scents, whatever they may be, reminds us of our
connection to the earth and one another. Feeling a soft breeze or the warmth of
the sun renews and refreshes our sense of well-being.

Swap out negative language for words of encouragement and support.  Write down
affirmations to remind yourself to fold positive vocabulary into
everyday conversations.  Observe your remarks and gently replace negative
ones with positives—find that proverbial silver lining. Try finding something
to be grateful for every day.  Perhaps tune into inspirational music (and
by this I don’t mean religious) rather than music with negative words or
messages.  Find a favorite guided meditation or motivational speaker that
you relate to.  Play them when you feel bombarded with negative news or
feedback.  Enlisting your sense of hearing is another way to entice
positive energy and this includes the language we use.  Soon, exchanging a
negative for a positive phrase will become habit and you’ll find yourself
smiling more and worrying less.

Breathe! Slow
rhythmic breathing melts away anxiety and revives the nervous system, stamping
out negative energy. Experiment with counting to four as you inhale, pause, and
then count to four as you exhale. Do this for several minutes, maybe close your
eyes and visualize a comforting place; the ocean or a favorite park.
Listen to sounds of nature (either live or on your phone or CD player).
Seeking out solitary moments to breathe with awareness quiets the mind.  Traveling
inward is like taking a mini vacation from daily demands. Before long those
negative impulses will float away leaving space for a calm mindset that you can
access anytime.

These are but a few suggestions to help you reclaim a positive,
vivacious life that serves your truest self as you enjoy the remaining August


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