If someone ever gave out free samples of positivity, I’d surely try it since “free” is my price. Not only that, but I want more positivity in my life. More doors of opportunity to be opened, more creative flow, restfulness, energy and laugh-out-loud moments.
When I was younger, I thought once I figured life out, I’d be perpetually happy. I’d know exactly how to avoid pitfalls by learning from my mistakes. Only challenge is, I’m still making my mistakes.
It’s similar to the time I had the brilliant idea to make a list of the things I needed to get done before I sat down to read. My leisure reading time would start after I’d cross out everything that needed to be done for the day. The more I wrote down, the more there was to do. As a matter of fact, I began to have a list of lists. I started grouping certain activities to cut down on driving around so much on any one particular day.
After a few weeks, I concluded the only way to guarantee at least an hour’s reading time nearly every day was to schedule it since the list was virtually endless. I’d wind down for bed at a certain time, regardless of how far I’d made it on the list, and read for an hour.
Scheduling happiness is a far more challenging task. It involves more than avoiding pitfalls, boring people, junk food, traffic jams, high bills, car repairs, rising rent, illness, lack of money, insomnia, heartbreak and stress. A daily dose of happiness cannot be swallowed like a multivitamin, taken like a medicinal shot of tequila nor added to a morning smoothie to start the day.
Happiness, as I best understand it, is the result of an uncompromised immune system of positivity. Having an uncompromised immune system of positivity doesn’t mean that opportunistic assholes and bullshit don’t cross your path. It means despite the fact that they have, you’re STILL a happy person. A positive immune response allows you to recover from exposure to negativity.
A positive response may occur automatically and naturally for some people, but not if that person is me. I’ve had plenty of negative exposure that flared my temper, where, much after the fact, I thought of many different responses that could have diffused the situation had my mind not been flooded with negative thoughts.
The instant gratification of acting out, usually in the form of very sharp words, have set me back in the long run. At one point, I had a boss who actually strategized to tick me off. He’d counted on my temper worsening the situation during his last attempt. Unfortunately for him, I’d read a wonderful book called Working with You Is Killing Me. Armed with something more productive to do, I reacted empowered to the negative situation in a positive manner. I handled the situation so well that HIS boss complimented my reaction. A few minutes later, she realized that he had lied to her about my performance.
I’ve not faced such a situation again, but I can never vanquish all negatives once and for all. Blissfulness comes and goes. When it’s gone, all I can do about it is breathe and flow. Sit in stunned silence until the initial shock propagates through my nervous system. I breathe and I think. If I’m lucky, I haven’t had my daily exercise yet. Exercising is one of the healthiest ways I boost my positivity along with my breathing. I visualize the extra blood pumping through my vessels driving out the stress.
Whereas others need caffeine to wake up, pills to sleep and whatever else in between to dull the pain, I rely on the breath. Sometimes, it needs to slow down. Other times it needs to speed up. On rare occasions, like when I’m swimming, I need to rhythmically hold it.
Full disclosure: I practice yoga four times a week. Out of all forms of exercise I’ve ever tried from various styles of dancing, martial arts, lifting weights and swimming, the profound, directed breaths I take in yoga are the most useful to combating negativity. They are the free positivity samples.
Next time someone or something stresses you out, don’t hold your breath or huff and puff in anger or count to ten. Breathe. Give your brain the oxygen it needs to think of a positive response.