Once I posted it, I had to DO it. To walk my talk. To prove to myself that I could.

The article discusses a mindset shift: from a default negativity bias to a strengths-basis. The “publish” button catalyzed my personal practice going public. I’m now the facilitator of the public Facebook group From Bias to Best: 40 Day Practice. I post questions, prompts, and personal responses focused on being our best, most energized, engaged, and fulfilled.

Mind Your Matter

This practice is an application of Positive Psychology, the study of happiness and fulfillment, whereas traditional psychology focuses on dysfunction and mental illness. (1)

It’s a mindfulness practice for energy intelligence. Noticing and experiencing the energetics of mind, body, emotion, and state of being provides insight to what motivates our default ways of being and behaving. With that awareness, we can show up and respond to life consciously. We can intentionally create fulfillment and peace of mind rather than react to life happening to us.

Contrast Crunch

As we become mindful of our energy, we bring into view what energizes and engages us. This changes our view of the old background of “negativity,” what drains and derails us. The new perspective accentuates contrast. That is, in looking for being energized and at our best, every element of “NOT THAT” reveals itself. Contrast is uncomfortable.

As I engaged with the practice, that’s what I noticed. The contrast showed up for me in grief, irritability, and body aches. I felt sad, disappointment, and shame and wanted to check out.

Dodging Discomfort

The discomfort of contrast presents itself at the boundary of our comfort zone. It presents a growing edge, that might challenge, excite, or scare us. It’s not going away and we know it. When we’re not ready or willing to surrender to it, we’re likely to seek escape from discomfort in one of these 3 ways.

  • Fixing: Treating the experience as negative, bad, wrong, or unwanted. It often manifests as changing circumstances, locations, habits, jobs, relationships, etc.
  • Resisting: Not being with the experience of “negative” emotions and interpretations of life. It may look like distraction, denial, numbing out, or powering through.
  • Bypassing: Using the tools of self-awareness (framing in the positive, here) to create illusion or obscure awareness, to avoid the experience. This is the dark side of positive psychology.

Experience the Experience

There’s no way out the discomfort, but through it. Being present to the “negative” experience is part of the practice. It holds information and provides cues for next steps. The experience shifts with each pause, providing yet another moment to practice, to grow.

For me, writing, talking with close friends, and physical activity get me present to my experience. I offer the best of me to myself, lean into the discomfort, and open up to forgiveness, compassion, and love.

What about you? How do you avoid the Perils of Positive Thinking? Share here.