We've all heard the quote, "Surround yourself with positive people and positive things will happen. Surround yourself with negative people and negative things will happen". The same can be said of your thoughts. Studies show that positivity really does breed positivity. The more positivity surrounds people, the more they can appreciate it.


With everything happening in the world today, finding a positive mindset can be challenging, which is why it is more important than ever to create a positivity practice.


If you have ever watched an episode of Being Mary Jane (on BET), you will remember that Mary Jane had post-it notes all over her home with positive affirmations and motivational quotes to help her tap into her positive thought process. This practice may seem hokey to some, but positive affirmations, whether written down on your phone, jotted down in a journal, or even on a post-it on your mirror, can encourage self-compassion and retrain your inner dialogue.


So how do you "practice" positivity? The first step is to notice your thought patterns and how you think in certain situations. For example, when you look in the mirror, what is your conversation with yourself? I will never forget the first time I practiced yoga, where the instructor started the class with, "I want you to look in the mirror without judgment. Don't fix your hair or your clothes. Instead, simply thank yourself for showing up for yourself today exactly as you are." That intention has stayed with me, and every time I look into the mirror with a judgmental thought about my wide hips or thick thighs (my usual go-to for self-criticism), I remember those words and remind myself to look for the positive. Usually, it's something like, "my hips are wide, but they accentuate my small waist."

As a yoga teacher, at the start of every class, I ask students to take notice of their breath, just as it is, without altering in any way or attaching any judgment; just take notice. This same theory can be applied to negative thoughts. Take notice of them when they arise, and once you become aware of what you are thinking, start to change those thoughts to more positive ones. It may not be as easy as it sounds to shift negative thoughts to positive ones, so having affirmations hand can be helpful.

I can attest firsthand to the difference you feel when you start to take notice, understand and learn to shift negative thought processes. There is a class that I have been taking on and off for many years called Inten-sati. When I first took this class, I assumed it was just another cardio class but quickly realized it was a workout for the body, mind, and soul. In addition to doing high-intensity cardio, I shouted positive affirmations at myself out loud in a room full of other people doing the same thing. Things like "I am STRONG," "YES I CAN," or "I am Enough Now" filled the room, and I immediately thought this is crazy… who does this shit?????! But each time we repeated a sequence, I let go more and more, shouting the affirmations louder and louder. After a few classes, I noticed that I would find myself tapping into these positive affirmations during my entire week.

Negative thought patterns are a part of life, and trying to avoid them altogether is pretty much impossible. However, learning to deal with them is crucial in your success in living a more positive life. The first step in letting go of negative thoughts is to accept they will come and go. We often tell ourselves that these negative thoughts are valid, but they really are just a thought and whether or not you give life to those thoughts is up to you.




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