Nothing lingers quite like a bad taste. Funny how what tastes bitter, acrid, rancid, or otherwise unpleasant tends to last much longer than the sweetest tastes to cross the tongue. So the same very often goes with anything negatory to our systems, both the physical and the mental. It makes such an impact on us that we cannot get rid of it quick–or efficiently–enough, a challenge to push it back from our conscious experience: that sting of sour milk requiring one to down, at minimum, two glasses of water before it lets up only slightly; the stench of pasta, forgotten in a pot on the stove overnight, that settles into the nose immediately upon lid being lifted and stays jammed up there for a few cycles of deep-breathing clean air; that unfortunate moment a public one-seater restroom door opens just as you are finishing business (toilet paper poised in one hand) and you’re forced to replay in your mind how a few perfect strangers looked perfectly amused just because you had to go, an otherwise mundane action. Or, that bad moment of arguing with a loved one, walking away with hurt feelings and having hurt another’s feelings-that chilly, damp, dark kind of cloud of regret that settles over our bodies well after having exchanged apologies.
Anything negatory. Any time or place or action negative that turns our thinking to negative, our feeling to negative, our speaking to others and to ourselves negative. These are hard to push away and recover from if we don’t first choose and then practice. Life has one simple necessity, and it is to think positive. It is a necessary function that improves every aspect of health. It can be a challenge, certainly, and it is unreasonable to believe we can think positively in every second that we consciously occupy life. However, any action we put into regular practice becomes strengthened. The body is a physical structure organized by physical systems and it responds to the emotional and physical stimuli it encounters in its interactions with the world; this brings the challenge, but,simultaneously, it also offers the ability to make good changes.
All possibilities are there. You choose.
Think positive, use positive imagery and self-talk in daily practice, in all situations, and the mind and body recover from negativity more quickly. The positive thoughts, emotions, and actions begin taking control and start the process of becoming what lasts for the greater lenghts of time.
When Viktor E. Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, he was not guessing at what it would be like to choose the power that positive thinking provides, he had lived through a life-and-death experience of Nazi concentration camps and learned experientially how much thinking can save the body, the personality, the soul. The whole being. Frankl could easily have collapsed, mentally and physicaly, under the extreme pressure of such extreme negativity–the degredation and powerlessness any human would feel when being hatefully controlled by other fellow humans–but he was among survivors who chose how they would think, act, and feel, and continued moving forward to wait for a day that might show up and set them free.
Among thoughts Frankl has offered following his experience:
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
What we think is what we will feel and how we will act. The more negative the thought, the more negative the feeling and, soon to follow, the more negative our choices of action. Fortunately, the same outcome exists with the more positive the thought. It is both mental habit and physical struture; it is the training of the mind, also of the brain. Emotions and materials exist symbiotically. When we direct our emotions continually in either positive or negative places, we strenghten the neural pathways within our brains, making pathways that are easier to navigate along and that become a natural flow, like wind patterns or river channels, to turn our thoughts this way or that way.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that our bodies, even with all of the free will or soul that resides in them, are machines–an intricate natural system or organism, such as the human body. The body is a system, a structure of very particular arrangements of tissues, chemistries, bones, blood, and other materials that have very specific roles with every part and function interacting to make a whole, intricate, methodic system. This is why all aspects of our health rely on our abilities to choose directing our thoughts to the positive; nothing will be left out of how we choose to think and live.
What a challenge taking on life with a zest for optimism can be, and yet there is no reason to believe that every single one of us can’t be up to the challenge. No one enters this world without a will, and though many things in the world help us shape our will in ways that are good and bad, hurtful and helpful, strengthening or depleting, we all retain the capacity to choose even if that capacity sometimes gets knocked from view and hidden under the twisted, tangled detritus left from too many negative thoughts and emotions and situations. No matter what, we all, by choice, have the chance for self-improvement, reinvention, even an outright resurrection of self.
Start small if necessary, but start. Choose one positive, simple thing you will keep as a daily task: saying “thank you” for all you have before you leave your bed in the morning or before falling asleep; smiling while you get dressed; using patience with all others regardless of how they may intentionally test your patience; posting positive quotes where you can easily view them throughout your day; writing down one thing you really liked about the day. Start small, but just remember to start, and you will see how the act of staying positive increases in your life, increasing your overall contentment and health. No one lacks the ability to access and strengthen the will we were each designed with.
No more negative impacts! Okay, not possible, but at least quicker recovery from those negatories of life the more we strenghten our wills–ourselves–by choosing the positive because we believe that this is a choice we have.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.–Mahatma Gandhi