It seems everything I read or hear these days is connected to the positive thinking movement. Interestingly enough, even books I've had for years mention it before The Law of Attraction band wagon took off.
Yesterday, I read that neuroscience is discovering actual proof that we can permanently change our brains through a positive mindset. Scientists are able to actually see and measure the emotional regions of our brains that process joy, happiness and love, as well as depression, mourning, anxiety, OCD, etc. Apparently, even pessimists like me can be taught to become more optimistic.
This is all pretty amazing with the main point being that our emotions and feeling do get transmitted out into the world and we do have some control over what we project. Because what we send out, comes back to us. I like the example of a bummed out, dejected person with shoulders slumped, downcast eyes and scowling smile. Obviously, anyone encountering that person will react accordingly and probably not very favorably. Likewise, someone with a genuine smile and upbeat demeanor will fare better. This person might receive better customer service at a store, have someone give them a break or bend the rules, and so on throughout the day. These experiences will build on themselves - the better they are and the more of them will increase the likelihood of upbeat person staying in a good mood. Dejected person will probably stay down and out because their experiences will be downers.
I am intrigued by all of this and I have made a valiant effort to try and remain as positive as I can through these trying times. Keeping a gratitude list is usually one of the first strategies suggested. Surrounding yourself with happy, fun, optimistic people is another. Trying to fit in as many activities that bring you joy into your life as possible is another suggestion. So I do try and do all these things in an effort to attract more positives back into my life. The jury is still out on how successful this has been.
What concerns me about the logic of this theory and the books that are out there promoting it, is that there doesn't seem to be any comprehension or acknowledgment toward those people who really may be suffering seriously from grief/loss, depression, addiction, life changes such as poverty, etc. These books and even the theory seem to fit best for those people who are leading pretty ordinary, manageable lives. One book made a brief passing comment on this by admitting that yes, no one can be upbeat and super positive 24/7 and that when times are tough they have to be acknowledged. The goal then becomes how to walk through and face the challenges, as well as to try and learn from them.
I think there needs to be a book written for those of us out here dealing with many life complications that realistically paint a complicated and negative picture. "The Law of the Attraction for Those Grieving, Suffering and Dealing with Major Loss" might be one for starters. I guess what bothers me the most is the wiping the slate clean type of attitude I get from these books and the theory itself - that we can't and shouldn't be negative EVER. That grieving and worrying are bad because they transmit toxic, negative energy that will return to us threefold! This is just at such odds with my beliefs about counseling that center on staying with your emotions whatever they are and working through them. There has to be a balance between positive and negative emotions. If we as human beings have the capacity to feel pain, grief and sorrow how can they just be wiped away? Do the proponents of The Law of Attraction believe that those of us deeply grieving have to just shut those emotions off? Or do they believe that we should not grieve as deep or much? Maybe it is impossible to follow this theory period while someone is immersed in deep sorrow or anxiety. I don't know - I really wish I could call Wayne Deyer up and ask him some of these perplexing and vexing questions.
In the meantime, I guess I'll try my best to continue to be grateful, remain positive and upbeat when I can and do my best to smile and keep my shoulders up when out and about in public.
I Am Grateful:
1. That the birds are back - I heard birds singing again for the first time yesterday!
2. That no severe winter-type weather is predicted from here on in - yeah!
3. That all of us have had decent clothes and outerwear to get through the winter months.
4. That no one got the flu this winter - thank you Universe!
5. For the cheery songs of the birds.