Keeping positive

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 27, 2013

“Happiness is a choice. You have to choose it and keep choosing it.”

These are the words my mother used to comfort me in the midst of conflict — the sort of conflict that rides on the back of teenage angst. Never passing judgment on my decisions, she simply related to me her own choices in life and poignantly passed on the lessons she learned from them.

Whether I was heartbroken, under stress from schoolwork, or planning a big move to another state, her words always remained the same — constantly instilling in me that I am the captain of this vessel known as my heart.

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When everything pans out the way we intend, a positive outlook is only natural.

What about when things don’t go our way? How do we stay positive then?

We are often mistaken in believing our emotional well-being is the responsibility of others. Our tendency is to relieve ourselves from any obligation by passing the torch to our parents, co-workers, friends, or significant others.

Deflection is unhealthy for everyone involved.

The foundation for a healthy emotional state begins with understanding that the only one in control of your happiness is you.

The people we love can have a huge effect on the way we conduct our thoughts, but ultimately, our joy, our true lust for life will emanate from our core — which is shaped in the way we speak to ourselves.

Once that understanding is clear, the second step is in making up your mind to filter out negativity and speak to yourself in a positive way.

Your brain believes whatever you tell it. Without discrimination or hesitation it goes to work figuring out a way to make the statements happen. By not thinking negatively, you are reinforcing positive outcomes in your life.

After you’ve started a pattern of positive thought, it becomes easier to choose happiness, even in the most stressful situations.

This holiday season, I challenge you to practice positivity. Choose joy every day and share it with those around you.