Don't let negative attitudes suck the joy out of everyday existence. Follow these tips and fulfil your full potential
'There must be more to life." How often have we all said that? But when you've lost a loved one, or your job is on the line and you're struggling to pay your bills, the idea of having more to life can seem like wishful thinking.
Life's challenges can test us to the limit and in these difficult times we can be tempted to give up, to withdraw into ourselves. When we do this we say 'no' to possibilities and limit our potential.
But we are more than the sum of our troubles. They don't define who we are. If we can learn to say 'yes' to life we can harness a rich store of resources and abilities to transform our lives.
FIVE THINGS THAT STOP YOU SAYING YES TO LIFE
Most of us learned early in our lives not to speak well of ourselves. We can be our own worst critic, constantly undermining our own self-belief and confidence.
Talking ourselves down means talking ourselves out of possibilities and opportunities. When we learn to talk back to our own negative self-talk we can remove a huge obstacle from our pathway to happiness.
Anger is an important human emotion that we need for our survival. However, it has a dark side. Suppressed anger damages the person who carries it.
Uncontrolled anger destroys relationships. Left unresolved, anger can crush the human spirit and block our capacity to feel joy and happiness.
Understanding and dealing with your anger can free you from its grip and allow you to reconnect with your passionate self.
Excessive worry can suck the life out of living. Worrying too much about tomorrow steals the value from today. Constant worry can condemn us to a cycle of fear and cut us off from important people and opportunities in our lives.
If we can learn to control our worries by naming them, recognising worry patterns and limiting the amount of time we spend worrying, we can begin to take our power back and take more control of our lives.
Faulty thinking patterns
How we see and interpret events influences how we feel and how we behave. When our thinking patterns are faulty, we can often misinterpret other people or jump to conclusions about their motives.
These faulty thinking patterns lead to feelings of disappointment, distrust, sadness and anger. When we can recognise our own faulty patterns we can begin to challenge our thinking and free ourselves from the grip of negative emotions.
Have you ever had the feeling that you or anything you achieve is never good enough? Have you ever found that you can't leave the house until every square inch of the floor is washed? When we set impossible standards for ourselves and others we condemn ourselves to a life of constant failure. We strive and strive to reach what is unobtainable and feel miserable and disappointed as a result. Freeing yourself from the paralysis of perfectionism is an important step on the road to greater happiness.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW
TO START SAYING YES TO LIFE
Recognise your resilience
Resilience is the human capacity to endure, overcome, and be transformed by life's adversities. It is that tremendous ability we all have to bounce back. If you look back over your life, you will find that you have done this many times.
When you learn to recognise your core strengths and start to reconnect with them, your sense of well-being and your relationship with yourself and others will begin to change significantly.
Dare to dream
When we allow ourselves to dream dreams, we can see possibilities even in times of great despair. But your dreams don't have to stay dreams. You can move from 'I wish' to 'I will'. When you begin to plan and set goals, your dreams become attainable, achievable realities.
Practising thankfulness enables us to provide a balance to negative emotions and put them in perspective. Not everything in our world is bleak. Thankfulness is one of the most powerful ways we have to help us nurture and develop positive emotions. It is these positive emotions that contain the seeds of hope in our lives. Thankfulness helps us to see the roses among the thorns.
If we can allow ourselves to be thankful for even the smallest of things, we can open the door once more to joy and happiness.
Connect with your community
Community is where we experience a sense of belonging. This is our place and these are our people. Our courage and hope come from these interlocking lines of contact and we feel assured that they will catch and support us should we fall.
When we reach out and engage with each other all our lives are enriched.
Nurture your relationships
Our entire lives are a series of relationships. Some last only a season, others are lifelong.
In all relationships there is vulnerability and risk as we allow people to become closer and to occupy a special place in our hearts. Healthy relationships need to be worked at to keep them alive and vital.
It is important to nourish our relationships and not to take them or each other for granted.
When you begin to say yes to life, you reconnect with your own power, hope, strength, creativity, humour, imagination and joy.
Christy Kenneally is a writer and broadcaster and has co-authored Say Yes to Life – Discover your Pathways to Happiness and Well-Being, published by Hachette Books Ireland, price €14.99. For more information, log on to www.discovering pathways.com