08-24-2012, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
| | Re: Daily Requirements of Positive Thinking
I don't think of positivity as something you need to get along with your spouse--I think of it as something that gets you through life in general. Unfortunately, you cannot make someone else happy--each person is in charge of their own 'positivity' and happiness.
However, the lack of optimism / hopefulness I had myself did a great deal of damage to our marriage before I totally turned it around.
I've had the very best results from these books:
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
This book is fascinating, I strongly recommend it to anyone who is curious about the psychology of optimism. I won't give away the premise on a public forum but urge you to read the book yourself--it should be at any public library. Once you understand the way that optimists think and pessimists think, it can help you catch negative thinking and help turn things around for you in certain situations. As much as I love this book, and as much as it helped me, it still didn't get me quite to where I needed to be.
Even more than learned optimism, I've found the concept of 'mindfulness' to be useful (it sounds like some of the books / ideas on the first page were based in this as well). Mindfulness is the idea that the past is gone, so there is no point in dwelling in regret, and the future may never arrive. At some point in life you internalize the idea that worry is fruitless, because so often you worry about something that NEVER comes to pass--or even if something negative happens, it's so different from what you expected that you couldn't have planned for it if you had tried.
But the current moment, the NOW, has a lot of good to it if you seek it. The truth is, in Western cultures, we are rarely in immediate grave danger--we are more in danger of being bored than anything else. So the idea is, savor this minute for its goodness.
I've read several books on mindfulness, it does come from meditation and Buddhism. I'm a devout Christian, but the idea of mindfulness is not religion-specific. A big part of mindfulness is meditation (not just the stereotype sitting down, but also learning to reach for the state of calm that comes from meditation wherever you are). It's basically a relaxation technique, but it is a lot deeper than that. It doesn't tell your mind to "shut up" so you can be peaceful--that is a common misconception about meditation.
I'm reading this book right now, it's the most secular of the books I've read on the subject--it has received good reviews:
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams, Danny Penman and Jon Kabat-Zinn
And linked in my signature is
Turning the Mind into an Ally, by Sakyong Mipham and Pema Chodron.
This book is also a terrific introduction to mindfulness, the first several chapters are incredibly rich and specific. However, it does have a variety of references to Buddhism because the author is a Buddhist who grew up in India after his parents fled Tibet. But the book is extremely practical and useful and detailed.
I really believe that some variation of mindfulness is precisely what has pulled certain human beings through the worst times of their lives--but what I like about it is that it is useful for a wide variety of human emotional states--including not just anxiety, depression, and anger, but also boredom. All I can say is once I "got" it, I never wanted to go back.