When I think about positivity and negativity I always try and visualise them. Some days positivity will look like pink fluffy candy floss, something that will make you happy and smile and on other days it may be a serene lagoon that lends itself to calmness and self-awareness. Negativity on the other hand doesn’t vary that much to me, most days it looks like a black-green sticky tar like gluey substance that flows and spreads like lava, covering everything that it comes in contact with in a layer of toxicity that is so difficult to remove. Visualisation is such a powerful tool, candy floss or black sticky tar, it is not difficult to then realise which you would rather be in contact with.
Our emotions and state of mind are powerful, in fact they are that powerful they can affect other people around us too, it was once I realised this it made me think about the influence that external forces and others had on my mindset as well, this is when I came up with my beach ball analogy.
Picture a beautiful sunny day, lying on a towel on the beach, the sound of the waves lapping and seagulls in the background. Far in the distance you can hear the music from the fairground rides and children’s laughter as they are playing, you close your eyes and enjoy the warmth of the sun against your skin, imagine the feeling of relaxation, the feeling of peace, happiness, contentment and then out of nowhere, bang! You sit up suddenly and there it is! A beachball! A young teenager runs over to reclaim it and you hand it back to them, but how? Are you scowling and either say out loud or think inwards, “watch what you are doing!” Or do you hand it back with a smile and a happy “There you go!” Did they aim the ball at you on purpose? The answer is usually going to be a resounding no, but how you respond would influence them too. Scowl and they run back to their group of friends scowling too, announcing how miserable and mean you were and before you know it the whole mood of the group has changed. Smile and they will run back and carry on being happy. How their day evolves has been influenced by you.
Translate this into everyday life, we navigate our day being constantly bombarded by beachballs, some are thrown in a positive manner and some in a negative way, what we have to do is choose which ones to hold on to, which ones to sidestep or bat away and how to recognise when to drop the proverbial beachball when we suddenly realise, we are holding onto one that we should have avoided in the first place.
Catch a beachball when it is thrown with a smile and chances are you will catch it and smile too, thrown with a frown we will adopt the same. What happens when you then throw that beachball to the next person that you encounter?
We automatically mimic the mood and mindset of those around us, it is known as a phenomenon called Emotional Contagion. It is not only when we physically encounter others that the beachball comes in to play, telephone calls, text messages and social media can all influence our feelings and emotions.
Think about all the times something has made you laugh on social media and you share it so your friends can all enjoy it too or how often you have misconstrued the wording of a message and it has led to confusion, anger, and negative emotions. Think about when your friend has got the giggles and before you know it you are laughing alongside them without a clue what you are laughing at. Emotions are infectious!
Being part of a species that is exceptionally social this is a communication method we have used since man first came into being, a really important tool to identify threats, foes and allies so it is no wonder that a scowling glance can provoke such a reaction in us.
Working with our emotions to promote a positive mindset not only makes us feel better but also provides a healthier environment for those around us, but what happens if we are already carrying the beachball of negativity? We need to figure out a way to drop it and the exercise we carried out in this blog is the perfect way to achieve this.
Once we realise that we can take control of our emotions we can really take control of our lives, like Peter Pan says, “Thinking of the happiest things is the same as having wings”.
If you have missed any of our series of positivity blogs you can catch up with them here.
- A recipe for feeling happy and how to jar it!
- If you don’t have a smile of your own, now is the time to share my candy floss!
- Free your mind, find your pen! Journal your way to positivity.
- How to feel lighter as your anxiety floats away
- How to remind your inner voice to be your cheerleader