Building Our Resilience Muscle through “MindFlips”

Why I created #mindflipmonday

If you know me, you probably know that I tend to ascribe to a positive way of life. I tend to have a positivity bias, in many cases. That means that I have a tendency to automatically think how a less-than-ideal situation could be turned into a positive one. Glass half-full, most of time. Now, if you just gave me a huge eye roll, GOOD!

I have a lot of reservations in writing about my positivity bias for the following reasons:

  1. I don’t want to come across as obnoxious. There’s nothing worse than having a bad day and feeling like your friend can’t relate because they can’t see through their optimism. “She obviously hasn’t been through anything challenging in her life,” says the positivity haters. J
  2. I don’t want to come across as not being aware of my privilege. “Is she aware of her white and middle-class privileges?” Awareness is key and I’m proud to share that I work hard to better understand my privileges.
  3. I don’t want people to think that I’m ignorant. The positive doubter in me might think, “Is she even aware of food deserts, global warming, gun violence, and all the other devastating situations happening in the world?” Of course I’m aware. But will focusing on it daily and letting it affect my mood fix the problem?
  4. I don’t want people to think they can’t complain to me. In 2019, I’ll be a counselor. I feel prepared for listening to problems. In fact, acknowledging and talking about problems is key to feeling better.

Recognizing my reservations was my first step in being more outspoken about my positivity. More importantly, I’ve learned to accept that people can think whatever they want about me. In my heart, I am confident that I have nothing but the kindest intentions for others. Will I get it right every time? Of course not. And, I accept that I cannot control people’s perception of me. (Does anyone know a good symbol for acceptance? It’s going to be my next tattoo).

Through practicing acceptance, I continue to think more and more about my intention of spreading positivity.

After a brainstorming session with my amazing partner, Nathan, I created #mindflipmonday. Actually, he totally gets credit for coming up with the name. J Mind Flip Monday is a thoughtful intention to help us shift less-than-ideal situations into okay/neutral and maybe even positive situations.

Hard Shit v. Light Shit

Can I help someone feel better who just lost a loved one? No. Can I help someone feel better who has cancer? No. I mean, maybe I can help by lending an ear and spending quality time with them. But, nothing I say is going to help and you cannot just mindflip your way out of some things. However, I can probably encourage people to not sweat the small stuff. This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves, which is probably the biggest reason for the #mindflipmonday creation.

I was tired of listening to people tell me how they had the worst morning because their tire was flat. Tired of watching people engage in road rage. Tired of people telling me how busy they were. I think I’m an incredibly patient person, but I just felt saddened watching people get hung up on the small stuff. (That feels harsh. Know that I’m a firm believer in validating whatever emotion you are feeling. But, sweating the small stuff over and over just isn’t helpful).

And road ragers- just relax- it’s awful for your blood pressure.

I digress. 😉

#mindflipmonday was created to not only spread positivity, but to spread mindfulness. I think a huge reason for negativity bias is lack of awareness. Often times, people don’t even know they are complaining! But, if something inspires us to take a look at our automatic negative thoughts and complaints, maybe we can create a more grounded perspective. Y’all, it’s hard work. I spent the entire year of 2013 journaling, reflecting, going to counseling and shifting my thoughts. I’ve worked hard for my positivity bias and it’s still never perfect. I still have anxiety and sad moments.. but, I’ve come a long way!

SO, if you have something “less than ideal” happen, try these steps:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Consider humor. For example, I laugh when I spill something because it feels way better than shouting expletives.
  3. Consider a positive outcome. Sure, the process might not be pleasant. But, is there an unexpected positive outcome hiding in the future? Go searching.
  4. Is there a learning opportunity? I’d be willing to bet there’s ALWAYS something to learn.
  5. Write it down for yourself or post it on social media (and tag me!). Why? This reinforces your thoughts so that they become more frequent and eventually a habit.

Be emotional!

Disclaimer: there are plenty of things in life that just suck. Something I’ve read in studying Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is that “in order to experience life to the fullest, we must experience all emotions.” Anger is good. Sadness is good. Negative emotions are healthy expressions and so I would never discourage you from experiencing them. Sharing these emotions in a healthy way can even make us more relatable. But, if you are feeling angry and  resentful ALL of the time, maybe try some of these techniques. I also highly recommend counseling – you deserve 1 hour a week to dedicate to your personal growth and quality of life. #stopthestigma

Check out this #mindflip story on #stopthestigma.

With good intentions,

Brit