Staying in a good place

How often do you feel that you’re in a good place? Do you think that you naturally have a sunny disposition or do you find yourself mostly having a bleak outlook towards like? Or do you find yourself unpredictably oscillating between joy and depression? Wherever you might fall on the scale, it’s important that you consciously choose to move towards a happier frame of mind. I am all for inspiration and motivation, but I think what’s more important is your general disposition. Having an overarching optimistic outlook towards life trumps everything else that can make your experience of life a joyful one.

Are you living in a hostile or a friendly universe?

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

– Albert Einstein

This famous quote from Einstein can inform you about your own frame of mind. When you think about what sort of a world you live in, do you think you live in a more or less friendly world? Or do you think it’s dark and menacing and feel like you need to always be on your guard? It’s interesting that Einstein said that it’s a decision you need to make. It makes sense because there’s no objective answer to this; there’s no way of knowing whether it’s a benevolent or malicious universe. When you examine your thoughts and emotions, you will find that you lean in one direction or the other. And that direction determines how you experience reality.

What stands out for me in this quote is that Einstein calls it ‘the most important decision’. I think I get why too. Between the ages of 17 and 24, while I didn’t think of it in terms of a friendly or hostile universe, I did think that I was in a scary, mean, fierce world where I always needed to be on my guard. How do you think I experienced my reality? I was extraordinarily fearful, anxious, suspicious of just about anything, and altogether miserable. I thought bad things might happen to me at any time and often saw others’ behaviour towards me from the lens of selfishness or wanting to hurt me in some way.

After I turned 24, though, I started seeing the disempowering nature of this mindset not to mention how it worked like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Changing the neural patterns of your brain isn’t the easiest especially when you’ve been practicing the same kind of thoughts for years and years. So when I resolved to change my relationship with my reality by practicing thoughts that were a lot more positive and made me feel more secure in the world, it was really uncomfortable. What helped was having some daily rituals where I actively practiced looking at the world in an empowering way. What worked best for me was maintaining a gratitude journal. I’d take just five minutes at the end of the day to write down all the things that were going well for me. The things that I was grateful for and appreciative about, however small they might be.

Six years after I started the journey to consciously change my lens from seeing the world as a hostile place to a friendly one, I can say with emphatic certainty that my experience of reality is much, much better now. It has enabled me to build and make better use of my skills, develop deep relationships, and accomplish a lot more. I see the world as a beautiful, positive place filled with fascinating people and wonderous experiences. I approach everything that life presents from a place of trust. I know that I’m safe and that the likelihood of something catastrophic happening is slim. Even if it does, I trust that the world will support me in overcoming any sort of challenge.

Staying in a good place consciously

I know that I still have a long way to go. While broadly I’m in a better place than I was before, I know that I’m not as consistently in a good place as I’d like. Ideally, I’d want to be in a frisky, contented, calm, and optimistic place 95-100% of the time. At the moment, I’d say that I’m 70-75% of the time there. The good part is that I know that an optimistic disposition can be cultivated. Tom Bilyeu often says, “everything in life is but disciplined practice”. This applies to learning to be in a good place too.

I’m very much a student on this path and I’m sure I’m going to keep discovering new ways to do this. Here are a few things that have worked well for me:

  1. As soon as I wake up, I keep my eyes closed and affirm to myself that the universe is always on my side. I’ve been doing this for several months now. My intention is to establish the belief that I’m indeed living in a friendly universe.
  2. I write in my gratitude/appreciation journal every day. In Abraham Hicks‘ terminology, it’s my ‘book of positive aspects’. Every morning, I write down a few things that I appreciate or am grateful for. This practice has helped me start the day off on a positive note for more than a couple of years now. It sets the tone of the day.
  3. I listen to audiobook usually for an hour or so daily. It helps feed my brain with better ideas and thoughts.
  4. I meditate for 15 minutes every single day. No exceptions. Here’s why.
  5. I exercise for 30 minutes daily. I’ve elaborated on this in this post.
  6. When I catch myself thinking negatively about someone or something I try to take a deep breath and actively tell myself that this thought process hurts me and is unintelligent. I also remind myself that I have high standards for what I allow in my mind. This helps me transition to more positive thoughts faster.
  7. I try and appreciate as many things as possible. My family, friends, the house we live in, the food I eat, the work I get to do, the books I read…everything. By practicing appreciation, I reinforce that I have a lot of things going for me.
  8. Whenever any incident happens that’s not to my liking, I remind myself that I am the story writer of my life. Incidents inherit the meaning I assign to them. So I’d rather choose an empowering meaning than a disempowering one.
  9. I try to have fun! Whether it’s reading a novel or hanging out with friends, or watching a movie, I try to do something that brings me joy every day. Here are some ideas you can explore. Lightheartedness and fun make the world a chirpier place for sure.

How would being in a good place majority of the time impact your life? What would it do to your friendships, relationships, career, finances, and health? What are some ways you can consciously practice being in a good place? What habits, rituals, and thought patterns can you adopt to stay there?

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