Have you ever noticed how some people tend to be luckier than others – or specifically, luckier than you? They could fall in a puddle of mud and come up smelling like roses.
Over the next few weeks we’re looking at mindful strategies and giving you short, tried and tested techniques to help you rewire your brain. Today we’re looking at the concept of good luck, and making your own.
So what is good luck and how can I get some more?
So what’s the definition of good luck? Well it depends on who you ask;
Man on the street: Something good happening unexpectedly
Statistician: Repeatedly beating probability
Psychologist: A way of explaining complex phenomena
Psychologists have shown a direct correlation between people who are thought to be lucky and the way they think and behave. They tend to think optimistically, are great at spotting opportunities and take responsibility for their own actions. Together with choosing the right strategy for each situation and applying it mindfully – this is we’ll lovingly call a “Good Luck Strategy”.
So how can we help you think more optimistically?
The key difference between an optimist and a pessimist is the way they look at both positive and negative events.
|Positive event|| |
Optimists tend to look at positive events as permanent and universal; “That presentation was great and I’m really looking forward to the next one, it’ll be even better!”.
Pessimists tend to look at positive events as temporary and specific; “Well that presentation went ok I suppose, but it was probably just an easy audience. The next one will be much tougher”
|Negative event|| |
Optimists look at negative events as temporary and specific; “Well that presentation was a bit of a disaster but I know if I take out section 2 and tidy up the ending it will be much better”
Pessimists look at negative events as permanent and universal; “I knew that presentation was going to be bad even before I started. Never again!”
So if you can train your mind to frame events in a positive, optimistic way, it frames the way you respond, spot opportunities and act. Choose how you explain events to yourself, how you evaluate past events and inform future events. Let’s look at an example of a negative experience, say failing your driving test.
If I frame this as permanent and universal: “I knew it; It’s just too hard; I’ll never be able to pass; It’ll take ages to get a retest; This will cost me even more!”
But if I frame it as temporary and specific; “Well that was a bad day; Failed by only 2 points – that was close; Now I know exactly what to expect next time; I’ll definitely pass next try.”
Of course, thinking optimistically is only the start – you have to spot opportunities and act on them mindfully. But that’s for next week. Now it’s time for you to practice. As the great Arnold Palmer said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get!”.
So here’s this weeks tried and tested exercises to help you be more positive and start to re-wire your brain
The 1st Step to having a positive outlook is to make a choice. These 5 exercises will help you become a more positive person in the present moment, connecting your mind and body. Remember, your power is in the present.
Step 1 Choice
When you notice a negative thought tell yourself to STOP! It’s a thought – they come and go like buses. Choose a more comfortable, fun bus. Use your breathing meditation to come back to the body (Step 3)
Step 2 Gratitude
Appreciate and be grateful for all that you have. Thank all those you care about and let them know they are appreciated. A simple thank you to a work colleague, for example, goes a long way! Each breath in your breathing meditation (Step 3) is an opportunity to choose who you want to be and how you would like things to be.
Step 3 Breath 4-6-8
When anxious or stressed your body has a chemical reaction and you lose oxygen. So you can come back to the body with your breath.
Close or keep your eyes open (hence can practice this anywhere) take three breaths like this: 4-6-8 (inhale for 4, hold for 6, exhale for 8). Feel your body relax and your mind settle. Let those negative thoughts float past you like clouds in the sky! You will feel lighter and brighter!
Step 4 Harmony
Everyday stresses make it easy to ‘fly off the handle’. Bringing harmony in the heat of the moment can be challenging. Remind yourself that peace begins with me and YOU are the first step to positivity, ‘The little things, the little moments, they aren’t little’, Jon-Kabat-Zinn
Step 5 Senses
It’s easy and more common to pay attention to our worries of the past & future. Remind yourself how important ‘right now’ is. Calling on all your 5 Senses stops chatter & brings you into the present. Look around you – smell, touch, taste increasing your awareness thus increasing your gratitude for the simple things in life. Opportunity for positivity in your life is all around you.
It’s not always easy to choose to focus on the positives in life but it’s the most fulfilling. Little steps will bring great joy. You will then ‘with practice’ be more able to let go, create space for growth and find what makes you happy.