I’m eager to return to blogging again after a long hiatus. It won't be easy, as I feel incredibly rusty and out of tune with articulating my thoughts, but I'm going to give it a go anyways!
Today, I merely want you to consider one thing as you read this blog post. As you read the words below, how would you describe the difference between them as it relates to your current state of mind?
To me, the word 'contraction' implies shortening, decreasing, or tension of some sort. As for the word 'expansion', thoughts such as space, extension, and stretching come to my mind.
I ask you to think about the difference between these words because deep down the question that I have boils down to how are you currently choosing to use your mental energy? The energy of your thoughts, your words, and your actions?
Every day we are the ones who get to decide whether or not we use our mental, emotional and/or physical power to create positive and expansive thoughts or to create negative, constricting thoughts that minimize how we experience the world around us.
Writing this blog post is a genuine reminder to myself that I have the ability, day in and day out, to create empowering thoughts and actions that expand the potential of what is possible. I need to keep reminding myself that it's all about the awareness and the ability to intentionally put this practice into play in my personal and professional life.
In sharing my thoughts with anyone reading this post, I hope it is a powerful reminder that we all have the ability to choose expansive thoughts when we consciously decide to do so, but it takes practice.
A question that I have for you as you finish reading this post is:
Are you currently using your energy to expand mindfully and be at your fullest or to contract narrowly and minimize your potential?
Right now, writing this blog is a challenge for me. I am experiencing some very narrow thoughts as I have not written in ages, but through practice, I know it will become easier. Instead of thinking, "What do I have that I can share that is of value to others?", I choose to reframe my restrictive thoughts into expansive thoughts and turn them into statements that allow room to stretch, so that I can pivot towards more spacious energy, such as:
How might I share my ideas to inspire others?
To end this post, I want to ask you to take the next 5 minutes to reflect on the last couple days. In particular, that little inner voice within yourself. What are some of the things that you've been saying to yourself? Has that voice inside yourself been creating expansive language that empowers you?
Has that inner voice been constricting, causing you to experience negative thoughts and emotions?
The most important element to bring into this reflective practice is non-judgement. When reflecting, should you realize that there is constriction in your thoughts and emotions, simply being aware of these patterns is the first step in doing something about it.
A second step is to actively put into practice a simple strategy that can help flip these constrictive thoughts and emotions in order to bring more positivity to the way we think and the way we feel. It takes practice, but it can actually help to change some of the mental patterns that we create in our every day life.
Here's an example to consider:
While reflecting on the past two days, you catch yourself scrolling through social media being slightly envious of seeing other people's summer holidays and find yourself wanting to experience something more or something better during your own holiday. Firstly, in bringing non-judgement into this scenario, you must refrain from going down a dark path and simply accept that this is the way you might be feeling. Secondly, instead of allowing yourself to feel envious or desiring more, you can flip it by doing this:
Be grateful for having your own time away from work.
Be grateful for having the resources and the time to create your own experiences.
Be grateful that you have the ability to reflect and to make your own choices.
In trying to flip our own thought patterns, it is an attempt to spark a different way to think and feel. When we put this into practice (and it TAKES practice and real effort), our brains actually begin to restructure ways of thinking to bring on more positive emotions and thoughts.
Research suggests that this concept of 'scanning for the positive' can make a difference in our lives and bring on greater levels of well-being. It's not just fluff! Positivity Psychologist, Martin Seligman, has done years of research into the impact that these simple strategies can have on bringing greater happiness and well-being in our lives.
In closing, I ask that you make a genuine effort over the next couple of days to try flipping your constrictive thoughts (if in fact you are experiencing constriction) into more empowering and positive ways of thinking and feeling. For each constrictive thought, try to create 2 or 3 statements that help to reframe things in a more positive way (as I gave in the example above).
Strive to be aware of both your constricting and expansive thoughts and consider how your expansive views might help to maximize your best self.
Thanks for reading.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily