Lately I have been struggling with all of the negative and heartbreaking events occurring in our world. How can I stay hopeful when I am bombarded with news about violence against women, terrorism, and hate crimes? Yet my recent struggles have made me more aware of how critically important it is to fight against the negative mindset which easily dampens our spirits.
How can we stay positive? Should we feel guilty about staying positive when so many people suffer? Absolutely not! It’s imperative that we stay hopeful for our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health, and to be present for those we care about.
How can buoyancy help us overcome negative forces in life? Isn’t it just floating? There is much more below the surface.
Depending on which dictionary you source, you will find definitions for buoyancy like these; “the ability or tendency to float in water or other fluid; an optimistic person.” These definitions are nouns and too passive for the force of buoyancy that I am recommending we strengthen.
For something to stay buoyant in water or a fluid it must apply a force that increases in power pushing up, overcoming the negative downward pull of gravity. That pushing up force must be greater than the pulling down force to keep an object afloat.
Buoyancy is a Force
Have you ever met someone that regardless of their hard life circumstances they somehow always manage to rise above?
My mother was a buoyant person. She faced enough trials in life to devastate most people; surviving genocide, hiding from Nazi’s as a child, and being orphaned. As an adult she was trapped in an abusive marriage for 32 years and fought cancer for 25 years! But after each hard life blow, somehow she always pushed back up. My entire life I wondered about her and other people that could never be held down very long.
Mom demonstrated the force of buoyancy. Some people push up with more force than the circumstances trying to pull them down.
How does this apply to us in life? Think of yourself as buoyant being for a moment. You are on an ocean (life) and at times the gravitational pull of negative events drags you down as if a weight were attached to your ankles. If we don’t fight the negative pull downward by actively pushing back up against it, we will sink. Perhaps not too far at first, but enough to lose some healthy momentum in life. We can’t just passively float; we would eventually sink, so we must actively push up against the negative pull.
Pushing Up With Daily Practice
Resist negative thinking which pulls down, and replace it with healthier thoughts which push up-
Create boundaries for yourself on the amount of news you see and hear today. Social media can be overwhelming and seeing scenes of violence or hearing stories of hate throughout the day takes a mental and emotional toll. The news streams all day on so many platforms, limit your exposure.
Replace the negative, although factual, news with things that will fill your emotional and spiritual well; for me it’s morning devotionals, reading positive content, spending time in nature, exercise, time with family and friends, and unplugging from social media. We can’t just limit negativity, we have to replace it with more positive content and thoughts.
If you are lacking confidence in one area, focus on your accomplishments in other areas, and bridge that success. No success is too small. Use anything you have done well and let it be the confidence booster for a new area. You are capable; you have proved it already in other areas.
Refuse to accept the negative “facts of life” people or cultures tell you. No one is an expert in your life but you. They don’t know your inner spirit, determination, dreams, perseverance or potential. You define your destiny, don’t give anyone else that power.
Resist replaying negative scenes or thoughts over in your head. Each time one appears shatter it with a positive image, memory, thought, or even say something aloud that affirms and encourages you. There are times that I say to myself aloud, “I refuse this negative thought.”
Find others who also want to be buoyant in life and unite to encourage and strengthen each other. One good buoy can keep many afloat. A few good buoys strung together can inspire hundreds or more to stay afloat!
Immerse yourself with healthy, uplifting, and inspiring content. Read and dwell on stories of people overcoming difficulties to create wonderful lives or accomplish great things. Listen to music and enjoy the arts, they also elevate the human spirit.
You can increase your buoyancy through practice, strengthening your pushing up mental muscles. You will find as you grow buoyant that you will also positively influence those around you. Remember that remaining buoyant is not a passive event, it requires using force. Push back up!
For more reading and research on replacing negative thoughts with healthy positive thoughts: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_neuroscience_of_happiness