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Being a Pollyanna

Being a Pollyanna

A very good friend of mine once called me a “Pollyanna”. I knew exactly what she’d meant because I’ve always tried to maintain a positive spin on everything. For those of you that may not know what I’m talking about the word comes from a 1913 children’s book by Eleanor H Porter, “Pollyanna”, about a young girl who tries to find something positive in every situation.


I’m not sure I’ve reached the point where I am always optimistic and always positive, or even if that is even attainable, or always appropriate, but I do know that when I approach each day with a positive mindset I generally have a much better day and my life does seem to run just that little bit more smoothly.


So this isn’t something that I do sub-consciously, even though I would like to think I’ve always been an optimistic person. I know this because since I’ve been more aware of the power of positive thinking I’m even more aware of the negative self-talk that goes on in my head quite a lot of the time.  Humans do have a predisposition towards negativity so to be consistently positive requires a lot of focus and determination.  I still have good and bad days, but I am noticing that I do have a lot less bad ones now.


Some of the ways that have helped me to maintain my positivity have been through meditation, journaling and being more grateful and kind, making time for myself and my interests, stressing less and using positive affirmations.


I’ve always dabbled with yoga but I never really enjoyed the sitting still and just breathing bits of the classes. My mind was either too fizzy from my day or my body was just not tired enough to relax and be still.  But as I’ve learned more about mindfulness and been re-introduced to the idea of meditating by my brilliant life coach, I’ve come to understand the benefits of meditation and I’ve learned to sit and work with my mind more. I definitely feel more relaxed as a result.


What also helped me was listening to a lecture by Gelong Thubten – he’s a buddhist monk but once I understood better what it was all about it was much easier to actually start to practice myself.  Yoga and meditation are brilliant activities because they help you to bring your focus inward and listen to your self-talk.


I’ve also been journaling for business purposes for over a year now and it’s a brilliant way to keep on track with goals and to have a space for reflection and thinking about how your day has gone and to plan forward. But I’ve probably found a lot more benefit from a personal growth and development use than for business.


It’s helped me stay focussed on my personal goals, helped to lift my mood, given me space to think options through and probably most importantly I can think about the small wins and successes along the way. I use this as well to reflect on a daily basis on things that I have to be grateful for and for me this is a bit of a virtuous circle then.


If I’ve had a challenging day then just stopping and taking ten minutes to think about what I have to be grateful for, what was positive about the experience and how I can make sure I learn from any difficult situations means my outlook stays positive.


This links to the theory of the Law of Attraction, like attracts like. Think positively and positive things will come to you.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always have a good day and always be a ray of sunshine, (or a Polyanna), but it means that even on difficult days and circumstances if you maintain a positive outlook, you know things will get better.


Positive thinking isn’t the same as trying to gloss over the negative things in life or ignore your problems. It’s approaching the challenges that life sets you with a positive attitude. Asking the question, “How can I make the best of this situation I find myself in?”. Positive thinking is realistic.


For me reducing stress levels means taking care of myself better, taking breaks, eating better, exercising regularly, none of that is rocket science yet I still don’t always manage to achieve it every day. But I notice more when I don’t do it now, I can see that I’m not functioning at my best so I am definitely making progress on that front. You might think of other things that help you reduce stress, such as singing or helping other people, dancing and so on, you get the idea, whatever works best for you.


Positive affirmations are positive phrases that can be repeated over and over to teach you how to get rid of negative thoughts and encourage a positive attitude. You can also find motivation from inspirational quotes when trying to induce positive thoughts. I usually find it helpful to start and end my day with positive affirmations.


Once you start to think more positively, your brain will benefit from feel good hormones called endorphins, which will make you feel lighter and happier. You’ll notice a boost in confidence and feel more capable of taking on new challenges that might have been out of your comfort zone before. You can change your entire life by positive thinking.


Our happiness depends on the habit of the mind we cultivate  – Norman Vincent Peale – Power of Positive Thinking