Be Open To Feeling Better

Be Open To Feeling Better

Photo by Matheus Silva from Pexels

There is an easy and sustainable practice to use each day to raise levels of positivity and ease the impact of negative thoughts. This science-backed strategy just requires one minor shift in focus. You can feel better, and when you do, everyone benefits.

By Samuel Kett

Our students bear the brunt of the headspace we bring to class each day, both positive or negative. Yes, teachers are incredibly adept at hiding emotions and actually feel required to do this more than pretty much any other job. After a few days of recently feeling agitated, anxious, a little bit hopeless and getting, yeah, a bit too angry at times, I knew I needed to take some action to sort this out. I went back to Dr. Barbara Frederickson’s book Positivity (follow her on Linkedin). After scanning through it, one particular strategy stood out to me “BE OPEN”.

Open Your Mind – Why?

Barbara Frederickson’s Broaden and Build Theory has shown us that positivity opens our mind. It allows us to see more, literally! Yes, it allows us to see more both in terms of our peripheral vision and our ability to see new opportunities. What the science also shows is that positivity and openness feed off each other, each setting off and strengthening the other. So, when you feel positive, you are naturally more open and even if your current zone is not a positive one, if you work on openness, then positivity will arise out of it.

Be Open To Feeling Better

Open Your Mind – How?

  • Allow yourself to experience the depth of the present moment. Clear your mind of judgements and expectations, no matter what the experience is, try simply practicing awareness and acceptance. Don’t add any negative judgements on the situation, just allow yourself to accept it and experience it fully.
  • To help you experience the depth of each moment without judgement, tune into your senses. As you are on duty in the playground, instead of getting lost in thought about your to do list, or how the next lesson might go, notice the sounds of the students playing, the sun on your skin, the weight of your body pressing into the ground. Bringing focus to your senses automatically brings you into the present moment and this cultivates openness and openness triggers positivity.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation as this teaches us in a more skilful way how to open our minds; and remember, openness is a catalyst for positivity. I recommend headspace as a fantastic tool to guide your learning and practice in meditation.
  • Be curious about what you are currently experiencing. When something negative happens and you feel yourself reacting, notice what happens, be curious about the emotions and the physiological reaction rather than fighting against the situation or trying to change it.

In Short

Feelings and thoughts don’t need to be seen as interruptions that should be pushed aside and suppressed. Instead by acknowledging them, being curious, accepting and simply observing them, we open our minds to the present moment, which paves the way for positivity. Both structured mindfulness in the form of meditation, and mindful awareness of your surroundings and senses help to open our minds to the present moment and again, welcomes in an upward spiral of positivity. So I suggest, everyday start your day with the motto “Be Open”, you could even have this as the wallpaper on your phone. This simple concept, could be just what you need to make the shift towards a more positive and fulfilling life.

Your Turn

Have you come across one simple practice or mind shift that you have felt has quickly changed your headspace like this “be open”concept has for me? If so, please do share as I am sure we could all benefit from that. If you do try any of the suggestions from this article it would great to hear your feedback in the comments below.

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