Pride Month: How I Overcame Negative Thinking
by Gino Parisi*
Whilst pondering on what to write in this blog in relation to mental health, I think back on my life and the challenges that I have experienced. Growing up gay in a strict Italian family and attending a catholic boarding school in the 70s’ and 80’s life was certainly challenging, to say the least. However, I do not think that there are many of us who can say they have not had periods of “ups and down”. If there is anyone out there reading this who has had no “downs” then please get in touch and let me know your secret. Nevertheless, as I approach my 50th year in 2021, I can honestly say that I feel that I am getting a grip of my own mental wellbeing and the down periods are getting much fewer.
Embracing my 'free' mind
Certainly, the past year has had its challenges for everyone but with a more positive mental attitude, I took the “lack of physical freedom” as an opportunity to press a massive pause button on my life and take time to reflect. No more commuting, stuck in traffic for hours on end, rushing from one place to another and then coming home stressed and exhausted. The absence of all these things improved my mental health immeasurably.
At the start of lockdown, I consciously decided that even though my “physical freedom” restricted I was not going to allow the powers that be to take away my “mental freedom”. This conscious decision to be free in my mind allowed me to unburden myself from the chaotic western world that we live in, lockdown and all, and with that a sense of relief came and still remains today. So for months on end, home alone all day with my husband, I relished the time that we had together and being “free” in my mind.
The routine was simple:
- Meet in the kitchen for lunch at twelve
- Work again till five
- Healthy vegan meal and a relaxing evening watching all the seasons of Ru Pauls Drag Race (once again)
The chance to share my day with the man I love was a great freedom indeed. I never once felt that my freedom had been taken away from me because I consciously planted in my mind that I am a “free” being and I believe this unconditionally.
Using positive affirmations
For many years I have practiced positive affirmations. In other words changing those negative stories that are played out in my mind to positive ones. Throughout the past year I told myself I was a “free” being and that indeed is the “feeling” that I had. I am a great believer in “what you think about you create”. So, if I think positive thoughts then I will feel positive and my reality will be a positive one. Whether you believe this or not, it works for me.
Through my daily positive affirmations, that I speak in my mind or write down in my journal, I am able to create the day I want to have. The reflective time that I have had this past year has allowed me to take stock of the stories that are played out in my mind that are not so positive. I have investigated each one of these negative stories to see where they came from, and who planted them there. I found a few from the 70’s and 80’s. I then decided to evict them from my mind. Each one is replaced by its positive counter-part that I consciously create and affirm to myself daily. Eventually the negatives just fade away, and I am left with an abundance of positive thoughts that just make me feel good and as a result a great day is had. I believe that for every negative there is a positive –for me, it’s finding that positive, focusing on it and making that your reality.
Of course, for us to see the positive effects of our affirmations I think we need to remember that it’s all about momentum. We need to get the positive thought momentum to be greater than the negative one, and that needs a little work. Imagine you see a cart on top of hill starting to move downhill and you need to stop it. The easy place to stop the momentum is at the top of the hill. If you try to stop the cart as it gets near to the bottom of the hill, it will be harder, as it has gathered the momentum of speed. My idea is this, catch those negative thoughts before they gather momentum. So get those positive thoughts flooding your mind by saying those positive affirmations so they gather momentum and soon enough the negative thoughts will not stand a chance.
Manifesting the life I want
I believe that the mind is the most powerful thing in the universe and the greatest creator. Everything you see around you, from a car to a space rocket, was first created in the mind and with an unconditional belief came its manifestation. So let us all take ownership of our minds and first create the life we want in our thoughts and feelings; soon enough it will manifest into reality.
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