Negative beliefs act like a filter. They change the way you experience people and events, and over time, they chip away at your sense of self.
The good news is, once you recognize negative beliefs in yourself, they begin to lose their power over you.
And like a ray of sunlight peeking through dark clouds, your inner capacity for joy will begin peeking through, brightening up your life once again.
Here are the most common negative beliefs that can limit your potential for happiness:
1. “People are either good or bad”
If you tend to see the world as either black or white, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
No one is always good (or bad). Inside every person, including you and me, are good thoughts and bad thoughts, things we are proud of having done and things we wish we could change. Someone may be a great father but a poor husband.
Another person may act out of love at home but feel bitter when she is at work. Many of us wouldn’t harm a living thing consciously, but enjoy eating meat. Contradictions are a part of life.
Here’s the solution:
Next time someone disappoints you, or you face a part of yourself that is not perfect, remind yourself that perfection is a dangerous illusion.
Then, try to consciously recall something about the person or situation that you love. For example, if your spouse annoys the heck out of you by being messy at home, accept the anger, but also recall a specific time in the recent past when he made you happy. It could be something big, like supporting you when no one else did, or even something small, like getting you morning coffee in bed.
When you can see yourself and others as flawed but still beautiful and worthy, you will love and forgive more easily.
2. “Anyone different/unknown is weird”
To a conservative, being liberal is weird. To a vegetarian, all meat eaters seem weird. Rich folks look at poor neighborhoods with fear and mis-trust; and vice versa.
When we don’t know or understand something, it scares us.
When you have this reaction to something or someone, challenge yourself to learn more about it.
For example. let’s say your religion is very important to you and your daughter is dating someone of a different faith.
Rather than jump to the conclusion that you will never be able to “get” him, challenge yourself to be curious. Ask open, gentle questions about his faith and his upbringing. You don’t have to agree, but you can still try to understand.
Whenever ignorance is replaced by understanding, there is hope and possibility for joy.
3. “Believing in myself requires me to block out other opinions”
We are often told to “Stand tall”, “Believe in yourself” and “Drown out the voices that disagree.” While it’s important to stand behind your beliefs, it’s also essential to know how to react to differing opinions.
Truly successful people welcome other people’s opinions, even if they contradict their own.
Because they understand that each person has a unique perspective. And that there is often more than one right answer to a problem.
So how do you deal with this limiting belief?
Whenever I’m tempted to think my opinion is THE right one, I recall the story of the four blind men:
Four men were arguing about religion and God, each insisting that their God was the “real” one. Unable to convince one another, they went to Buddha.
Buddha brought the four blind men to an elephant and asked them to tell him what they “see”. One man was near the trunk and thus said it is a cylinder, the next was near the stomach and so insisted it was a wall, the third was near the leg and felt sure it was a pillar and the fourth man got the tail and was adamant it was a rope.
Buddha asked “So who is right?”
Every problem or situation has many sides to it. While yours may be true for you, other opinions can also be true.
Perspective changes everything.
4. “I have to feel whatever my thoughts tell me to”
Thoughts are extremely powerful and we’ve all felt their power at one time or another. But unhappy people are constantly overwhelmed by their thoughts and believe that if they have a sad thought, they have to feel sad.
Genuinely happy people know that thoughts are temporary, like clouds in the sky, and they often come and go randomly.
Just because you have an angry thought, you don’t have to end up feeling angry. You can choose what to do with that thought. You can either let it pass and focus on other thoughts, or you can obsess over it, making it stronger and more powerful.
Try this out: Next time you have an unhappy thought, just acknowledge it and bring your attention to your body and the present moment.
Engaging in regular exercise is a crucial element of healthy living. When you combine fitness with the right diet, you can pursue a truly healthy lifestyle. Following a 5K training plan will provide the fitness end, as running is one of the best exercise programs you can follow. Unlike sprinting, distance running provides you with endurance training as well.
Running is an aerobic exercise that will strengthen your lungs and heart muscles. The blood flow to every part of the body improves when you run, and your oxygen supply increases significantly. If these benefits weren’t enough, your metabolism also improves, making it easier to stay at your natural body weight. When you are at your ideal weight with a strong immune system, your chances of getting sick are much slimmer.
Of course, running is an excellent antidote for stress. Science tells us that the release of endorphins while running gives you that “high” feeling. You are less likely to feel stressed with this feeling of physical wellbeing. You’ll find yourself able to handle stressful situations with ease. Anything from a bad mood to mild depression can be cured by running and every day stressors seem to be not so stressful when you live a highly active life that includes running.
Socially, you will find many benefits when you start running. You can join a 5K training club and build your way up to racing form while you make plenty of new friends. You will mix it up with other runners and get healthy at the same time. The popularity of 5K training is rapidly increasing because of the proven results gained by running regularly.
Research has shown that adults who engage in exercises such as running are happier than those who do not exercise regularly. Running has been shown to prevent the onset of ailments osteoporosis, as it will strengthen your bones significantly.
For those who are overweight, you will benefit immensely from following a 5K training program. Running is the best way to burn calories and, when you train for a 5K race, you will shed many more pounds. When you are out of shape, you may find it difficult to start your 5K running.
Don’t be discouraged. Start slow – on a treadmill, or for short distances from your house at first. Once you feel comfortable running, take it to the track or to the park for longer distances. Build up your stamina and get ready to reap the benefits of 5K running.