How an Ancient Practice Can Help You Cultivate a Positive Mindset
A positive mindset is one of the core elements of a fulfilling life. Love, happiness, and joy are experiences that step from the intangible power of positive thinking.
While much of our happiness-seeking energy is often directed toward changing our external world, some of the most powerful tools available to us are those that lie within. By turning our attention inward and working with Qi, we can transform negative into positive and more fully enjoy life’s beauty.
In this post, we’ll be exploring the mind through the lens of Qi Gong principles, as well as sharing simple yet effective exercises for experiencing greater fulfillment in everyday living.
Understanding Positive And Negative Energies
Before delving into strategies for cultivating a positive mindset, it’s necessary to first understand how we view positive and negative energies from a Qi Gong and Chinese Medicine perspective.
First of all, it’s important to recognize that negative emotions and thoughts aren’t bad or wrong. In other words, the quest of Qi Gong and life isn’t to eliminate all unpleasant thoughts and feelings in order to only experience bliss and joy. In fact, such a pursuit isn’t even healthy and is doomed to fail.
Rather, both positive and negative experiences have a critical role to play in our lives. They are one expression of Yin and Yang, which exists everywhere in the world.
Often, positive energy is seen as Yang and negative energy is Yin, but as the Yin/Yang symbol shows, both of these carry an element of the other. The outside circle of the symbol that surrounds Yin and Yang represents the container within which each is present. In humans, this container is the human mind’s ability to hold space for both positive and negative.
When we understand that negative feelings aren’t the enemy, we can start to view them differently. Instead of seeing them as unwelcome guests, we can recognize that they have a purpose.
Working With Negative Energy
When we pay attention to negative thoughts and feelings, we can usually learn that they are seeking to protect us in one way or another. Sometimes, they have great wisdom and important guidance to share. For example, feeling afraid while standing on the edge of a cliff can help to ensure that we take a step back and don’t fall. Sadness can be a healthy response to loss and helps us give due attention to the suffering that is taking place.
Anger can be a natural and constructive response to injustice (when expressed in the right way).
In the right context, negative thoughts and feelings can be our teachers. They can help us to better navigate the various challenges we encounter throughout life. Based on this, there’s often nothing negative about “negative” feelings.
If negative thoughts and experiences can be so helpful, why do we seek to let them go and cultivate a positive mindset?
Simply put, our goal isn’t to avoid negativity at all costs. Rather, our learning journey is about keeping negative experiences where they belong and allowing positivity to remain where it belongs. In other words, anger, fear, and sadness have a critical role to play, but it’s still important to make sure they don’t take over our lives.
For example, stress may be an appropriate response when our life is in danger, but that doesn’t mean we should let it dominate our mind when we’re stuck in traffic. Similarly, anger can be a healthy response to witnessing violence or abuse, but if someone cuts you off in line at the grocery store, it’s probably not a helpful response.
For both slow traffic as well as rude shoppers, it’s important to recognize our own emotional responses to these external experiences, and then let go of any negative feelings that may have arisen. Then, we can turn our attention to the positive thoughts and feelings we wish to replace them with.
We just talked about how to identify and let go of negative energy. Now, let’s discuss how to transform them into positive and empowering thoughts and feelings.
There is a saying in Qi Gong which underlies one of the foundational principles of the practice: “the mind leads the Qi.”
Although negative inner experiences can often creep up within us, we also have a choice about where we direct our attention. Instead of allowing our minds to be held captive by fear, anger, or stress, we can channel it in a direction that helps us to cultivate the energy we wish to experience.
One way to do this is through visualization. If we close our eyes and imagine all of the exciting or inspirational opportunities that lay before us in our day, week, or year, our vision will help to elevate our sense of well-being in the present moment.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to think about a grand goal or ambition we have. At other times, it can be useful to just bring awareness to the small pleasures of today or tomorrow — the fun activities in our schedule, the delicious meals that await us, or the people we love. Reminding ourselves of the joy that lies in our future can go a long way to helping us cultivate a positive mindset.
If there is an activity that requires us to perform, it can be a great idea to visualize ourselves succeeding in the task before us. Not only will this help to reduce stress and increase joy, but it can also lead to more positive outcomes in the external world.
In addition to thinking positive thoughts, many people find it helpful to write them down. Writing has a way of making ideas and intentions feel more tangible and real, which can further influence the mind in a positive direction.
Similarly, taking time to be grateful is another powerful way to cultivate a positive mindset. Instead of imagining the future in a positive and joyful way, try to think about what there is to be grateful for in the past or present. Just like in the previous exercise, reflecting on all the things we’re appreciative of is a wonderful way to manifest positivity and joy.
All of these exercises are based on one important Qi Gong principle: we all have the capacity to become the master of our own minds. By recognizing that our happiness and wellbeing isn’t a passive experience, we become empowered to take action within ourselves to create the inner reality we wish to enjoy.
Like most things in life, cultivating a positive mindset is a habit. By dedicating our energy each day to letting go of negative experiences and cultivating positivity, we can become happier individuals who are more inspired, grateful, and full of joy.
In addition to these exercises, Qi Gong offers many more opportunities for nurturing the energies we wish to experience…
Thirty Day Qi Gong Challenge
Since daily Qi Gong practice is one of the best ways to boost our emotions and elevate the mind, we’ve put together a special program to make it as easy as possible to create the new habit of a regular Qi Gong practice.
The Thirty Day Challenge offers thirty Qi Gong practices that are each just seven minutes in length, making it easy to find time to enjoy Lee’s routines before work or in the evening. Also, every lesson in the Thirty Day Challenge is unique, so students can look forward to a rich variety of practices that provide a well-rounded introduction to Lee’s teachings.
In addition to elevating thoughts and emotions, Qi Gong is a great way to increase energy, reduce stress, and get some exercise. Click here to discover how Qi Gong can help you cultivate a more positive and empowered mindset today.