How thinking negatively, can actually help you be more positive.

I’m a cynic. I don’t easily trust people or situations. I worry that when someone is being nice, they probably expect something from me, something, I probably can’t even give.

I have a terrible general anxiety disorder, that clouds my judgement at times and has me running around with a sense of urgency I, myself, can’t even explain.

So, I decided to try something.

I read about a certain Transcendental Meditation centre in Houghton, Johannesburg. Russell Simmons, Dr Oz, Clint Eastwood, Ellen DeGeneres, and many other celebrities had all given the Houghton centre rave reviews.

Although the reviews were great, being the cynical little troll I am, I had very low expectations. I expected it to be hard, and to be around an air of forced optimistic spirituality and bad herbal tea.

I was wrong.

Transcendental Meditation is as effortless, as breathing. However, it doesn’t focus on the breathing, you don’t have to concentrate, and you don’t have to try rid yourself of any thoughts. You allow your thoughts to come and go naturally, along with repeating your mantra, without trying to clear your mind. So you are aware of your thoughts, without necessarily objecting to said thoughts. What eventually happens is, you transcend thought, no matter, how confining they may be.

On my bike ride from the class, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time- a peace of mind. Granted, it didn’t last very long, but it helped open the door to some critical thinking.

I started to really think about my fears, and how hard I tried not to think about them. I also realised how less scary they were once I thought about them critically, and let them go.

Once we recognise our fears and the root of our anxiety, we can work on accepting them and moving on.

For instance, the fear of death.

Death. You know it’s going to happen, you don’t know when, and you probably don’t know under what circumstance. Thinking about death helps us accept what we can’t control, and enjoy what we can. Because, if you are to have the idea, that you could be on your deathbed tomorrow- it helps you enjoy the present more. When you think about your mortality, you become more motivated. You begin to appreciate the present and be in the moment. The same applies to other fears, such as failure.

If we are to think briefly, on what we can’t control -seeing as the root of most of our anxieties is the lack of control- we change the dynamics of our outlook drastically, through acceptance. Which, in turn, helps us enjoy our lives more.

Thinking about things you can’t change may be hard, but if we dissect them, we realise how little weight they hold over our lives. How little they matter, how insignificant they are in the grander scheme of things.

What are your biggest fears and anxieties, right this minute? Think about that for a second, then think about the worst case scenario- could you live with it? If you knew, you were to die tomorrow, could you live with the worst case scenario you’re dealing with right now?

Is it really the end of the world?

This is where Transcendental Meditation comes in, you allow a thought to enter, and exit, as swiftly and as naturally as it came, whilst still holding onto your mantra.

You’re alive, whether you’re healthy or not, you’re alive. You don’t have to think positively every day, but being cynical doesn’t make you realistic. Being realistic is accepting what you can’t change, and moving on.

Originally published at