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I choose positivity

Ever since I was exposed to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), I honestly did not understand how this form of therapy worked. The questions that buzzed around my mind was, “How can you just change the way one behaves and think? How do you make one lead a path to positivity using coping strategies? It can’t be that easy.”

Well of course, it isn’t. However, it is not impossible. Eventually, I have come to embrace that CBT is something that works and if practiced regularly with full effort and devotion, it can work wonders. In the next few paragraphs, explains how CBT changed my outlook and my journey of navigating through life currently, entirely.

Forcing myself to listen to upbeat and danceable music where I jam and have fun singing along to different powerful beats in the car while driving around can be challenging yet fueling to engage towards my fun side too. In early January 2024, things just got tougher for me as I had and am still amid recovering from certain battles with individuals who impacted my life for the past few months. Throughout January 2024, I find myself in very low moods and I realised I drowned myself in my sinkhole of negativity even more when I constantly listen to music that relates to my situation. The emotional tunes of the melodies made me super connected to the emotions that the singers sing with their heart out, which was a temporary relief that made me feel understood.

The mindset change requires more practice and may not always make the process get easier, but the outlook of it and reflecting upon the progress you make from another perspective definitely puts you at ease once it dawns on you how much you have grown. For the longest time, I have been trying to shift my mindset to a brighter area in order for me to lead my decisions and changes to my thinking a little more positive every step of the way. Nonetheless, nothing ever comes so easily, and I truly had to push myself beyond my limits of self-doubt and worries that everything is not as scary as it seems, to be able to reach a point where I have realised that i just changed my outlook in that very moment. 

Recently, I recalled myself thinking, “Hey, see what you did there? You thought positively of the situation! Doesn’t it make you feel better and lighter on your emotions?”

Indeed, it did. Context was, I was driving and although remembering the events about it now can come off as very dangerous, I guess the more important note is how I grew from it. Anyways, there was a car who cut in to my lane suddenly from another road and I had to hit the brakes which startled me obviously and caused me to feel a wave of rage and frustration due to the sudden occurrence. However, as few seconds to a minute had passed and I began to think deeply whilst continue my drive on the road, signalling and switching lanes, continuing my journey to my destination and thanking the universe that I was still in one piece as things could have been worse. Which lead me to have the thought that maybe the driver made that emergency cut in because it was necessary, and they were in a huge rush for an urgent matter for instance like a medical emergency. As I drove along the road with that positive what-if idea in mind, I realised the knot in my heart loosened a little and because of that, I could fill my lungs with a breath of fresh air.

Whenever I did exercise or moved my body, I felt productive. Inevitable. Indestructible. Strong and powerful. The sense of empowerment I felt which made me feel like anything was possible grew and made me flourished more as I started to feel physically stronger. Coming from someone who once had to move around with walking aids at one point of her life, having the sensations that I am gaining strength physically meant the world to me. It felt as though I was a centimetre away from falling back to the black hole when I felt disabled. 

Few weeks ago, as I was journaling about 5 positive things that happened for one of the weeks, I penned down about the fact that I ran from my house to a park and back home without stopping. Smiling about it at that time, it was the first time I felt proud of myself in a very long time. The last time I manage to bring myself to run such a distance without stepping to catch my breath and felt nauseous from the lactic acid producing was many years ago before back when I did competitive running in school. Training my endurance became harder and harder as I became sicker with an underlying condition. So, when I manage to run back and forth with no breaks recently, it felt as though I achieved a personal huge milestone.

In the beginning if 2024, I started my journey or journalling 5 positive things that happened in a week or two. As I try to be more consistent with my journalling, that is one way I try to appreciate the little things that happens in life, as well as enabling myself to reminisce the more favourable times that have went on recently. Sometimes, we often focus on the one bad fight we have gone through with a loved one, thinking that it ruined and defined our whole week whereas if we dig in deeper and touch the more pleasant areas of our memory bank, life may not be as bad as it seems. As I noted down the positive memories, it made me be more grateful for the people around me who matter and cut myself some slack for the mini victories I have received that week.

One struggle that rose when I did this practice of positivity, was not seeing my experiences or memories as they are. Positive. Bright. Beautiful. Sadly, I somehow interpret it in the form of worry and added many what-ifs to the memory, thinking that it was just pure luck rather than cherishing how lovely it is just as it is. These thoughts travelled around my mind throughout every corner, haunting me in away, but deep down I knew this was just the negativity talking. The awareness that I was painting the positive with negatives did wake me up for me to try to set a reminder in my head whenever I paint another layer of negativity, reminding myself that it is not true.

Personally, I am unable to summon back a clear memory of when it transpired to me that CBT is a form of therapy that has many benefits to it. Undoubtedly, for each method used there comes their own set of limitations which causes it to be unsuitable for some, but it does not mean CBT is ineffective, especially since it has aid countless individuals. In my experience, the process was very gradual to the point I never really realised the significant change unless I precisely reflect on every significant point in my life and the events leading and concluding them. All in all, I hope you fellow readers reading my words currently have a pleasant journey with CBT, even if you are not experiencing any mental health conditions, that is totally alright! As I feel that CBT would work wonders and generally improve your way of life.

Submitted by: Natalie C.


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