In a world which feels increasingly alarming, the quickest way to feel more grounded and positive is to take stock of what is right and good around you. Books such as the classic manifestation bible The Secret by Rhona Byrne reinforce the notion that with gratitude and awareness of what we already have we can naturally create more of what we want or need. Want more money? Count your blessings for what you already have and ask the universe humbly to grace you with more. Want to change your course in life? Notice the different avenues that are already available to you and keep an open mind. Simple right?

Practices such as listing ten things that you are grateful for every morning and evening is a great way to flood your brain with positivity and puts us in a frame of mind where we are tuned in to all the wonderful things we already have in our lives, even if it something minuscule such as ‘I woke up healthy, I have people around me I love, I have money to afford my morning cup of coffee’. In a society that increasingly cashes in on tragedy and fear, seeing the bright side of things can make a huge positive impact on the way we see the world.

The flip side of this however is the notion that, much like good thoughts can manifest good things, bad thoughts can also manifest bad things, which can in turn sometimes put us off even considering the not so pleasant aspects of life. Our brains are very good at creating shortcuts and generalising. We like to place things into categories or use stereotypes, so as to access information quickly, and because of this we are predisposed to sort good and bad things into different categories. But as we all know, life is never black and white, and instead is a whole technicolour of grey.

While a great way to introduce more positivity into our day to day living, one set back of focusing entirely on the good that is happening in our lives, and shutting out the bad, means that we are susceptible to ignoring the very real things that are not so perfect. Denial and avoidance of the darker side of reality is a very effective defence mechanism and can in some instances keep us safe, but at other times can make life actually more difficult.

Long term avoidance of nuance can leave us vulnerable as we are not gaining the resilience we would normally get when dealing with hard to cope with situations. While in a crisis it may be more important to focus on what is going right, or what we do have control over, when the crisis is averted it is still important to take stock of the events of reality and see what can be learnt from what has happened. Being able to tolerate the darker sides of life is a valuable skill which is necessary to equip us for times when we are in a corner and have no option but to work our way through things.

Sometimes this idea of ignoring things and hoping for the best can be a throwback to our childhood, where we felt out of control and so focussed on only the things which didn’t feel too scary to cope with. Growing up in a situation where there was no space to acknowledge the bad things going on, else it might be to the detriment of us either mentally or physically, can end up leaving you in a place where you are not entirely honest with yourself about how life is panning out. As adults we are in a more privileged position to be able to look back from relative comfort and see that maybe some things growing up were not ideal, but we can find the tools now to work through difficult situations.

Feeling able to cope with stress, being able to adapt when circumstances change and understanding that it is ok when things are less than perfect are valuable life skills which can be built on over time. If you are feeling increasingly as though you can’t cope with life’s ups and downs why not get in touch with The Henry Centre, Southend where there is a team of therapists who will be able to guide you through past thought processes and build resilience for the future.