The other night while I was taking my dog for a walk, I came across something that made me stop.
Scrawled in pastel chalk on the sidewalk was “fulfill your destiny” by “honschar of new york” (see @honschar on instagram).
Seeing those words made me stop and think. In that single moment my spirit was lifted. You see there have been many times, particularly over the last few years, where I find myself contemplating my life, relationships, career, purpose. You name it, I question it. I was in one of these moments when I passed this message. This message had a small but powerful effect on me. It stopped the spinning in my mind and allowed me to be in the moment and look at how far I’ve come and the things I have accomplished in my life. It stopped me from going down a rabbit hole and made me appreciate the things I have.
As I passed by the message over the next few days, I wondered how many other people’s moods it had lifted a bit higher. I did some searching and found out that “honschar” leaves random inspirational sayings all over the sidewalks of New York. I don’t think he has any idea of how he slowly influences an entire city. We never really know the true measure of the positive impact we can leave behind. For one person, you may not leave an imprint at all. For another person, it may be a small one. However, for one person it may be a profound impact. This is the power of positivity. Its effect is contagious.
While negativity tends to drain one’s energy until it exhausts all resources, positivity does the opposite. It raises people’s moods, increases one’s energy and slowly but surely begins to spread. Recent research has shown that negative feelings such as fear or anger limit one’s ability to focus and see the world around them. Positive feelings, such as joy and love, allow one to see more possibilities, which can eventually lead to developing important life skills that can help “broaden” horizons. Whether it is creating a positive environment or instilling a small positive thought in the mind of a person who is overcome by negativity, the benefits of positive thinking will be felt on a mental as well as physical level.
According to researcher Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology researcher from University of North Carolina, there are a few easy strategies to increase positivity in your life.
- Write or journal
- Paint, colour, draw
- Dance or listen to music
- Take a walk in nature
By keeping a balance and carving out time in your everyday life for positivity, you can become happier, more productive and eventually more successful. In fact, ultimate success in life actually depends upon happiness. Which is kind of backwards to the way society thinks. Often we find ourselves saying “I will be happy when ____ finally happens”. In Fredrickson’s world, we should be doing the opposite.
Focus on positivity and being happy and the good things in life will come!
Read more on the power of positivity:
Fredrickson, B.L., Cohn, M.A., Coffey, K.A., Pek, J., Finkel, S.M. 2008. Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 95(5): 1045-1062. (http:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/)
Images taken from www.instagram.com/honschar