Positivity vs. Negativity – Battle of the Fittest

Martial Arts

Art takes many forms; as an author, I consider myself an artist. In my free time, I am also a ‘martial artist’. The term ‘martial arts’ is closely associated with the fighting arts of East Asia; the term is however derived from Latin and means ‘arts of Mars,’ the Roman god of war. I practice Muay Thai (also known as Kick Boxing); the word ‘muay’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘wavya’ which means ‘bind together’ and the word ‘thai’ refers to the country Thailand. Its generic name means ‘unarmed combat,’ a true test in any battle of the fittest.

Muay Thai in Namsan Park, Seoul

Martial arts have health and spiritual benefits; the spiritual benefits include teaching self-respect, respect for others, patience, humility, self-control and modesty, the health benefits derived from the conditioning that helps keep the body fit, strong and properly toned. To be effective, a good Muay Thai fighter must keep his physical and mental condition in balance, he must move with speed, but also show common sense and intelligence, he must train both his mind and his body with dedication, concentration, and discipline. Muay Thai also develops a sense of brotherhood, a fighter will help others when the opportunity arises, and will never resort to fighting unless there is no other option available.

The history of Muay Thai can be traced to the middle of the 18th century. During battles between the Burmese of the Konbaung Dynasty and Siam, the famous fighter Nai Khanomtom was captured. The Burmese knew of his expertise in hand-to-hand combat and gave him an opportunity to fight for his freedom. Nai Khanomtom managed to knock out ten consecutive Burmese contenders. Impressed by his skill, he was freed and returned to Siam where his fighting style became known as Muay Thai and later recognized as a national sport.

Getting Balanced

If you ever feel a bit off-balance or stressed-out I recommend you find a Muay Thai class and develop your fighting spirit because, perhaps without realizing it, we are all engaged in fierce battles every day. These battles occur within us between positivity and negativity. For the sake of this article, I will call positivity ‘Yang’ (positive, bright, masculine) and negativity ‘Yin’ (negative, dark, feminine). Picture those two in a ring; if your first impulse is to cheer and expect ‘Yang’ to win, I’m sorry, but you’re mistaken, in a battle of the fittest, ‘Yin‘ would triumph.

Yin and Yang in the Battle of the Fittest

Battle of the Fittest – Negativity

Our brain has a negative bias, it loves negativity! Our brain is wired with a much greater sensitivity to unpleasant rather than pleasant news. Dr John Cacioppo, the ‘Scientist of Loneliness’ from  Ohio State University, conducted a study to demonstrate this effect by contrasting the effect on the brain of pictures arousing positive feelings (such as sport cars, holiday shots, ice creams, etc.), negative feelings (such as mutilated faces or dead cats), and, for good measure pictures to arouse neutral feelings (of everyday objects, such as dinners plate and hair dryers).

The subjects had their brain activity recorded during the experiment providing data to Dr. Cacioppo to analyze. The results showed very clearly that our brain reacts more strongly to negative rather than positive stimuli. Our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat rather than good news and that information is stored in our short to long term memory. This is why ‘Yin’ has a better chance of winning against ‘Yang.’

Our weighting of negative input is an evolutionary development to keep us out of harm’s way. Back in prehistory, when humans faced life or death situations every day, it was far more important for the brain to respond to negative rather than positive stimuli. If a wild animal charged towards you, you needed to fight or run away and to take that decision in a split-second. But, in non-threatening situations, like being offered food, or a gift, there is no such requirement for speed – your brain can react very slowly. To make matters worse, not only do we react more quickly to negative experiences, we are looking for them all the time. This makes it extremely easy for our minds to get into a negative feedback loop; you are hyper-aware of negativity and when it happens, you react quicker, it impacts you more and you remember it for longer. One scientist described the brain like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones. 

Positive Outlook

When faced with decisions or uncertainties, it is natural to have a fear of the unknown, I confess – this happens to me a lot, which creates a lot of anxiety and negative emotions.  Unfortunately, the nature of the world is uncertain; nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, and it is important to maintain a positive outlook.

According to Sadhguru, Indian yogi, mystic, and author:

you cannot overcome something which does not exist. Your fear is always about something that does not exist. Fear is happening because of excessive imagination. It is about things that haven’t happened yet, but you are creating those things in your mind. Fear means that you are producing horror movies in your mind. Produce something else, produce a comedy, a love story, an action movie.”

In the battle of the fittest, it is important to have a positive outlook and understand that we all have a natural tendency to be negative; you must train yourself to be a ‘Yang.’ Being positive, overcoming negative emotions requires dedication, discipline, and patience – just like with Muay Thai – and just like being a successful Muay Thai fighter it is necessary to train your body and spirit to work together, so that when the time comes to do battle against ‘Yin,’ the negative spirit, the odds will be in your favor.

And this, my Dear Friend is your Quest.

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The Art of Being Pleasant – Sadhguru Quotes

The Art of Being Pleasant

Jagii Vasudev (born 3 September 1957) more commonly known as Sadhguru is an Indian yogi, mystic and author. His biographer, Arundathi Subramaniam, described him in her book Sadhguru – More than a life as someone who is multi-dimensional, someone who is flamboyant, exuberant, remarkably compassionate, warm, friendly, funny, but who can also be remote, enigmatic, provocative and unpredictable. Sadhguru leads a remarkable and unguarded life, allowing everyone to see all the various facets of this personality – from wild motorbike rider to being a mystic, a yogi and a guru. His wise words, here about being pleasant, and teaching have helped and inspired many all over the world.

Sadhguru – Yogi, Mystic, and Author

How to Be Pleasant

Pleasantness is an art that needs to be cultivated. In this blog, I will take you on a journey to Pleasant Ville guided by the wise words of Sadhguru.

All human experience is coming from within. One of your missions in life should be to become as stable as a mountain; because it is only when somebody has a very stable base that many things can happen. Exhuberance of life is possible only if there is absolute stability in your life; otherwise exhuberance will lead to madness.

The first thing is to bring balance within yourself so that you become available to the magic of life. Balance is necessary to make this life beautiful. Human emotions are a very important aspect of being human. Emotion is a powerful thing and it is the strongest and most intense aspect of someone’s life. The question is: when you have emotions, would you prefer to have pleasant emotions or unpleasant emotions? It is an obvious choice and I bet that all of you would prefer experiencing pleasant emotions if given the choice; but in reality, a lot of people out there keep their emotions bitter a lot of the time. So the question that you have to ask yourself is: do you want to be pleasant or unpleasant?

Sadhguru Pleasant Quotes

If you become pleasant in your body, we call it health. If you become very pleasant in your body, we call it pleasure.

If your mind becomes pleasant, we call it peace. If it becomes very pleasant we call it joy.

If your emotions becomes pleasant we call it love. If it becomes very pleasant we call it compassion.

If your life energy becomes pleasant we call it bliss. If it becomes very pleasant we call it ecstasy.

If your surroundings becomes pleasant, we call it success.

People ask themselves: should I be loving? You don’t have to be loving. Just be pleasant with yourself, pleasant in your mind, pleasant with your emotions, pleasant with your energy. If you manage to do this day in and day out, you will become a wonderful human being, and you will in return be able to share all that pleasantness with people all around you.

How to be Pleasant Tips

Pleasant people are both generally happier and more enjoyable to be around. Happiness, facilitated by pleasant interaction with others, is one of the greatest contributing factors to people’s assessment of their own well-being, not to mention their overall satisfaction with their lives.

To help you learn the art of being pleasant, here are some simple tips.

1. Harbor positive emotions

Make the active decision to nurture a positive mindset. This is one of the quickest ways to affect your mood and outlook, which are both constantly shaping how other people feel around you. Further, maintaining positive emotions will contribute to your own satisfaction and the amount of happiness you experience. These sentiments will also positively affect the way you interact with others.

  • Choose to hold onto positive thoughts as they arise, and repeat them in your mind. Similarly, make the decision to set negative thoughts aside, and address any recurring sources of negativity.
  • Think of harboring positive emotions as providing the base of an “upwards spiral” that will contribute to your own emotional health and the enjoyment others derive in your company.
  • The more optimism you convey externally, the more positive experiences you’ll share. In turn, these will lead to greater personal and social comfort, success, and happiness.

2. Perform acts of kindness

Acts of kindness will immediately send a pleasant, positive message to whomever witnesses or benefits from them. Further, performing acts of kindness will contribute to your own feelings of happiness. For instance, simply smiling while holding the door has the legitimate potential to improve someone’s day. Don’t miss your next chance to do so!

  • Let someone go in front of you in a line
  • Give a stranger or someone at work a compliment

3. Enjoy the Little Things

Point out the little things that you enjoy. Take note of the little things that make you happy, and mention them to others around you. Simply spreading a sense of general contentment in the spaces you share with others will cause them to value and appreciate your presence.

  • Intentionally notice the things you are grateful for and keep a record of them.
  • When someone does something for you, no matter how small, recognize it.
  • Give a sincere compliment to a friend, family member, romantic partner, or even a stranger.Be as specific as possible to make it more meaningful.

4. Bite your tongue

Bite your tongue more often. Reduce the frequency with which you criticize or make contentious statements. When you disagree with someone, think about the specific reasons you hold a different perspective before voicing your disagreement. If you are uncertain about whether a critical comment is worth saying, try to see the scenario from the other person’s perspective. This will likely lead you to frame your perspective more pleasantly.

5. Allow yourself to smile

Smiling is one of the most powerfully pleasant behaviors you can immediately start doing more often. Not only will you own mood be elevated, leading you to act more pleasantly, the smile alone will positively affect the mood of those who see it – whether they realize it or not!

Smile at people you interact with before saying hello. People will almost always smile back, and your interactions will start off pleasantly, even before either of you say a word.

The Art of Being Pleasant

I hope you will start taking steps to improve your pleasantness that will increase the quality of your social interactions and become a source of pleasantness in your own and others’ lives.

And this, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!

This Is Your Quest – Author Joanne Reed

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.