There’s an ancient Yoga sutra that goes: “When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite ones should be thought of.”
Opposite thoughts and actions, too.
This practice is called Pratipaksha bhavanam.
Cultivate the opposite.
Good advice for so many situations in life. (Especially right now.)
When everyone around you is panicking about money and hoarding resources, cultivate the opposite. Be exceptionally generous.
When everyone on your workplace team is spinning with anxiety, cultivate the opposite. Be the strong, steady rock.
When everyone online is screaming for attention, a noisy cluster of never-ending pixels, cultivate the opposite. Be the quiet leader. Speak with discernment. Say more with fewer words.
When the world feels topsy turvy, upside down, and so uncertain, cultivate the opposite. Build certainty. Make a checklist. Fill it with tiny goals that you can definitely achieve: drink water, have coffee, gaze at the sky, answer 3 emails, listen to an uplifting song.
When something isn’t working out and you feel so discouraged, cultivate the opposite. Ask yourself, “How can I make this feel amazing?” How could you make this situation feel like a big “win”—even if everybody cancels, even if nobody shows up for your party, even if you make zero dollars, even if things do not match your original vision? How could it feel beautiful, even then?
When your lower back is aching, cultivate the opposite. Literally. Move in the opposite direction. Forward fold. Soften your knees. Gently reach down for your toes. Immediate relief.
When my friend Theresa gets a 1-star Amazon review for one of her books, she immediately writes a 5-star review for somebody else. By doing this, she neutralizes the negative energy and feels different immediately. My friend Melissa does the same thing.
Flip it around. Dark into light. Loss into gain. Cultivate the opposite quality, then beam it towards yourself and others like The Care Bear Stare.
The opposite is good medicine.
And the world needs plenty of medicine right now.