Nurture positive: Create and cultivate positivity through mindfulness

Nurture Positive is the name we give to all the meditation techniques that involve the intentional cultivation of positive mental images, mental talk, and positive emotion. This category of techniques is perhaps the most colorful and diverse of any other category. In it, we find many different techniques such as song, prayer, mantra, calligraphy, icon paintings, feng shui, and many others.

More broadly, we also find these techniques in job search courses, where you create a mental image of yourself doing a good job interview. Or the mental training of top athletes. Personally, I like to practice this way through singing and playing, and by recalling good moments during the day with gratitude in the evening — and by tinkering in the garden.

By training in Nurture Positive, pleasant experiences become more accessible to us:


A counterweight to negativity

Actively cultivating positive thoughts and feelings helps as a counterweight to our tendency to be negative.

It’s a shame to say it, but humans are made to be somewhat negative beings. We are a little more anxious than we need to be, and see the bad sides of a situation faster than the good. Recent figures show that 320 million people are estimated to be clinically depressed worldwide.

This tendency toward negativity has been good for us when looked at from the context of human evolution. Because we have been a little anxious, we have stayed on the safe side of risk. We have made choices that have kept us alive generation after generation.

This was very important to us when tomorrow was potentially life-threatening. It’s been a while since this has been the case for most of us, but our brains are slowly evolving. Deep parts of the human mind still believe that dangers lurk around every corner.

This negativity bias has a number of negative consequences for us:

So I guess you more easily remember the negative facts in this blog post than the positive ones. What an irony!

Nurture Positive and mindfulness meditation

Switching between an observational practice (attention meditations such as Focus in and Focus out) and a creative practice such as Nurture Positive means that we can make faster progress in both places.

This change also helps with problems that can arise, especially with intense observational practice.

Mindfulness meditation minimizes and deconstructs the experience of the moment, situations, and the self. It is often experienced as a downward and inward movement.

Nurture Positive goes the opposite way, up and out, and enhances our experience of the moment. We create, build and nurture situations and the self.

Therefore, these two paths balance and support each other in an effective way.

It also balances out the possibility that we place too much emphasis on positive thinking. This also has its possible problems, such as standing in the way of self-insight.

We can divide being “positive” into the following categories:

Positive thoughts

You create and maintain rational, productive thought patterns, replacing inappropriate thought patterns with new and more appropriate ones.

Positive behavior

You change negative behavior, begin new desired behaviors, and reinforce positive behaviors you already have.

Positive ideals

You focus on personal role models, icons or other representations of goodness.

Positive situations

You imagine and focus on desired outcomes for yourself, people you care about, others in the world, etc.

Other positives

Other ways not covered by the five above.

This is intended as a broad classification. Under each category, there are many specific possibilities.

For example, under the category of Positive behavior, we find such things as to stop smoking, stop drinking, stop biting nails, to get better eating habits.

At the same time, there are some categories that slide into each other. For example, if you want to work with speaking in assemblies, this can be seen as both working with Positive behavior and Positive situations.

Basic instructions

All forms of Nurture Positive follow the same basic pattern.

  1. Choose a theme (from the six categories mentioned above).
    a) Try the topic for a few minutes by mentally repeating a word or phrase that represents the topic you have chosen.
    At the same time, notice pleasant emotional feelings associated with this positive theme.
    b) Try the theme for a few minutes by mentally creating an image that represents the theme you have chosen.
    At the same time, notice pleasant emotional feelings associated with this positive theme.
  2. Based on what you experience in points 1a and 1b, choose a subjective system that works most naturally for you at the moment:
    a) Mental image only (See good)
    b) Mental talk only (Hear good)
    c) Emotional feeling only (Feel good)
    d) Both mental image and mental talk(See and hear good)
    e) Both mental image and emotional feeling (See and feel good)
    f) Both mental talk and emotional feeling (Hear and feel good)
    g) The whole subjective system — mental image, mental talk, and emotional feeling — at once. (Be Good)
  3. Keep your chosen theme in your chosen subjective system for a certain period of time.

As in mindfulness meditation, we divide all experience into three sense categories: Seehear and feel. Taste and smell are part of feel for simplicity.

In Nurture Positive, we call the sensory experiences See good, Hear good, and Feel good so that we have a common language for teaching and conversation around these techniques.

About pictures and words

A mental image can be

Mental talk can be

Practical Methods for Feeling Good

Practicing Feel good is something you can do alone in silence, but it is also a great practice to do in everyday life in the background of your consciousness.

When you do a background practice, you leave the technique in the background, and you only bring it to the forefront of consciousness sometimes. For the most part, you leave other things in the foreground, such as conversations or other activities.

This is especially suitable to do in social contexts when you are with people you like to be with. Your company becomes like a seed that initiates meditative love in you, and you can both be in meditation and at the same time spread unconditional love around you.

Convenient ways to activate a comfortable feeling:

Of these, number six is ​​always available, and the other five are sometimes available.

It may feel fake to “force” a smile, but studies show that even strained smiles make one think more positively.

In psychology, the image of the tail wagging the dog is used to illustrate how our actions affect what condition we are in and how we feel.

Example of Nurture positive

The inner smile (origin: Taoist)

  1. Imagine someone that makes you happy. It can be a person or perhaps a pet.
  2. Imagine that someone smiling at you. If you do not see the person so clearly, you can, for example, say to yourself “[the person] smiles at me.”
  3. Smile back.
  4. Feel how the smile spreads on your face, even though you may not smile so broadly physically.
  5. Let the smile open up your face and make smile wrinkles around your eyes. Imagine how the smile makes your eyes shine.
  6. Feel how the feeling of the smile feels in the rest of the body, for example in the chest or abdomen.
  7. Look for feelings of joy, gratitude, love, kindness, and other good feelings.
  8. Try to support the feelings to spread in the rest of the body.
  9. If you lose the experience of smiling or good feelings in the body, go back to step 1.
  10. Keep focusing on the good feeling of how the smile affects you.

Adapted and extended from Five Ways to Know Yourself by Shinzen Young