You must implement change daily. You cannot hope for change. You must create change. Change is nothing more than ideas made manifest. Through change, your ideas will nurture and develop until maturity. I cannot do this for you; I can only inspire and encourage you to change. I can only compel you to live in accordance with the laws of the Universe and inform you that if you do not comply, your remaining days on this planet will be the "scattered to the wind" life of a dandelion instead of the sweet life of a rose. I can make one guarantee; the predominant thought in your mind will create the events you experience. That is how life works, whether you like it or not. When practicing mindfulness of your breath, don't focus on controlling your breath. Instead, simply focus on watching your breath as it comes to you naturally. Only make two distinctions: between short breaths and long breaths. As you breathe normally, make simple mental notes about whether each breath feels like a short one, or, perhaps in the event of a spontaneous deep sigh, a long one. This noting is all that needs to be done - not controlling. When practicing mindfulness of the breath, go beyond your awareness of the breath as a concept, and strive to actually envision the "body" of the breath. To do this, you can split each breath into a beginning, middle, and end. This level of specificity in perceiving the breath can shake us out of the malaise of mechanically acknowledging each breath without much actual awareness of its accompanying attributes. Depression is an incredibly complex, multi-symptom condition. It comes in many forms and is experienced on multiple levels. For those who suffer from depression chronically, it is life altering and potentially fatal.

Depression is also unique to each individual; so much so that when in its grip, people often feel they've invented their own particular brand of depression. They feel that while others have experienced darkness, nobody has experienced precisely what they're feeling, nor as intensely as they experience it. Depression is a lonely place. It can be a scary place. And it can also be a healing place. You are not alone. And you don't need to feel hopeless. The causes of depression are many. There is no single determining factor at the root of depression and anxiety. It might be genetic, it might come from a childhood full of abuse, vitamin deficiencies, a variety of diseases, social situations, or traumatic life experiences. The list of possible causes for long-term depression is endless. In today's challenging world it is vital to have energy, enthusiasm, and optimism in all areas of your life. Positive Thinking shows you how to transform your approach to living, so you can feel good about yourself, create worthwhile relationships, and perform successfully. Having helped you identify areas of negativity in your life, the book shows you how to rethink negative beliefs, optimize self- esteem, and learn new mental and emotional strategies for affirmative, effective thinking. Self-assessment exercises enable you to evaluate your positivity. The book then helps you apply these fundamental lessons to your life in the workplace, in love, for health, at play, and in friendship. A solid foundation of positivity will help you get the best from life. In stressful moments, awareness of the breath can be an excellent starting point towards eventually redirecting that awareness to other objects. The breath is always with us, and as such is a mindfulness tool that we can use at any moment. Think of the student who, after fighting through a traffic jam, searching the streets for a parking spot, and barging into a silent classroom well after class has begun, now has to focus his or her awareness on the lecture at hand.

With all the leftover mental turmoil from the stressors leading up to that moment, the breath can act as a 30 second, emergency object of awareness for the student to settle into mindfulness before shifting it to the teacher's subject matter. When struggling with sustaining mindfulness, work on becoming quicker at recognizing changes in feelings and mind states. This can be more feasible than trying to maintain constant mindfulness of static conditions. Catch yourself as close to the shift as you can. For example, if you are in traffic and admiring your favorite song in your car, and you are interrupted by another car angrily honking at you, learn to recognize the shift in feeling from enjoyment to annoyance. Recognize the situation simply for what it is - Annoyance is present - and note the changes it is bringing about (racing thoughts, a flushed feeling, maybe even an increased heart rate). When somewhat significant mental shifts like this are mentally labeled only as what they are (just the presence of a feeling), they are not built up internally into something more, and thus it is easier to dispose of them and settle back into mindfulness. Many books will lay claim to transforming your life, but I will claim no such thing! Nothing and no one can change you and your life except YOU! Your ability to change is a choice. It is exclusively your choice; no one or no thing, other than you, can force change upon you. You must want to change. I repeat; you must desire a change, want to change, and be prepared to put these feelings into action. No matter what the change may be a new wardrobe, or something more profound and less tangible, such as a new philosophy or a new approach to life you, and only you, can implement the process to create change. If you are the type of "student" in life who is reckless and chooses to remain in a mental state of recess, change will find you. Change will seek you out because nothing and no one in the Universe remains stagnant. You will know you need to change because an unsettled feeling in your heart, or just a nagging presence in your mind, remains with you. As you become discontent with your environment or something in your personal life, this discontentment will necessitate a change. The Universe gently encourages your growth and development; it wants you to move forward and excel in all areas of your life. Remember, you are its child!

When you are having a mindful moment of awareness of change around you, take a moment to shift your focus away from the change itself, and examine how the change is impacting your mindstate and physical body. Do you feel open to the change, or is a large part of you rejecting or pulling away from the change? Notice that when you recognize and mentally label change without being overwhelmed by it, you feel less of your mind devoted to it, and you have increased mental availability to be more mindful and aware regarding all the other perceptions flowing in. Be mindful, as often as possible, of the concept of impermanence with regard to feelings. Specifically, try to perceive feelings in a twofold way, both in terms of the moment(s) they are arising and the moment(s) they are receding. Mindfulness of the entrance and exit of these feelings into and out of your consciousness will serve to minimize any unwanted, excessive impacts they might otherwise have on you if they were to be subconsciously understood as permanent. The medical community has spent billions on research and development, yet the fact remains that by and large they're still very much engaged in a guessing game. They have yet to develop techniques to scientifically determine what's going on specifically with each patient, and they work using a system of trial and error. At best, they have an understanding of how certain chemicals in the brain operate, and then they experiment with that knowledge, hoping to find something that will alleviate the symptoms patients experience. While there has been some success with doing that, the truth is they're still very much losing the battle. Incidents of depression aren't diminishing over the years. They're getting much worse, as is the rate of suicides. Though the reasons behind this are many, the bottom line is that new methods need to be incorporated. Medications offer a temporary fix and help people get through tough spots. Yet, more often than not, when used as a long-term solution, medications keep people from the healing they truly need. They alter brain chemistry in ways that often leave patients in even worse shape than when they first reached out for help. The most basic indicators of your positivity or negativity are your emotions. The more aware you are of emotional signals, the more you will be able to move your feelings from negative to positive. Recognize the physical sensations that accompany your emotions. For example, you may feel anxious butterflies in your stomach or excited tingles down your spine.

Register the different responses that you have to your emotions perhaps losing your temper when you feel irritated, or being more generous than usual when contented. The positive belief, "I can be good at sports" prompts the thought, "I can win," and this motivates and energizes you into effective action. Your success generates positive expectations, reinforcing your self-belief and boosting your abilities. Before we begin our journey, I am going to pose some questions to help you understand your mindset about people and life. Your answers to these questions will clue you into your personal philosophies about the human spirit and the human race (something we take for granted). When you witness a sunset, do you think of a massive star that is emanating and radiating an incredible amount of energy? On the other hand, do you see the Universe's creativity manifesting itself to signify the end of a glorious day and the beginning of a wonderful night? The manner in which you perceive events will determine your experiences. One experience is called a moment; the total of experiences is called life. The process in which you string these moments together determines your lifestyle. Why is it that if a man is walking down the street, he is judged by the unchangeable suit he wears daily (his skin color), instead of being looked upon as another godly sunset bursting forth in a different shade of light? Try to slow down your pace of thinking until you can clearly comprehend each word as you move through the thought. One way to do this is to visualize each word of the thought slowly scrolling from left to right in your awareness, with the next word not making itself visible until the one preceding it has been comprehended. If you can literally "follow your train of thought," you will lose the characteristic jumbled and unclear mental feelings that can hinder mindfulness. Note the times in which you think of something predominantly in terms of "belonging to you," and realize that this only encourages the type of mental clinging that can cloud simple mindfulness. Try to see objects more simply just for their physical traits and for any sensations that they may cause to arise. Perception without possession can help reduce distracting mental states. To turn negative thoughts into positive ones, you have to realize that they are distortions of reality. Nothing is ever all bad; it is only your defensive thinking that makes it seem so. So get into the habit of analyzing your thoughts to see where you have misinterpreted things and therefore where your negativities are misplaced.