Living Well

Positive Change Can Begin With You!

Last updated: Dec 21, 2011


The start of a new year is a good time to reflect. It can be the fresh start you need to make behavioral changes to improve yourself and the world around you.  

With the many demands of family and work, changing your behavior might seem like a tough task. But making those changes can be easier than you realize, especially if you take time to consider healthy ways to think and act. Mahatma Ghandi, a pioneer in the nonviolent approach to protest and change, shared his wisdoms so that we could become better people and make the world a better place.

Ghandi encourages us to:

  • Have Faith in Humanity
    Having faith that we can improve as individuals and as a society is the foundation of positive change. It means we believe that we can become better people who can make the world a better place. As Ghandi said, “Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Although we are not perfect, we are overwhelmingly (an ocean of) good 
  • Change Ourselves
    “Our greatness is not so much in remaking the world as it is in remaking ourselves,” noted Ghandi. He believed that changing how you think and feel can change how you react to the world around you. You are the only person who controls what you feel and how you react. Remember that it's up to you to make the changes you want in your life
  • Look for the Good in Others
    Although you can find good and bad things in all people, looking for the good can make life easier, more positive, and pleasant for you and them. Ghandi believed that seeing the good in others makes it more likely that you will want to help them. He said, “[people] become great exactly in the degree in which they work for the welfare of [others].” With this philosophy in mind, remind yourself that other people, just like you, are managing personal issues while getting through the demands of their day. Be patient and kind and offer to help them. If just one person that you've helped is kind to someone else, you will have started a chain reaction of positivity that can have far-reaching effects   

  • Forgive
    “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong,” Ghandi remarked. Remember that focusing on a negative thought or memory has no purpose after you've learned something from it. If you've been hurt, remind yourself that everyone, including the person who hurt you, is human and makes mistakes. If you want to be forgiven for the things you’ve done, it is only reasonable to forgive others for their mistakes. You also need to forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made and do your best not to repeat them
  • Live in the Moment
    “I am concerned with the present. [I have] no control over the next moment,” noted Ghandi. Remember that you cannot change the past and you have no control over the future. You can only make good choices in the present. Putting your energy into what you are doing now will help alleviate your fears about the future and make you more effective in the present. Living in the moment can be as simple as enjoying the time you must wait for a stop light to turn green. Instead of becoming impatient, use those moments to breathe deeply, relax, and appreciate the sights and sounds around you 
  • Take Action
    Ghandi said, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”  In other words, doing positive things will result in good outcomes more quickly than thinking about them. Next time you’re thinking about taking that walk around the block you’ve been putting off, slip on your sneakers, get outdoors, and start walking! Keep pushing yourself and before you know it, your walk will become a daily habit!
  • Persevere
    Don’t expect changes to happen quickly despite your positive efforts. Continue to follow the positive path you’ve chosen and think of your slips as reminders of your goals. One reason Gandhi was successful in getting others to adopt his nonviolent approach was because he and his followers never gave up being role models for their philosophy. Ghandi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.” Remember that it takes time for the behavioral change you make to become second nature. It also takes time for others to learn about and understand the changes they experience. The longer people are exposed to positive behaviors, the more likely they are to embrace and adopt them
  • Be Genuine
    “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Ghandi believed that aligning your thoughts, words, and actions can help you feel good about yourself and clearly communicate what you think and feel. When what you say and do are the same, people are more likely to listen to you and emulate your positive approach
  • Continue Evolving
    ”Constant development is the law of life. A man who tries to maintain his dogmas drives himself into a false position,” Ghandi reminds us that the world around us is always changing, so we must keep trying to improve our thoughts and actions. Being open to change and considering other perspectives allows you to have a deeper understanding of yourself and others

"Be the change you want to see in the world!"
Mahatma Ghandi

"As you start the New Year, resolve to make positive changes in what you think, say, and do," says Director of the Summit Medical Group Behavioral Health and Cognitive Therapy Center James Korman, PsyD, ACT. "Taking time to be mindful of your thoughts and actions will help you stay focused and calm even in stressful situations," adds Dr. Korman. "If each of us approaches our own thoughts and actions with care, the good effects we share and experience can help make the world around us a better place."

Let our skilled staff at Summit Medical Group Behavioral Health and Cognitive Therapy Center
help you reach your goals for positive thinking and behavior.

Call us today at 908-508-8909.