Looking on the bright side of life
Posted on 8th August 2018 at 07:45
It’s interesting how certain blog posts seem to really hit the spot with people and spark some rather animated – for want of a better word (!) – conversations. The one a couple of weeks ago is a great example of this, where we suggested looking at what was happening in your life to see what you’d been focussing on recently.
Not surprisingly, many of the reactions were defensive. How we didn’t understand what was happening in their lives / what they’d been through / how their life was / fill in the blank.
Sadly, by seeing it as criticism, they completely missed the point.
All we were offering was a new piece of information. And, as with ALL pieces of information, it’s up to each person to do with it as they will.
The trick is being open minded enough to look at it objectively; rather than immediately dismissing it because it offers a different perspective on life.
If it resonates with you – in other words, feels “right” or “true” – then use it.
If it doesn’t, then don’t.
If you’re not sure, then wait until it feels “right” to go one way or the other.
It really is that simple.
While we’re always ready to look for EXTERNAL reasons why our lives aren’t the way we’d like them to be, the – often – unpalatable truth is that we’re each responsible for our own life. We each create our own little heaven on earth or, too often, our own living hell.
So, if your life isn’t going in the direction you would like – or you’re not achieving the results you expected – despite all your best efforts; then this is a sure sign that some adjustments are needed. The good news is that making one small change is enough to get things moving, with its effects rippling out into your life as a whole.
One great way of doing this is to change your focus, as the title of this blog post suggests, to only looking on the bright side of life. Only focussing on the things that feel good.
Does this mean that you’re going to adopt a Pollyanna’ish “tra la la la la” approach to life?
Well, no. Just that you’re going to CHOOSE to focus on the positives rather than the negatives IN EVERY SITUATION. You’ll be aware that the negatives are still there, you just won’t give them any of your precious time and attention.
Going back to the example we used previously, of rabbits in the garden, it means that you’re simply choosing not to give them any of your attention. Not seeing the plants they’ve nibbled, holes they’ve dug or any other signs that they’ve been spending time in your garden.
Instead what you will see are the plants that are growing well, the intact – if not immaculate (!) – lawn, how good your garden looks overall. And, as you do so, you’re saying “yes” to having a great garden by ONLY seeing it as you’d like it to be. No longer wasting any of your precious time or energy on it being bunny armageddon...
Or what about when you’re feeling under the weather and sorry for yourself? Instead of focussing on how bad you feel and telling everyone about it in gruesome detail – which only makes things worse – you choose to focus on the opposite.
That you’re ok, it’s not as bad as it could have been and you’re getting over it very quickly. In fact you’re almost back to your normal self already! And, if you’d like an added incentive, research has found that a positive attitude not only speeds recovery but reduces the severity of symptoms too.
Let’s do another. Say you’re stuck in a traffic jam. Would focussing on the traffic, how long you’ve been there and all the time wasted make you feel good? No.
So what about the fact that the traffic is actually moving – albeit it slowly (!) – that you’re listening to your favourite show on the radio and the sun is shining?
Whatever the situation you find yourself in, there is ALWAYS a positive to focus on IF you look for it. And, yes, sometimes you have to really look for it BUT it’s always there. In those cases, a mindset of “I’ll find it if it’s the last thing I do” can help and we’ll guarantee that you’ll smile to yourself when you do (!).
There’s a great game we play with clients to help foster this more positive, “glass half full” mindset. Quite simply, it’s to find at least 5 small things each day to be grateful for. And the emphasis here is on small. In other the things it’d be easy to overlook but which you can still feel happy about. Things like:
The sun was shining through the curtains when I woke up.
My favourite song was on the radio.
I heard a great joke.
I was sent a lovely photo.
I talked to someone I haven’t spoken to for ages.
My dog actually came back to me when I called them (!).
My boss said “well done.”
Someone actually made the coffee for a change (!).
My partner did the washing up.
You get the idea. If you’re still struggling, play it with a friend or family member, taking it in turns to come up with things. It’s fun and we guarantee you’ll have a laugh in the process! And, like all games, you’ll get better at it each time you play it…
As always, the choice is yours.
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