Thursday, September 26, 2013
don't worry, be happy...
I was reading a post about 'the habits of supremely happy people' several people I know had shared on facebook and it made me think about a the power of positive thinking. Over the last few years various friends of mine realised that many of their facebook updates were moans and groans - mostly probably around the time the 'word clouds' of your most common status words became a popular widget to play with - and decided to make an effort to post positive updates, or at least see the silver lining in the bad times. From what I can gather it has made a difference to how they see their lives, I know it certainly makes a difference to how I feel reading my newsfeed!
Whilst I don't do anything like the 'find one thing every day to be grateful for' and post it online challenge I did have a gratitude journal a few years ago when I was going through a rough time. Each night as I went to bed I wrote down five things to be grateful for that day. Some days it was easy and I could've filled the page, others it was tough going even to get started. I spotted the book that had set me off on this journey on the library shelves this week when shelving and almost borrowed it thinking that maybe I should revisit it and see what other changes I could now bring into my life. The only reason I didn't was the pile of books I already have waiting to be read - some of which need to go back to the library! But it is good to know it is there.
I realised whilst keeping the journal that half the time what got me down was the negative attitudes of those around me. When all you hear are complaints about yourself and other people it is hard to keep positive - the old adage of 'if you can't say something nice say nothing at all' is one that could do with being put into practice more often! It is especially hard if you never or rarely hear the good things about yourself and others, trying to figure out what is expected of you from what isn't appreciated about others is a pretty soul destroying method which also leaves you wondering what complaints are made about you that you don't hear!
Focusing on the good things that happen, especially in times of adversity, certainly makes life more bearable. I've also found that it has made me realise that sometimes the best things that happen seem to occur at the darkest of times. Maybe it is just like a drink when you're parched tasting better than one you didn't really need and it is the adversity that makes it seem better than it would otherwise, but the reason why it feels so good doesn't take away from the pleasure.
When I was in Melborne earlier this year I was trying to remember the name of a film I had watched which featured the work of Masaru Emoto who showed quite graphically the effect of negative images and sounds on water - thankfully Jo could remember it was 'What the bleep do we know?' so I could track it down again. Given how much of our bodies is made up of water is it any wonder that being surrounded by negativity has an impact on us physically, mentally and emotionally?
I do wonder sometimes if the things people do (or don't do!) that seem to cause so much stress for others are often done (or not done...) in ignorance of the impact on others. We're not all mind readers (probably a good thing really) so rather than complain, maybe we just need to be more upfront about asking for what it is that we need in order to have a happier life, not just for ourselves but those around us too.