One of the techniques taught by positive psychology is to focus on what you have now and appreciate it, rather than focussing on what you don’t have, and feeling deficient. By satisfying ourselves with what we have now and where we are in our individual lives now, we relieve the stress and the panic and the negativity that is often coupled with thoughts of what we want or where we feel we should be. We find contentment and we move forward with a sense of capability rather than fear of failure, thus being more likely to achieve what we set out to do.
That’s the theory anyway.
Admittedly, when your eyes are swollen shut from weeping, your cheeks blotchy and resembling Victoria Falls and your frizzy hair is sticking out in all directions, it can be hard to focus on being happy about everything that is good about your life (particularly if there is a mirror in the vicinity because you get to add “hideous” to the mental list of reasons why you are NOT happy at that particular moment). Truth be told, whilst I have been actively working on focusing on the positive rather than the negative, I am by no means very adept at it.
Imagine my surprise then, when The Crush first revealed to me a couple of months ago that one of the things he thought was so attractive about me, was my positive attitude! At first I thought he was pulling my leg, but he seemed genuine. I think I know what made him think that though, it was probably the conversation we had about me having effectively ‘two Mondays’ every week. Monday and Wednesday. Wednesday feels like Monday because I work in a different office Wednesday-Friday (same company though) and I’m often exhausted by the flights and the 18-20 hour days on Monday and Tuesday. Yet this particular day that I found myself yabbering away to him on the plane, I was perhaps a little overly chipper for someone who has to suffer through two Mondays every week, and who on this particular day, still had one more Monday to look forward to. I put it down to sleep deprivation, the euphoria of planning to move into my own house and the two cups of strong black coffee I had just consumed “but I love my job anyway” I chirped away “and the upside to having two “Mondays” every week, is that they are obviously short weeks! Haha” (groan).
No wonder he thought I had a positive attitude, I’m pretty sure I could not have appeared more “in love with life” that day if someone had slipped a bit of “happy juice” into my coffee! The fact that he found that level of chipperness attractive at 6am on a Monday morning is a whole other issue, and probably speaks volumes of his own level of sanity.
The funny thing is that now whenever I start feeling negative (particularly if the negativity is related to him), I remember his comment, and I find myself trying to prove him right.
Oh I still have my waily, whiney moments (as anyone who reads this blog would be only too well aware), but when I have those moments now I find myself actively trying to find something about the situation that is not negative, and if I can’t find anything positive in the situation, I find myself trying to just feel happy about my life as a whole, rather than using one bad situation as an excuse to highlight everything else that is not going well.
It doesn’t always work, sometimes the “down” thoughts get the better of me and I wind up having a “meh” day, or sometimes, whilst I might acknowledge that things aren’t so bad and I’m perhaps been a tad childish, I still go ahead and act childish anyway because clearly when I’m whiney, I become petulant.
Maybe if I continue using this technique I will one day be able to stop the negative thoughts before they grab hold. Perhaps my private hissy fits will diminish and expire.
One can only hope, and hope is positive, right?!
Until then, there is Valerian Forte to get me through the really tough moments (along with homemade Nutella consumed neat, as IMO, chocolate and bread should never be combined).
Before I go I must make mention of a remarkable blog I stumbled across recently. If anyone has the right to launch a hissy fit of immense proportions, it’s Myra. Yet she still manages to be optimistic, see the funny side and use it to brighten the days of others by writing about it.
Plus, she has a rescue dog, and I really like that about her.
Read, laugh and be inspired: