I was in the elevator this morning talking with someone in my building. We were saying how all of a sudden it has gotten so cold and fall has arrived for sure. She responded, “ tell me about it! Way to soon. I knew it was too good to last.” To which I responded, “ Well, at least we have the seasons so we can appreciate it all when it comes again!” She laughed and told me I was a girl who looks at the cup half full not half empty and she will come to me when she needs a boost. It got me thinking about how we do look at our lives. Am I an eternal optimist? Maybe, or maybe I have learned a few things by using my positive psychology tools. Some that come to mind are:
- Watch your thoughts and your words. You are in control of your brain and what you are thinking about and talking about. Check in with yourself every once in awhile. Am I only saying negative things? Am I beating myself up with my own internal dialogue on a daily basis? Or when things go low I go high (to reference some political talk that is happening right now.) We are living in a time when there is a lot of negative speech going on. You have a choice to either join it or choose a higher path. Which do you choose?
- Reframing a situation is one way to begin to look at things with a new lens. Is there another side of the coin that you can look at? Can we think of another way of expressing ourselves about a situation? By reframing we are not negating a situation or unpleasant feelings but we are choosing to move our experience from a negative lens to a more hopeful one, one filled with possibilities and opportunities. By using this tool of reframing we are less likely to fall into moods of pessimism, hopelessness, and resentment. By reframing a situation our mood changes to a more optimistic, uplifting, growth oriented one.
- One last tool, which is my go to at all times, is gratitude. In order to keep our cup half full rather than half empty we can always go into gratitude. Whenever you are in a negative spiral of some sort or another try stopping for a moment, taking a deep breath and letting out a real ahhhh or sigh and thinking wait a minute, what am I grateful for right here right now? This will immediately put you into a new mindset where you can focus on what is going well rather than what is going wrong.
So as John Cabot Zinn says: