Well, can you believe it? We are already in October. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. As we enter this amazing season I wanted to make sure we are mentally and emotionally prepared to enjoy it to the fullest extent.
Today, I want to share with you the importance of focusing on the good in your life. As a therapist I know beginning in October and going all the way until February or March, many people struggle with “seasonal depression.” In a world where violence, injustice, and despair seem to be everywhere according to news reports and social media, it becomes easier to expect bad outcomes rather than good ones. When someone is alone during the holidays or if they have experienced the loss of a loved one during this time, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to remain positive in the midst of so much negativity and sadness. While no one is exempt from life’s difficulties, we can choose to focus on the good and remain hopeful that better days are coming. With enough intention and practice, you can train your mind to look for the positive even in the worst situations. Ladies, today we will explore the benefits of paying attention to the positive aspects of life, the harmful effects of dwelling on the bad, and how to focus more on the good.
Why is it important to focus on the good?
It’s no surprise that positive thinking has a lot of positive effects on your life. Research suggests that those who choose to focus on the good adapt better to stressful situations. In addition to increasing your mental resilience, concentrating on the positive aspects of a difficult situation can boost your immune system. A study on cell-mediated immunity in law students suggests that focusing on the positive can lead to stronger immunity. Students who paid more attention to the aspects of their lives that were going well displayed a stronger immune response to a flu vaccine than those with a more pessimistic outlook.
The Downside of Dwelling on the Bad
We understand that it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by sudden tragedy, trauma, or heartbreak. You are allowed to feel distressed by the bad things that happen to you. However, you shouldn’t belittle your pain and struggles, but it’s not a good idea to dwell on them either. Another study on university students reveals that those who tend to see the bad in any given situation are also more likely to have anxiety and depression. Ladies, here are 7 tips to help you train your mind to focus on the good.
1. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude regularly is one of the easiest ways to condition your mind to focus on the good regardless of the different situations surrounding you. When you intentionally identify things to be grateful for each day, you’re unintentionally making an inventory of all the goodness around you. If you’re hoping to integrate more gratitude into your daily routine, consider the following tips to stay more consistent with this beneficial practice:
· Set aside some time every day to write down at least 3 good things that happened to you.
· Practice gratitude at the same time each day. I suggest at the beginning of your day to start your day off right and at the end of your day as part of your nighttime routine.
· Place your gratitude journal somewhere highly visible like your bedside table or office desk.
2. See the good in others
There is no shortage of good people in this world. When you choose to believe (it is a choice) that most people want to do good, your mind starts to gather evidence to support this belief. When you make it a habit of searching for good qualities in others, you tend to have more positive interactions. This allows you to form new bonds with other people more easily while enhancing the quality of your existing relationships.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
As social and empathetic beings, the people we spend the most time with tend to rub off on us. They have the power to influence our moods, our opinions, and even our outlook on life. You’ve probably noticed before how your mood shifts when you’re around a friend who is sad or depressed or a family member who loves to complain about everything. Surrounding yourself with people who try their best to focus on the good makes it much easier for you to do the same.
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with". Jim Rohn
4. Seek out good news and wholesome stories
Bad news sells. This is why horrifying and tragic headlines tend to dominate news outlets worldwide. However, just because major news broadcasts and publications fail to report good news as much as the bad doesn’t mean good things don’t happen all the time. You might just need to look a little bit harder to find it. There is a network called “Good News Network”. It is a news site specifically dedicated to counteracting all the bad news on mainstream media with some positive stories. Filling your mind and spirit with uplifting content is a good antidote to all the negative events happening around you or directly to you. It also serves as a wonderful reminder that goodness is more common than we think.
5. Recognize your good qualities
In addition to purposely seeking external examples of goodness, it’s essential to acknowledge your good qualities. Far too many of us have negative loud inner critics who love to point out our flaws and worst mistakes. This often creates a negative view of ourselves and a false narrative that we deserve the bad things that come our way. It’s almost impossible to have a positive outlook on life if you have a negative relationship with yourself. If you want to focus on all the good this life has to offer, then it has to start with yourself.
Here are a few exercises to help you discover and focus on your best qualities:
· Practice positive self-talk. Speak kindly to yourself even when you mess up. I am consistently telling my clients that shame, blame, and guilt help no one.
· Commend yourself for your good deeds and acts of kindness no matter how small. Did you buy your co-worker a cup of coffee this morning? How nice of you! Did you compliment a stranger? That’s amazing!
· Try saying affirmations out loud and write them down. The more you repeat these positive declarations to yourself, the more it will become ingrained in your mind.
6. Live in the present
One of the best ways to rid your mind of negativity is to simply be in the present moment. Ruminating thoughts about past painful experiences and your anxiety about the future often get in the way of positive thinking. To focus on the good, you must try your best to concentrate on living in the present.
"If you were conscious, that is to say totally present in the Now, all negativity would dissolve almost instantly. It could not survive in your presence". Eckhart Tolle
Practicing mindfulness allows you to become more self-aware of any negative thought patterns and shifts your mind towards good thoughts instead. It also reduces anxiety and stress that could hinder you from seeing all the good things in your life.
As many of you may remember I have always said of the 5 components of emotional intelligence, self-awareness is my favorite. I have grown to love living my life in the present and being aware of what I do and say, not only to others but to myself as well. I schedule moments in my day to just sit quietly and think. I think about how I handled a situation or an encounter with someone. I think about funny things that my grandson has said or done when he spent the night with me. I really love thinking and making myself aware of all the many blessings God has given me and how he has been with me in so many situations in my life. It just makes my heart grateful. I encourage you to try it, I am sure you will like it. So, ladies let’s prepare ourselves for this beautiful holiday season and start now focusing on the good.
Love and Blessings,
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