I once had a man say to me, “I try not to ever be too happy because when I’m disappointed, and I will be, I don’t have far to fall.”
A woman said to me, “I always know that people will hurt me. I asked her how that made her feel and she said it felt good to always right.” I asked her if she was happy and she said no.
I once asked a grim faced friend how it was going and he said, “when I woke up this morning, I said damn!”
This is just a few examples of what I hear from people that are sad, angry and miserable all the time. They are so invested in the negativity that it’s all they experience and therefore all they know. Sadly, it’s now all they expect. They want to feel better and live a better life yet they expect when they try, that they will fail at that too.
We live in a negative energy seeking society. The news seeks out scandal and disruption. There are more television shows about, betrayal, murders, disasters and the darker side of life then there is about happy relationships, success, and togetherness. The commercials even use fear or lack to get you to buy their product. The internet, and social media is riddled with gossip and the misfortune or others. The point is that negative images and messages are available any and everywhere if choose them.
Choice. Ahh. That is the key. You have a choice. Each day you awake, you get to choose how your day is going to be. When you wake up in the morning, do you say damn or thank you? Do you expect people to hurt you or respect and love you? Do you plan to be happy even if you experience a disappointment?
Breaking the pattern of gloomy living starts with choice. Choose the lighter side of life by flipping the switch, changing the channel or thinking up. In Joel Osteen’s book, You Can. You Will, he talks about a study that was done on memory. He said that negative and positive memories are stored in two different places in the brain and that negative memories took more space because it requires more processing. This is why it is easier to remember the bad things that happened to you more so than the good. Many good things happen and we don’t appreciate or process them.
Here are some tips to help you remember the good things and create more of them to live a lighter happier life.
Celebrate small successes. Whatever they are, make a big deal out of them. Set goals for yourself, yet instead of waiting until the end to rejoice, celebrate alone the way. It makes the journey so much sweeter.
When you reach your goals, write them down in a journal. Take photos and actually post them somewhere outside of your phone. Put your certificates, awards and diplomas up so you can see them. Frame the first dollar you ever made as a business owner. Write the number of Girl Scout cookies you sold with your daughter, put it in a frame to hang for you both to see. The way kids feel when you acknowledge their achievements you can feel the same way when you acknowledge your own achievements.
Recognize the good you’ve done, even if you haven’t totally met your goal. Think of failure as feedback on what can be tweaked or learned, or changed. Celebrate the effort and give yourself credit for being courageous and taking action.
Expect the best to happen to you. Choose the best expectations and believe that you deserve it. For some that are used to living a gloomy life, this may be the most difficult. I implore you to try it for a week. Wake up and say, “thank you. It’s going to be a good day.” Expect that each person you meet will be friendly and helpful. Expect to win something or get something good in the mail. Changing your mental expectations, changes your energy. Everyone around you will feel it and will want to be part of it. More good things in turn will begin to happen to you.
Smile for no reason. Smile while getting dressed in the morning. Smile while you are driving in your car or while commuting. Smile at people to say hello. Just bust out into a smile or a laugh. Allow that energy to fill you. The endorphins you produce my smiling will transform your gloom into happy useful energy.
Choose uplifting music, movies and books to read. Change the channel from gloomy news to a cartoon or a vacation home show. Find something funny. Be mindful of the lyrics in the songs you listen to. Choose the ones about hope and happiness. Love and encouragement. Choose things on the internet or social media that teach, up life and make you better somehow.
Flip that switch to up and forget the buts. The old gloomy you may have dwelled in the “what if”, fears and always had a “but” to insert after a good suggestion. Flip the switch to on and shine light on the gloom. Allow the what if’s to become something wonderful. For example, what if something good happens? What if you succeed? What if someone smiles back? What if everything works out?... you get the point. Just as you can choose a negative ending for your “what if”, you can choose a positive outcome as well. Forget the buts altogether. They don’t matter when you when the switch is on and the light is bright.
What you choose to fill your life with each day determines how your life will play out each day. If you want to chase away the gloomy living, start replacing some of your choices wit