Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Looking for the Good

You can’t see me by Piez

Some days it’s hard to find something to smile about. Perhaps like me, you’ve been sick for several weeks, hacking, coughing and sneezing, full of aches and pains, and you just don’t feel like yourself.

Maybe the news about the economy, housing market or inflation has you down. Maybe you know friends or family who have lost money or are struggling, and you feel frustrated and angry.

Now is when your attitude is more important than ever. Positive thinking is not an attempt to sugar-coat the negative events in our life, but rather a life boat that lifts us out of troubled water and gives us the time and space needed to access our situation.

Looking for the good takes effort. It takes work and thought to find the positive stories and happy information in your daily news. You must actively participate while you watch TV or read the newspaper. For instance, just yesterday I was pleased to see that 6-year old Cole Puffinburger was returned alive and uninjured after being abducted at gunpoint from his home. That is something to celebrate!

There are other things too. In my local paper there has been news of public library expansions, donations to build new playgrounds, and openings of new businesses and restaurants in the area. The weather report is sunny and cool - great for outdoor trips. Even the return of a favorite TV show can make you smile. There’s always something good if you look for it.

Many experts from Sarah Ban Breathnach to Oprah have praised the far-reaching benefits of a gratitude journal. From helping you count your blessings, to relieving past pleasurable experiences, a gratitude journal is a great tool in the search for the positive and uplifting. If used daily it can focus your attention on the various accomplishments, fun experiences and happiness of everyday life. It can improve your feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment and give you a written record of the good things that surround you.

Looking for the good is worth the effort. If you practice it enough, it becomes a habit, one that will bring you joy and comfort for many years to come. Positive thinking is a skill that allows your mind to break free of the negativity and find peace and serenity in the midst of turmoil.

Like the old saying “this too, shall pass.” Remembering that will help you to savor joys while they last, and give hope when things look bleak. There is always beauty to be found, but we must open our eyes to see it.

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