My son woke up recently and exclaimed ‘So much to look forward to!’ From the outside at least, there was nothing special about this particular day. He had to go to school and the weather outside was miserable. But in his mind, the promise of a new day was imbued with wonder. It held that special notion: the possibility of something new. The positivity of his attitude made me in turn feel quite elated. That ability to shift the way someone else is thinking is such a precious gift.
Lately I’ve been contemplating a lot about positive thinking, and the way that thoughts, feelings and emotions can influence both our mental health and any physical issues we may have. For the best part of a year now I have been suffering from a post-infection chronic fatigue type illness. Undoubtedly it has affected my inner compass, my overall happiness and my mood.
Despite this, I try to remain a very positive person. I know that nothing has ever been gained for me by being any other way. I like smiling and I like being nice to people – it makes me feel good. When I complain a lot or talk in a negative manner I know it just ends up making me feel a whole lot worse.
I think my kids have already learnt this lesson, and we encourage each other to find the positive in situations or perhaps seek out a lesson they can teach us. One of my sons was very morose about Halloween being over recently so we talked about trying to be happy that we had such a great time rather than dwelling on it being done. Of course there are situations in life for which there is just no upside, no lesson to be found – I get that. But I do believe that wherever possible, finding that silver lining makes the difficult times a little less hard to bear.
One of the things we ask each other at dinner is ‘tell me three good things that happened today?’ It gets us chatting and helps us focus on all the good things in our lives. Although we don’t go to church often, it reminds me a little of the feeling I had when I was a child and gave thanks each night in a prayer at bedtime. It is a very simple way of being grateful every single day.
Positivity and gratitude also have such a ripple effect on others – just look at the way my son’s positivity completely changed my mood in the example at the start. Being positive also leads, I believe, to an open heart and kindness.
There is so much to look forward to. Isn’t that the truth?