Years of watching the news each night, to listening to the radio or listening to friends discussing their daily problems, has trained us to see only the bad and not so much of the good.
Good ‘news’ doesn’t sell; we’re addicted to negativity and it’s time to train ourselves to start seeing all the good around us.
I was speaking to a friend the other day who was struggling to find things in his life to be thankful for. I used the following analogy: if a homeless boy in the slums of India can find something to smile about, then surely the rest of us in the first world have got something to be thankful for too.
It’s all about perception. We create it. We can choose to see the world or our life as difficult or problematic. Or we can choose to see it differently. I choose to see the world as a place of endless opportunity; a place filled with laughter and warm feelings towards the people that matter most. This is the world I want to introduce to my son.
On the weekend, I created a Facebook group for 15 or so participants that required each member to post a daily gratitude post. The objective was to train the participants to see just how much they have to be thankful for and in turn create a positive outlook.
Now, gratitude posts have some science behind it; gratitude comes from the same frontal regions of the brain that are activated by awe and wander. From these cortical and limbic structures come dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals for feeling good inside.
In one comparative experiment, folks that kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
It’s a simple practice, why not give it a go, you’ll thank me for it.