Staying Positive When It’s Negative
We’ve been living through a terrible time. Last week, Quickbooks Canada invited an Edusity representative to attend their Quickbooks Connect virtual event. Not surprisingly, there were sessions devoted to the necessity of having a positive outlook on life.
Neil Pasricha, author of the Happiness Equation, spoke at the conference. Neil told his own story about losing his marriage and his best friend to suicide within a few hours. He was broken with stress and worry that he had to do something. Neil started reading all the research on happiness and his book started as a letter to his unborn child who he learned was coming while on the airplane back from his honeymoon with his second wife.
Two practical exercises to encourage happiness in our own lives stand out from the presentation.
The first is what Neil calls the “check up from the neck up.” He emphasizes the absolute necessity of checking in with your family, your friends, your colleagues and clients about how they are doing in terms of mental health, resilience and flexibility. If they are grieving or depressed, you need to know so you can help them. If they are managing or coping, then you need to know how so you can use their techniques and methods!
The second tool is call the “Two-Minute Morning Practice.” It emphasizes releasing negativity, gratitude and goal setting. The practice demands writing down three sentences immediately after waking each morning:
“I will let go of…” is the start of a sentence that describes the past hurts, circumstances or attitudes that are a barrier to happiness.
“I am grateful for…” begins a statement of gratitude for a circumstance, event, object or person who represents a happy thought or feeling you are glad to have.
“I will focus on…” moves toward the central point of concentration for the morning, or even the day. It might be focusing on the positive in general, it might be a goal to give other people 10 compliments by the end of the day.
The most important element of these two exercises is that they are manageable. There is no demand that we all become happy as clowns from the moment we begin. They are both just small accomplishments that train our brains to have a positive outlook and invite happiness to take hold.
These small steps will not resolve all the tragedies and issues the pandemic has wrought, but they will start to lead us away from negative times toward a more positive future.