by Carmen Greger
Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Our perspective, and the way we choose to see our circumstances, has a significant impact on the quality of our lives and the level of joy, satisfaction and purpose within them.
On one level of positive psychology practices and approach, as a health and peak performance coach, I have witnessed the profoundly positive impact that a simple shift can make in my clients’ attitudes, energy and achievements. As a general rule, if ever one says ‘I can’t….. (insert a plethora of things – do 25 pushups, run a 5k, drink a gallon of water per day, journal every morning, meditate every night, etc.)’, then the addition of a ‘yet’ is mandatory at the end of that sentence. It works wonders. It gives hope. It opens new doors of potential and possibility. It offers patience and presence and a sense of progress, not perfection. It eliminates analysis paralysis. It reduces the sense of overwhelm and failure. It motivates and encourages consistency and self-respect. High Fives all around. It gets the job done and done well. One simple word. YET.
Would you consider yourself an idealist, an optimist, a realist or a pessimist? As we age, experience and evolve, it seems we eventually straddle most of these categories, although please make sure to steer clear of the pessimism, it’s toxic and self-perpetuating, like a bad disease (read often as dis-ease, more on that another time!).
There are countless other ways to shift out of negative thought patterns and immediately create a more positive experience. A vital and very easily implemented technique is to have an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’. Appreciation for your blessings, including necessities like food and housing, dear friends and family, excellent health as well as conveniences and comforts will focus and amplify a sense of abundance rather than lack, and what we focus on, we eventually get more of, it’s like feeding our circumstances the proper nourishment to produce healthier, happier results in the long run. For example, oftentimes in a class I teach called RESULTS, after training, targeting and toning the right leg, often to a healthy depletion, there are occasionally some grunts and moans from the newbie athletes who haven’t yet heard one of my go-to phrases ‘just be thankful that you have another leg to work with, some people unfortunately don’t’.
perhaps it’s a challenge to get up on Monday morning to go to a currently unfulfilling job, one that is a far cry from what you had hoped your career would be at this point. First, take a deep breath and choose again. How can you make this day fulfilling while at work? Can you focus on the comradery and connection with your fellow employees? Can you see the smile you put on your customer’s face when you complemented the necklace that her daughter made for her? Can you ground in gratitude and embrace that you have a job now that puts food on your table, gas in your tank and clothes on your back and the time to figure out how you can mindfully take the proper steps to either morph this position into your dream job or create a responsible exit strategy as you finally and simultaneously begin your long-awaited job search?
perhaps you’re a student not thrilled for the end of Summer as the first day of your Junior year arrives. Can you instead remember what a gift a good education is and give it all you’ve got? So many people in the world are starving for academics and would never take the opportunity for granted or complain about the stress and ‘inconvenience’.
perhaps the jovial food runner at the amazing, yet understaffed restaurant placed your meal proudly before you and the filet mignon was accompanied by your second-choice salad, rather than the first. Seeing the server buzzing around gleefully, like a bee pollinating the flowers, thrilled to be catering to everyone’s needs, creating a perfect harmony within the chaos, can you just take a deep breath, smile and enjoy your second-choice salad? Perhaps it was meant to be that you eat the beets and goat cheese instead of the bacon and blue cheese, anyway.
perhaps you’re at your favorite park and you see a small trail of garbage against the otherwise pristine back-lay, that could easily spoil your spirits if you let it, but instead of turning an agitated eye and going down that rabbit hole of judgment on how inconsiderate and wasteful people are, thus adding more toxicity to the situation, could you instead just take a deep breath, redirect, pick up the trash, dispose of it properly, give yourself a pat on the back that you didn’t leave it there for someone else to experience and manage, and enjoy the rest of your afternoon knowing that you chose the higher path and are now vibrating at a higher frequency. Yay, You!
These situations and suggestions are certainly not intended to instill any passivity, lethargy, avoidance, denial, or even a lack of motivation or total satisfaction. Quite the opposite. I’m guessing that most people on the planet have heard some version of Gandhi’s quote: ‘Be the (positive) Change you Wish to See in the World’. I dare you.
If you want to see positivity, be it. If you want to see negativity… well, please choose again, and fast. Just remember that we are all drops of water in the ocean, that we are all grains of sand in the desert, that we are all cells of one living, breathing organism, our society, and that who we are, how we act and how we show up in the world has a collective impact.
Be a part of the ripple effect, not the domino effect. Elevate yourself, your perspective, your attitude, and your actions. Choose positivity. Choose to see the glass as half full and maybe even go and fill someone else’s glass. Witness the difference you can and will make. Be the inspiration, spread the good word and encourage others to do the same.
We would love to hear your stories on how being aware of and proactively elevating your mindset to a higher level of optimism and positivity has impacted you, your family, your environment and your community.