Do you have expressions like this that you say in response to things that happen in your life? I find myself saying things like this all the time, whether it’s when something not ideal happens, or when someone asks me how I’m doing.
And while they aren’t overtly negative expressions, they don’t channel positive energy. And you know what? I don’t have a terrific day when my response to “How are you?” is “Hanging in there.”
What you say can definitely influence how you feel and how you experience the world.
Have you met people who seem to always be smiling and having a great day? When you ask them how they are, what do they say? Probably something like “Terrific” or “Couldn’t be better” or “Fantastic!”
Do you think they lead a charmed life? I bet they wrestle with the same kinds of problems that everyone else does, but their outlook allows them to see challenges or opportunities instead of difficulties.
I am conducting an experiment this week, just to test my theory that how you think and talk about your world can influence your experience of it.
While I am not typicallyl a negative person, I do have moments when I sink into less than positive response mode. So for two days so far this week, I have been hyper-vigilant about my language and how I react to even the simplest setback like multiple interruptions when I am focused on working on a project, or hitting all the red lights on the way to work.
Amazingly, I have had a great week so far! Already in just two days I have been more productive and in a much better mood, even though I’ve dealt with the same kinds and number of issues that I do in a typical week. But I realized that approaching the day with an expectation of a positive outcome, instead of just getting through the day, leads to more energy and focus.
By smiling and saying “I’m great today” when greeted by my co-workers, I channel optimism that then leads to a great day. I think I also left them guessing what kind of special vitamins or coffee drink I had had!
What surprised me was the level of focus I have been able to maintain, I suppose because when I got interrupted or when something wasn’t quite right, I didn’t waste any mental energy either berating myself or complaining (even internally) about the situation. I just dealt with it and went on like nothing had happened. I pictured myself as completely composed and unflappable!
This week is about genuinely staying focused on thinking positive thoughts and surrounding myself with affirmations. It is not automatic at all, and I have caught myself several times thinking negative thoughts – for instance, about an hour before my run the first day, I heard thunder. My immediate reaction was to think “Rats. That’s not good, I will have to go to the gym.” As soon as I realized what I had done, I turned it around to thinking that at least it was an hour before I needed to head out, and possibly the storm would have passed by then so as not to affect my run.
Also I had the alternative of the gym so that I wouldn’t have to completely miss a workout. The elliptical at the gym might be better so that I get some cross training since I need to be doing that anyway. In another example of negativity, I call the elliptical machine at the gym the “emonster” – what a powerful influence on my experience of it.
By the time I was ready to run, the rain had stopped and I even witnessed the beautiful sunrise pictured above! What a blessing!
I am not advocating a Pollyanna view of the world, but after just a short experiment, I am convinced that my language and base reactions can influence the outcome of my day.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Charles R. Swindoll
In my experience, each time I approach a situation as neutral or in a positive mindset, it strengthens my resolve and the next time it is easier to see it as a positive. Optimism layered upon optimism makes for a good day. When I start looking at everything coming at me as a problem, I sink down into a spiral of negativity that is hard to climb back out of. I’d rather see the positives and ride that spiral up!
I am excited about the prospects of the rest of this week and going forward with my new positive attitude.
So now my question for you – how will you approach your day?