Updated: Jan 16, 2022
As Daniel H. Gillison, Chief Executive Officer at the National Alliance on Mental Health said, "Mental habits are just as important as physical habits." The mental habit of seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty is a practice. During these time where doom, gloom and violence are staples in the media, we can easily lose perspective and begin thinking that our society is a lost cause and going crazy. While I admit that aspects are crazy, we have to remember all the good that's also happening around us.
I'm fortunate to work in the nonprofit sector where I get to meet people who have dedicated their lives to serving the others in our communities. So, I'm constantly reminded of how good people can be. Nevertheless, it still takes intention to choose to look at the bright side of life and to find something good in every situation. To help us do this, here are 5 mental habits to keep us focused on the bright side of life.
1. Look for the helpers - Mister Rogers' mom taught him this as a child to help him cope with tragedies. When the mass shooting at Sandy Hook occurred, I read an article that featured this quote and I've remembered it ever since. Now, I intentionally look for the helpers in cases where viewing tragedy on screen can overwhelm.
2. Look for ways to serve - What can we do to help? Is there anything we can do to alleviate another's suffering, even a little bit? Can we make a donation? Can we send food? Sometimes, all we can do is say a prayer. Even that can help.
3. Look for the lesson - What can we learn from our experiences? Lessons are there if we are willing to look beyond the surface of "blame."
4. Look for what didn't happen - A family member and a friend were recently involved in car accidents. Besides being hurt and having to go to physical therapy to mitigate pain, everyone walked away. In many collisions, someone dies or gets paralyzed.
5. Look for the opportunity - Numerous nonprofits sprout from tragedies. People make major changes in their lives when they receive tough news related to their health so they make decisions like quitting work, moving to another country, or overhauling their diet. A situation that we deem as negative could turn into something positive if we look for the opportunity.
The next time something unfortunate happens empathize then look on the bright side.
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