Focus on the Little Joys
That One Friend…
So, we all have that one friend…every time we see them or talk to them, they don’t have anything positive to say. If you ask them, “How are you?” You will get a laundry list of everything that’s going sideways in their life. I have such a friend (a few of them actually). I used to think, Wow! That sure is a lot of negative stuff to remember.
They must really have to focus on all of that to remember it all the time. No wonder they are always disgruntled and exhausted with life. It was exhausting for me and all I am doing is listening to it, so I could totally understand how they are so exhausted all the time.
Let Go of the Negative
I took a look at my own life and realized that I do that sometimes too. I had to let go of all that negative stuff or I was never going to be happy. But how? How was I going to let that stuff go???
I did some research and I discovered that we are evolutionarily built to remember ALL the bad stuff. It is in our genetic code! In caveman times, if we saw a cave with a bear in it…we NEEDED to remember that bad stuff or we would get eaten by the bear. Flash forward to today…we don’t need it so much anymore. We aren’t likely to get eaten by a bear…but we are still remembering all of the bad stuff that happens to us every single day. I also found out that if we want to remember the good stuff…we have to work at it.
But how? How do we work to remember the good stuff??? So, I searched high and low for tools. I have found some really amazing tools for this and they have worked well for me and my clients.
The Amazing 5 Tools to Focus on the Little Joys :
The first tool is the journaling. I journal every night before I go to bed. (If this isn’t a good time you can do it whenever it fits into your day. I have several clients who do it first thing in the morning, because it fits better for them and it starts their day off right.) When I journal, I make it a point to write down all the things that went well as well as the things that didn’t go so well in a day. If it is helpful for you…you can write them in bullet points.
I am always surprised how much goes right in my day that I didn’t even remember until I journal about it. When I do bullet points, the good side is almost always longer than the not so good side. This practice really helps to solidify in my mind all the good things that I have going on at any given time.
Another wonderful tool, that I use myself and with clients, is mindfulness. Now, I am not a fan of mindfulness for mindfulness’s sake, but with a purpose, mindfulness is so useful to me. Mindfulness by definition is a state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations or the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
3-Stay in the Moment
Mindfulness does at least 2 things for me and my clients. It helps us to stay in the moment we are in right now, which keeps us from living in the past or the future. AND, it gives us the opportunity to sense and feel how things are actually going at that moment. When I give this assignment to my clients I have them set a reminder in their phone several times a day to practice mindfulness (or to stop and be in the present moment).
My clients stop and become aware of their surroundings at this moment. I can almost guarantee them that at that moment they become aware…they will start off agitated, but there will be something that happens at that moment that can turn it around. If they use their senses they will sense or notice something positive at that moment (if they look for it).
I know one of the things that always catches my eye when I practice mindfulness in nature. I can be driving and so frustrated with traffic or being late or whatever. I’ll look over and there will be the most amazing sunrise or sunset out the window. A bird might fly by, or a butterfly. It could be the sunlight coming through the trees in a certain way, it can be animals that I see – a fox, a deer, a rabbit. I realize at that moment that if I hadn’t stopped and focused on the good … I would have never seen any of it.
5-Little Joys Add Up
These little things, I have found, bring me joy. Sometimes it can be in the house though. We watch a movie at least one night a week usually Thursdays or Fridays. I can look over at my son and my dog while we are watching a movie together and just be filled with love, I feel for them. Even if I am frustrated or upset, because my son wants to talk through the whole movie, or my dog is begging me to play with him and I want to watch the movie.
We will just be sitting there on the couch and I will become mindful of the situation. I will look closely at them, I will listen to my son’s voice, ruffle his hair, and just relish the love that I feel for them at that moment. I have found that it is the simple things…the little joys in life that when I make it a point to focus on these little joys in life that I am suddenly relaxed and happy. The angst, anxiety, stress, or frustration I was feeling before just melts away.
As I practice journaling and mindfulness, it comes to me easily. I feel joy much more of the time. When people ask me how I am doing…I can honestly say…I am doing awesome! And I mean it too when I tell them I am doing awesome!
Why do you think the ‘negative people are negative? Do you think their life is really that bad or do you think they could find some simple joys in their lives as well? Have you experienced little joy in your life?
If you enjoyed this blog I think you may like my blog about How to Shift in Perspective from Lack to Abundance?