Don’t forget to say ‘thanks!’ (And praising London)

In Changing life, Happiness, Joy, Positivity, Productivity on July 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm

As I write this post, it’s a brilliantly sunny day in London, which you’ll know has 361 days of rain and grey and 4 days of sun.

Those four days are now.

Rare as the Second Coming.

This makes the tight smiles of people in the city loosen, less rictus grin, more raucous merriment, as everyone loosens up and gives thanks for the fact that the Sun hasn’t completely forgotten a land called the United Kingdom.

On a more personal level my best friend is visiting from Holland for the weekend, I have a few days vacation coming up and the rest of summer is fast approaching. For these things I feel happy.

It got me thinking about the difference in mood when we’re not feeling so happy about life. Sometimes, these really are for genuine reasons. Things that have knocked you for six. Very difficult circumstances. Serious challenges and situations that shake your core.

But quite a bit of the time, I reckon those downer and darker moods are for things less serious. Things that we feel should be going our way, things we want or are pursuing, but things we don’t have.

The gap between ‘desire’ and the reality of not having something is expectation.

Those expectations can drive us off track, off balance and alter our mood to one of frustration rather than appreciation.

However, gratitude for the small and big things in life is a great mood shifter and lifter.

Of course, we all like to whine and moan and bitch about certain things in our day or life. Some of these things are harmless. The crap state of public transport, the weather, the noisy neighbour, the fact that your flatmate or partner leaves dishes in the sink, etcetera, etcetera.

But there are more serious complaints that you can indulge in more often than not.

In the long run, this is poison to appreciating life.

Normally these complaints are preceded by a huff and a puff, a question or comment that isn’t really open-ended, but seeks to prove a negative point, and justify the worst possible perception of life to the person expressing it.

A splurge of low energy drives the list of things that are not right.

The result?

Another step away from a more optimistic frame of mind, another step towards a critical frame of mind.

Gratitude and the expression of gratitude, is a reminder that something good has come your way. That in the randomness of life, it’s unpredictability and surety of change, something nice has touched your life. It’s so easy to do.

Maybe it’s a person, the time they’ve taken with you, the joy they bring into life.

Perhaps it is success at work, or a job well done or an opportunity that has given a new insight or helped improve your life in someway.

Might even be something ridiculously simple as courtesy from another, a smile or a helping hand, the laugh of your child.

It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is the practice of recognising the good things in life more than what isn’t going right.

This helps to develop perspective and less likelihood that you’ll dismiss the good opportunities and possibilities for even more good things that come your way.

A negative approach to seeing daily life only serves to close your eyes to the possibilities or the chance of change.

You stay stuck and hope that things will change without having the belief that they can if all you see is doom and gloom.

A broken record produces a cacophony of noise. An unbroken record produces beautiful music and brings pleasure so that the listener wants to hear it again and again. Don’t be a broken record. Deeply unattractive.

And sometimes, cliched as it is, sometimes the bad stuff that has taken place in life is also, after a good time for healing, something to be grateful for, if its made you a bit stronger and taught you something valuable about the reality of living. Not everything is. I don’t subscribe to that view. Sometimes the scars do not heal and sometimes what’s happened to a person has no value whatsoever.

But luckily, there are a lot of opportunities every day to find something good to hang onto and lift your mood, raise your energy and shape your attitude in a positive way.

For me, more recently when I look at news and hear about conflicts, or read about some crackpot tyrant or institution that wants to dictate how one should live life or who you should be I am deeply grateful Iive in a city like London (and being a Londoner of course I think it’s the best city on the planet) in a culture that is extremely tolerant, a little eccentric and I do not have to worry that a bomb is falling on my head. For whatever twist of fate led me to live here, when if my parents could have made different decisions in the past, I am grateful.

So think about the good things in your life. The privilege of being able to experience joyful moments, not just tough times, and express gratitude for them. Life is richer and fuller for it.


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