Given all the tumultuous events of late in health care, politics, economics and our great uncertain future right now - you name it! - I’d like to help you work further on encouraging intentional thinking so that you remain positive in potentially stressful situations, maintain hope during the bumpy ride we’ll all experiencing and stay centered during this holiday period.
One thing to get good at recognizing, which will affect your intentions, is how you interpret any given experience. To cite a simple example, a rainy day isn’t a bad experience unless you think of rain as ‘bad.’
There’s also an easy way to hold fast to a positive outlook, rather than allowing expectations of what should happen to color your feelings about what did happen in any given moment of your life.
In fact, it’s as simple as A B C D E . . .
American psychologist Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, encourages people to become positive by coming aware of our habitual, automatic behaviors and substituting what he calls ‘adaptive,’ positive responses.
Here’s how to remember it:
A Adversity: someone else zooms into parking space you were waiting to drive into.
B Belief: As you react to it (probably with outrage), take a few moments to stop to examine and identify the beliefs you have about this situation. For instance, you’re likely thinking, ‘Typical! Why does this kind of thing always happen to me? I don’t have time to go hunting down another parking space. . . etc., etc.’
C Consequences: After that, the usual automatic response is to engage in some action stemming from your beliefs, like honking your horn, swearing at the other driver, or shaking your fist at him or her.
D Disputation: But now, take a few moments to analyze the situation and have a little dialogue with yourself. One comment might be: ‘Hey, I don’t own the parking space. It didn’t have my name on it. And the bottom line is that there are plenty of others available.’
E Energization: Now find an optimistic perspective on the situation. In your dialogue tell yourself something like: ‘The driver of the other car was elderly and needed that parking space more than me. Giving it up is an act of selflessness. Wow, I feel much better for doing that. (And my body and my intentions will appreciate this act of altruism.)’
So during this roller coaster of a ride we are all experiencing, choose to acknowledge that we are in a moment of great change because the old way wasn’t fundamentally working, that all of us have a fantastic opportunity to put it all back together in a better way and that this is your moment to create your world on the largest scale.
Please accept my fondest wishes for a happy, restful New Year, and be prepared to come back energized in January. We all have work to do together. On New Year’s eve, let’s all celebrate the infinite possibility of this change and our renewal.
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