This guest article from YourTango was written by Amy Spencer.
My friend Kate was driving with her dad when he showed her what it really means to look on the bright side. It happened the day they got a flat tire and his face lit up.
“Oh good!” he said. “I’ve been meaning to teach you how to change a flat tire and now we have the perfect opportunity!”
Yes, that’s one of the most positive reactions to a car breakdown I’ve ever heard. But it’s also a perfect example of how much power we have over our point of view. Our happiness isn’t really about the situation we find ourselves in, but about how we see our situation. Our perspective is everything. No matter how rough a day we have or how hard a year has been, there is always a different way to look at it. And if you want to be happier right now?
Just start looking at your life from a better, brighter angle. If you could use a few suggestions, here are three quick ways to see your situation from my new book Bright Side Up…
1. Look at it from a tourist’s point of view.
I’ll bet that locals in Giza, Egypt don’t take photos of themselves in front of the pyramids every day. Why would they, right? They’re used to them. And that’s what happens to us in our own lives: We’re so used to everything around us, we forget that to someone else, our life is a total Kodak moment!
So take the tourist point of view on your own life, and think of the astounding things at your feet: Your married life, to a single person, is comforting and secure; your single life, to a married person, is hopeful and exciting; and your home — to anyone else — might be quaint or cool or huge or homey simply depending on what they don’t have themselves. So go ahead: Give yourself an imaginary bus tour of your life today and see what’s worth writing a postcard home about.
2. Rephrase to reframe.
We are what we eat and we are what we say. Which means if you find yourself talking a lot about how “hard” or “unhappy” or “stressed out” or “awful” your day has been, well, you’re probably going to notice and get a lot more things like it tomorrow, too.
Instead, change the words you use to change how you feel. If you’re having “the worst day ever,” maybe you can look at it as a “challenging” one you will soon get through. If you’re about to “kill that person” who cut you off, maybe you’re getting a “good test” of your patience because of it. And if you’re feeling “terrible” that you’ll “never” meet someone, maybe you’ll feel better if you can envision the possibility that you can and you will…but they’re more likely to want to stick around you if you’ve worked up a pleasant way to talk about your day first.
3. Say, “The good news is…” and complete your sentence.
There is good news if you choose to find it. Yes, your car broke down, but the good news is…you had a cell phone to call for a tow. Yes, you have the flu, but the good news is… you now have a perfect excuse to watch a marathon of your favorite TV series while you rest up and get better. Go ahead, make your list: Sometimes you may have to dig a little to find the good news, but the good news is…anything positive is better than nothing at all!
So much of your happiness is in your hands. It just takes actively seeing your situation from a brighter, more positive perspective, what I call bright side up. I hope these ideas will get you started. Because you don’t have to change your whole life to be happier. Really, you just have to change how you look at what you have.
For more ways to see life’s silver linings, check out Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now, sign up for Amy Spencer’s weekly Vitamin Optimism email and visit her blog TheLifeOptimist.com. Follow Amy on Twitter at datingoptimist.
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