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Some Specific Common Sense Ways to Look on the Bright Side - How to be Happy and Positive Whatever Happens.

Updated on May 10, 2011

Tips for Fixing Some Types of Stinking Thinking

Like beauty, trouble is in the eye of the beholder. The Chinese symbol for crisis combines two other words - danger and opportunity. Sometimes a simple change in the way we look at things can mean the difference between misery and contentment. Following are some common sense ways to make the most of a situation.

Write down a list of times when you did something you thought you couldn't or dealt with stress and survived. When you're facing tough times again, go over the list to remind yourself that you can deal with whatever comes your way.

Find joy in small things like a striking sunset, seeing a child smile, or a good cup of coffee.

Distract yourself from worrying. Set aside one half hour per day for worry. Any other time a worry enters your mind, refuse to think about it. Instead, take walk, phone a friend, or work on a project that you enjoy.

Put your problem into perspective by asking yourself how important it will be in five years, a year, next month, or even tomorrow.

Put yourself in situations with positive people. Give yourself opportunities to have positive experiences. (Negative people and situations over and over can cause physical illness.)

If you find yourself thinking that your life is awful and always will be, challenge that thought. Remind yourself of a good time you had and of the likelihood that this bad week or so may give way to something better. You might even try to learn something from hard times. When I went from being a professional to being disabled, for example, I at first thought my life was over. Then I learned that I didn't need much to be happy and that I could be proud of myself for being clever with bargains. I found I was still smart and compassionate, albeit in smaller ways. One day I saw a little girl crying in a big store. I asked her if she was lost. She was. I took her to the service desk, where they paged her parents. Small kindnesses count.

By the way, after a good while and many tries, things did change for me. I got a new job and married a great guy I met at work. As they say in twelve-step groups, "This, too, shall pass."

(inspired by information from PMHCA)


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    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 4 years ago from northeastern US

      hi, old soul,

      glad you found this useful. thanks much for reading and especially for commenting.

    • Abundant old soul profile image

      Abundant Old Soul 4 years ago from united states

      Beautiful thoughts! Since I have been self employed, I have had many challenges around keeping a positive attitude. Your ideas and musings remind me of practictioner exercises that will help me continue to move forward.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Fair enough. That makes sense. Thank you.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      good question, ca. you can work on your problems all day if you like. positive action is not worry.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Everything you say there makes sense, but I have a small reservation about the idea of only worrying for a half hour a day.

      That leaves 23.5 hours for undealt with problems to get worse.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      hi, ahs,

      thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 6 years ago

      Hi Cathylynn, I really like this, and I think for those who aren't naturally optimistic, you made an excellent point about surrounding yourself with people who are. Sometimes you feel that your positive outlook will rub off on a negative person, but that's usually not what happens. I've known extremely negative people, and tried to keep company with them sometimes to help them around it, and they usually start to drive me crazy. Everyone on earth has something that bothers them, possibly severely, and everyone earth has something to be happy about.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      hi, bob,

      thanks for the validation. kicking around the earth for nearly 55 yrs. does give a person a chance to learn a few things about living well.

    • profile image

      diogenese 6 years ago

      The old "man without shoes meets another with no feet." Important things said here and a code to live by...Bob