When you first wake up, what pops into your mind?
Do you start thinking about all the work you have to do? The emails you have to reply to, the pile of paperwork on your desk that has to be completed, or maybe it's the housework that still needs to get done?
Do you think about the things that make you happy? The kiss your little boy or girl is going to give you before heading out to school, the hug your partner will greet you with when you come home, or the fact that, even though you may not have everything you want, you're doing just fine?
Albert Einstein once said,
"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or a hostile universe."
Is the world you live in hostile or friendly? How do you look at it? It's up to you to decide.
Every single day I make that decision.
I wake up and ask myself: "Do I live in a good world or a bad world?"
Whether you view your world as good or bad impacts your attitude as you go about your day. Remez Sasson puts it another way by saying that positive thinking "...brings brightness to the eyes, more energy, and happiness."
It makes you more understanding when things happen that you didn't necessarily expect.
Someone cuts you off in traffic? It's okay. At least they didn't hit you, causing you to be late for your appointment and forcing you to deal with your insurance company, starting the lengthy and often frustrating process of getting your vehicle repaired.
Tourist walking slowly in front of you on the streets of New York City? Have patience! Take in the sights and smells and enjoy your "extra" time. (I had to add this one to remind myself.)
By starting your day with a conscious decision that the world is good, you're less likely to react in a negative way when things happen that you didn't plan. You have a little more patience. A little more hope.
Good begets good.
Plus, how you view your day right at its onset also affects how many good things will happen to you as the day progresses.
Susan Reynolds, co-author of Train Your Brain to Get Happy, says that "feeling pleasure can be so stimulating for your brain that it is primed to respond to pleasure in a way that reinforces that pleasure."
In other words, the more good you search out in this world, the more good you'll receive in return.
When you wake up and choose (consciously or unconsciously) to live in a "bad" world, you go through your day much differently. You feel frustrated when you wind up behind somebody who's walking super slowly or if you get stuck in traffic. Standing in line at the store feels like an eternity and everything you do seems ten times harder.
Nothing works out like it should and you're constantly waiting for things to go wrong (which they usually will) -- things that "prove" that the world is a hostile place.
It's good for you physically, too.
Choosing to think positively provides a lot of great health benefits as well.
It reduces your risk of depression, decreases your anxiety, and even makes you more resilient against whatever bug is going around. People who look at the bright side of life tend to live longer, and they have an easier time coping with the stressors that ordinary life has to offer.
Look, I know it's really easy to get stuck and stay stuck in negativity, especially with everything going on in the world. You can't go through your social media feeds without seeing quite a few posts of all of the things that are "wrong."
But feeling that way keeps you from being happy. It keeps you from reaching higher levels of success because negative thinking has been linked with a reduced ability to think, be creative, and even respond to life in an emotionally healthy way.
If you want to be your own personal best, thinking positive first thing in the morning is the way to get there.
How to start your day more positively.
If you're new to this whole "positivity" thing, here are some tips to help you focus more on the good than the bad:
- Choose words and statements that reflect a positive attitude: "I will have a good day" or "I'm excited about what lies ahead today."
- Focus on things that make you happy:"I look forward to seeing my kid's school play tonight" or "I can't wait to see where this project at work takes me!"
- Appreciate the good things in your world: "I'm thankful for my health, the fact that I can pay the bills, and that I have such a wonderful family!"
- Spend more time with positive people, making it easier to be positive yourself!
It's never going to be 100 percent, but if you focus on the good just a bit more than the bad, you're making progress. It's all about baby steps.
So when you wake up tomorrow, ask yourself this question:
"Do I live in a good world or a bad world?"
And I want you to remember that you have a choice. Do yourself a favor and choose the good. It will make you happier and healthier.