Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Power of Positive Thinking

As part of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, I was tasked with journaling 5 things I felt grateful for each day, over the course of 30 days.  From this assignment, I discovered that there is an amazing shift in paradigm that occurs quite quickly when asked to contemplate gratitude.  I gained a new found appreciation for perspective.

At the end of each day as I sat down to journal, I discovered the ability to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

"Saw a snake today--grateful it didn't chase me down and attack."

"Backed out of the garage with the passenger-side door open--although a bit askew, grateful it still closes."

"Sat in traffic today while an accident was being cleared--grateful to see both drivers outside of their vehicles uninjured.  Double grateful I reached my destination safely and without incident--even if I was a little late."

In all of these instances, I could have wallowed in the negative:

Seeing a snake created a fight or flight response.  Because of my fear of snakes, I chose flight.  I turned back and walked an additional mile in order to avoid crossing its path.  Fortunately it was a beautiful morning, I had no where else to be, and I needed the exercise. 

Crunching my car door may prove to be an expensive repair.  Fortunately, it is not a repair that is critical to being able to use the car.  The repair can wait--if I even have it repaired at all. 

And while being late usually induces anxiety, I used my yogi Dirga Breath to remain calm.  And when I finally did arrive at the doctor's office after sitting in traffic for the accident, I discovered she too was running a bit behind schedule.  My time spent sitting in the waiting room was significantly less than it would have been had I arrived on time. 

Three potentially negative situations; three positive perspectives.

Abraham Lincoln said, " We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."  
I will admit I haven't always viewed the world from a rosy place of love and gratitude.  For most of my life, I had a "glass half-empty" soul.  I loved drama. I loved exaggeration.  I loved playing the victim.
"Woe is me...I had to walk an extra mile because there was a horrible reptilian creature blocking me from my path."
 "Woe is me...I cannot drive an ugly car.  We are going to have to fore go our family vacation to pay for the repair so my car can be pretty again."

"Woe is me...I had to sit in traffic, causing me to be late to my appointment, and no one was even injured."
My husband used to say, "You're not happy, unless you're miserable."  He was right.  And that is one more thing for which I am grateful.  I am grateful to have found yoga..not just as an exercise program, but as an entire mind-body experience.  Those words have since been shuttered from his vocabulary.  In the present moment, I have such peace and contentment--all because of a change in perspective.

So...when you're having a bad day, see if you can shift your perspective.  Try looking at the situation from a different angle, and see if you can find gratitude where before there might not have been any.

You'll be grateful you did!

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