Daily wins and losses provide opportunities for personal growth. Even as the new day brings both blessing and hardship, so does the day challenge us to find appropriate responses to success and adversity which fuel that personal growth. Accepting this daily challenge is what we mean by ‘accepting the day’. It is accepting responsibility for tipping the scales each day to the positive.
Gratitude and Negative Thinking
Expression of gratitude for what goes well brings peace and contentment. These feelings in turn tend to attract more good. A sense of well-being helps us to better confront the adversity which inevitably faces us. On the other hand, allowing negative thoughts, and especially negative thoughts which are irrational, to go unchecked creates stress in our system and weakens us. As a result, we are less available and receptive for the good. We are also less resilient in facing hardship.
With respect to what goes right, our response is too often a brief acknowledgment and a fleeting moment of satisfaction. No wonder we forget by afternoon the blessings of the morning! But for some reason we obsessively dwell on what we perceive as negative. Of course really bad things do happen. Sometimes, though, the perception of negativity is worse than the reality. An investment goes down so we feel ‘poorer ‘. But really our condition has not changed if the investment is sound for the long term. A friend does not respond to our text. We think the worst rather than just assuming there is some issue preoccupying our friend. The reality is that generally friends get back to us eventually and matters resolve. Perhaps we can use some time alone anyway!
Useful Ritual for a Positive Acceptance of the Day
Rituals are structured and periodic behaviors which give tangible expression to beliefs and values. It is no accident that expressions of gratitude are ritualized in religious liturgy. If we don’t have a religious bent, we should definitely consider borrowing in this case from the liturgical playbook. A somewhat more extensive, more inclusive recitation on a regular basis of what is going well helps to reinforce in our minds the existing conditions of goodness and blessing. When we recount good that has already come our way, we become more open to the possibility, really the likelihood, that more good is coming. The recitation ritual helps establish a positive tone to our thinking and is a good practice for morning and night.
Expelling the Negative
We can also develop techniques for increasing our awareness of negative thoughts that creep into our heads and for expelling those thoughts. Expelling negativity can be a helpful bit of daily mental housecleaning that keeps the channels free and clear for a positive flow to our day. Morning time is great for many people to hear these thoughts most clearly. It can be helpful to write these thoughts down – thus externalizing them. A next step can be to rephrase the thoughts in more productive, hopeful ways.
An Overload of Positivity?
It is possible to become overwhelmed by positivity. In fact this condition in its unhealthiest extreme has a special term: mania. Generally speaking, when we don’t process the positive flow which we have attracted, we can short-circuit and become debilitated. If you are having this quite manageable problem then stay tuned for additional posts! In the meantime, get that positive flow going by accepting the day!