Focus, or “directed attention” has been life changing for me. When I first read about an exercise to understand the power of our mind’s focus, I did not realize what an impact this would have for me. I was reading about focusing thoughts. The writer asked the reader to think of the color red and notice how suddenly you would see red everywhere. It was a cold winter day and I was reading in the pick up line at my son’s school. I thought to myself, how funny, this won’t work with everything so white with snow. Driving home I noticed a red car, red door, another red car, red lights, and so on. Some of you may laugh and think, well that’s really not that unpredictable. Next, the writer suggests thinking about something bigger. I chose something that I wanted to have to help me exercise, but I didn’t want to spend the money for it. This took longer. I thought about it daily for weeks. One day I happen to find what I wanted and it was free for the taking (used, of course). This got my attention and I decided to keep an open mind as I read more about the importance of our focus.
It’s rather simple if you think about it. Focus on positives and you will not only feel better, but you will open your eyes to let in more positives than you saw before. I always thought of myself as making efforts to see the “glass half full” but, what I realized is that it is more than that. It is taking the time to really notice all the wonderful happenings or things around you that fill your world with positivity. If you focus on negatives, you may only see the negative and miss other positives that are happening all around you.
Researcher, Richard Wiseman, conducted studies to understand why some people seemed luckier than others. He asked volunteers to read through a newspaper and count how many photos were in it. There were two groups of people: people who claimed to be lucky and people who felt they were unlucky. The lucky people were quicker to know the number of pictures than the unlucky people in this task. On the second page of the paper there was a large message reading “Stop counting, there are 43 photos in this newspaper.” It seems the people who felt unlucky missed the message. The people who felt lucky saw it. This study and others like it show that people who focus on the positives are more optimistic. Optimism leads to being more observant of positive opportunities. People who don’t feel lucky (or who do not seek out positives) may miss out on positive things all around them.
“My Happy” is one way for me to stay focused on the positives. What better way to organize information for myself and others to benefit from? I didn’t realize all the other wonderful things that would come from this happiness blog.
I have friends and family who supported me by reading or following this blog. Besides that apparent support, I had many opportunities for wonderful conversations about things I was writing about. I realized my friends and family shared my interests. Some examples of focusing on the positives leading to increased positivity for me were: receiving a daily positive quote book, learning about twitter, receiving current information to add to my blog, sharing of a book “14,000 Things to be Happy About”, receiving a journal to help me organize all my ideas. One of my favorite results was when my older son told me he thinks my blog is “cool”!( If you are a parent, you know how amazing THAT is) Staying focused on the positives and opening up about it has led to these experiences and more for me. These may sound like small things, but aren’t the small daily connections we make so important?
My positive friend Lois, who encouraged my idea to blog and guided me to WordPress, led me to a community of bloggers which I have received support and encouragement from. It has also given me the opportunity to learn from their blogs and gain new perspectives from all over the world!
I hope you are excited about practicing this simple strategy of directing your attention to the positivity around you, if you don’t already, in 2015! May your focus on positivity lead to more positivity!
Below is the 2nd “Happy Discovery” (previous post) for grown ups. My positive friend, Margit, shared this book with me. I loved reading about this writer, Barbara Ann Kipfer. She started her happiness journal in 6th grade! Reading through this book really puts a smile on your face. 🙂
Barbara Ann Kipfer also has a website http://www.thingstobehappyabout.com
A very special thank you to Patricia and Dan for staying so positive when my family can be a handful, awesome, but a handful.
To my friend Kim for staying positive through a tough situation, you inspire me!
Here’s To A Happy New Year! (Are you with me?)