We Just Need To Stop

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One of the comments I get again and again on this blog is how much people love the positivity and inspiration that they get from coming here everyday. And let me tell you, that makes me feel so good.

I have to be honest though, it was really tough for me to try and find a way to be positive in tonight’s post! It has been one of those days I guess; being in pain from the fall, feeling sluggish, and some winter blahs on the side. Lately I have really noticed the lack of sunlight is getting to me. It gets dark at 5pm now, and it can make for some sluggish nights indoors!

But after I thought long and hard about this post (and trust me, I have been sitting here trying to write for a good two hours), I thought what better way than to bring up a discussion about hard days.

We all have them. Those days when we feel like our pants are getting tighter, we feel like progress isn’t being made, and we just aren’t clicking with who we think we should be.

It got me thinking about my own hard days along my journey to health. There have been hard weeks. Times when I just felt off for whatever reason and I started to get discouraged that I would never be able to find that groovy healthy state that I feel my best in.

And what I have discovered, looking back on these times, is that I always got through them. Even when I felt stress in my life getting out of control, I always made it through and I always came out on top. As humans, we are survivors, capable of getting through immense hardships in our lives. Surely, we can’t expect to live everyday feeling elated and happy-go-lucky, can we?

I started to think about my background in psychology and what it has taught me about the power of positive thinking. In one of my courses, I learned about the famous lecturer Tal Ben Shahar who teaches a Positive Psychology course at Harvard University. This course just happens to be the most popular course in the entire university!

Why? Tal Ben Shahar says that people are more interested in being happy than being rich.

He says that he “spent close to 30 years of his life being successfully unhappy” even though he was doing well in athletics, socially, and in school.

However, what he realized is that we are too hard on ourselves when we are unhappy. We think there is something wrong with us if we are feeling unhappy. Society puts too many expectations of people to always feel happy and joyful, but he claims this is an impossible feat.

As an example, he says that for every 1 article on happiness there are 21 articles on depression in the psychological litterature.

He claims that we focus on what is maladaptive much more than what is adaptive.

And so Tal Ben Shahar wants to shift the focus onto what works.

What are some of his tips to live a happier life?

  1. Express your gratitude (thank people in your life, make a gratitude journal, appreciate small things)
  2. Simplify your life (say no to invitations, stop feeling obligated to do things you don’t want to do)
  3. Breathe Deeply
  4. Focus on the Positive
  5. Exercise
  6. Find meaning, pleasure, and strengths in yourself (What am I good at?)

So after feeling kinda crappy tonight, I decided what better time than to create a gratitude list before I head to bed:

What I am thankful for:

  • A family that loves me so much and wants only the best for me in life. A family who is proud of who I have become in life.
  • My husband who would do anything to make me happy, who would do anything to put a smile on my face when I am feeling my worst. A husband whose eyes light up when he looks at me and when I laugh at his silly jokes.
  • My beautiful niece and nephews who look up to me and are happy when I am around. My nephew Ethan who is excited to talk on the phone with me, even though he can’t say too many words yet.
  • My education. I am part of the lucky few percent of people in the world who have the opportunity to attend university or college.
  • Women’s rights. I can vote. I can work. I have almost achieved as many rights as men. Almost.
  • My health. I can walk, run, or swim. I can play tennis and arm wrestle my husband. Many people don’t have this fortune.
  • My best friends who have been through everything with me, seen me at my lowest, and picked me up off the ground.
  • My cat Sketchie who makes me smile and laugh each and every day.
  • My new friends on Oh She Glows who come on here every day to offer encouraging support and stories and help us feel connected to something greater than we know.

You know what surprised me the most? I could go on and on. If it weren’t for my pesky bedtime, I would keep writing. Maybe I can continue this tomorrow.

I am truly a lucky woman. Sometimes, we just need to stop and reflect on our lives in order to see this.

So tell me, what is your gratitude list?

Sleep tight lovies,

Angela

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sally November 20, 2008

Wow, I really needed to read that today. Thanks, Angela. I’m going to go make my gratitude list right now!

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2 Jen November 21, 2008

I know how you feel about the winter and lack of sun!! We live in Siberia and it can be hard with the long winter months come to keep positive and see the sunshine through the darkness.

Amazing post. We are the only ones in control of our thoughts, attitudes and actions! Making the list of what you were grateful for is such a good idea! I am going to make one as well :)

Blessings –
jen

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3 VeggieGirl November 21, 2008

AMEN!!

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4 ttfn300 November 21, 2008

another GREAT post, I need to go write out my gratitude list. asap. in case you didn’t catch it, i gave you an award ;)

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5 Mariposa November 21, 2008

such a beautiful post Angela!!!!

I was feeling down about a month ago about not getting a job i applied for internally in my company. Until I remembered that maybe the person who got the job instead of me, may have been looking for months.. behind in their bills, etc.

I am grateful for a daughter who makes me laugh everyday with her silliness..a boyfriend who keeps me grounded and calm, without him i would be a spaz! a family who loves my daughter.. friends who love my daughter.. i have a GREAT job even if it is stressful and obnoxious sometimes, a roof over my head, and transportation. a lot of people in my situation are not doing as well as i am, so i am grateful for all the good choices i have made in life as well..

thats about it for now- i could go on and on as well.. thanks angela for making me think of this today!

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6 Pearl November 21, 2008

Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. It’s difficult to reveal such inner thoughts, and it’s so refreshing to see someone post such thanks.

Thank you.

Hope to keep in touch through our blogs :)

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