This week my column in the local paper was about Pollyanna. I only get a limited space in the paper, so I thought I would elaborate on it here…
I have this friend; I call him Pollyanna. He always finds a bright side. Nothing is ever bad enough to make him properly miserable. His greatest moments of happiness seem to come from seeing those around him happy. It’s weirdly refreshing, and kind of inspiring.
On the one hand: it’s been raining for about 400 years; it’s cold; prices are going up; you can never get the self service tills in Tesco to work without help from the staff.
But on the other hand, it’s not so bad, is it? I don’t know about you, but I have all my own limbs and most of my own teeth. I sleep in a warm bed with my beautiful daughter next to me, and I have clean running water. I could spend my life thinking about the things I don’t have, the things that have knocked me down. Where would it get me? Nowhere good!
My plan is to be more like Pollyanna from now on. More smiles, more bright sides, more love. Who’s with me?
My point is, there’s more than enough negativity in the world. And I really believe that you get more of what you focus on. So by going around, moaning and whining about everything, we just end up with more of it.
|Why would you not choose to be happy?|
It’s scientifically proven that if you sit down at the end of the day and think about the good things that happened, eventually your brain “trains” itself to always look for the good in any given situation. People who do this are happier. Why would you not choose to be happier, if you could?
I think we’re all going around thinking that “happiness” is this abstract notion that will happen when. When I’ve got a better job, I’ll be happy. When I’ve got more money, I’ll be happy. When I get married, I’ll be happy. The notion that we can do something, and start right now, to manufacture our own happiness, seems completely foreign and somehow false.
It might start out false, to sit there and think “well, it wasn’t a complete loss today; I had a chocolate biscuit for lunch!” but over time, that habit of looking for the bright side in every situation will mean that the negative bleakness everyone else is focusing on won’t affect you so much.
For instance: it’s raining today, and I have a ridiculous cough. S was awake most of the night, she fell off the bed this morning and I felt like the world’s worst mother. BUT S went into nursery with a smile on her face, after eating more for breakfast than she’s managed in the last week or so. It’s not raining as hard as it has been recently, and the wind is not so strong that an umbrella is out of the question. Life is not that bad! Look on the bright side; what harm can it do?