Attitude is everything

When you laugh or smile, it triggers a part of the brain that actually makes you *Happy*
When you laugh or smile, it triggers a part of the brain that actually makes you *Happy*

We’ve all been asked the inevitable question – How’re you doing today?

Most of the time, we just give a quick neutral “Ok” or “I’m good, you?“, other times we delve into a long depressing soliloquy about how awful, tired, horrible, unbelievably bad, etc. our day has been and/or will continue to be.  How often do we respond with excitement or enthusiasm –  “I’m fantastic!” or “Fabulous!  How about you?” – does it matter?

YES, it matters.  It matters far more than you might believe.  By responding in an energized and positive way you not only reinforce that feeling in yourself, but you also share that feeling with the other person.  If they are already feeling joyful then they feel it a bit more; but, if they are feeling down, than maybe for a brief moment things don’t look quite so bleak.  You remembered to smile too, right?  A smile can sometimes be even more effective.  Why?  Because it means that the person was seen.  That someone looked at them and shared a part of themselves freely and without reservation.

A smile, a nod, an acknowledgement that you exist and are seen, these things matter.  They matter to both parties because while we don’t often want to admit this, especially to ourselves, we all need to feel connected to the world around us.  Personal connections have an impact, no matter how fleeting.  Seeing and being seen are quintessential to our survival.  We need each other because we are social creatures.

I once had someone ask me how I could always be so positive, nothing ever seemed to get me down.  I told them that whenever possible I’d always try to consider everything going on at that moment.  In most cases, the good would outweigh the bad, even if just for a little bit, and so I could reply with a “Fantastic” or “Fabulous” or “Great”, even if it was only valid for that brief exchange.   My joy was often infectious and others who might not have been feeling quite so effusive would perk up.  And sometimes it would even get me over a hump.  I’d literally psych myself out of my negative space.

It doesn’t always work. I am not a constantly perky individual.  Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can’t find the good in the moment and I can only manage a simple “OK” or “Not great” as my response.  “I’m sorry to hear that, I hope things are better soon”, “That’s tough, but it can’t last forever” or even “Yeah I’m with you, but tomorrow’s a new day, right?” – are some of the encouragements I receive and despite their simplicity, they often provide me with the solace I need.  My joy doesn’t return instantly, but it does come back, sometimes sooner than expected, and all because I was seen, I was heard, someone cared.

When we share ourselves with others we create a universal ripple that has compound and lasting effects.  How many ripples can you make?

  • Wave to someone
  • Smile
  • Greet someone – Hello, Good Morning, Good Evening, Happy Monday – don’t forget to use their name
  • Laugh
  • Whistle
  • Skip – you remember how, right?
  • Play
  • Whoop

Do you feel the change in yourself the more you do this?  Can you feel the change in others?  Can you keep it going?

I know it’s difficult, but try.  It’s like a muscle, start slow and build it up.  Push a little more each day.  You’ll be surprised at the result!