Last month, we indicated that we would put forth a series of articles to assist you in achieving your personal definition of happiness. We spoke about “regret” as a tether to happiness and indicated ways to overcome its negative hold.
This month, we will look at focus … what we pay attention to. Think about the experiences you had since you awoke today. Take a few minutes to jot down your dominant thoughts or focus. For example, did you listen to the radio? What did you think about during newscasts, songs, commercials? Did you read a newspaper? What was your self-narrative? Did you run errands? What were you contemplating while checking out or completing a transaction? Did you feel critical of those who attended to you, either of their performance or appearance? Or did you feel happy to exchange a few moments with nice people? How did you feel when you checked your emails? When you responded to them? Read your Facebook feed or Twitter posts? Do you find yourself feeling happy about others’ lives? Do you like interacting with them? Do you feel less than, equal to, or more than those you encounter and, as such, are your thoughts and focus on positive or negative aspects about you?
One noteworthy quality of this exercise is that the world is your stimulus for you to pay attention. The exercise is primarily based on you paying attention to your thoughts by paying attention to your interactions with the world (through the media, shopping, corresponding, social networking, etc.). The reason that we are asking you to pay attention this month while doing is because doing can be a stimulus for paying attention. It can be more challenging to pay attention to your thoughts when you are not engaged in an action.
With two color markers, crayons, highlighters, etc, mark the entries based on whether your thoughts were positive or negative, one color for each. If you are like most people, you are still performing this exercise in your head because you think you can “get it” without actually writing. That’s your choice, but true happiness is enhanced when you roll up your sleeves and dedicate yourself to achieving the benefits of an exercise by actually doing it.
Look at your paper. Which color dominates? The one you chose for positive or the one you chose for negative? Approximately what percentage of each do you align with?
This month, aim to increase your positive focus slightly. Perhaps go from a 70% negative focus to a 60% focus. One method to achieve this is by erasing some of your negative thoughts and immediately replacing them with positive. For example, if you find yourself thinking about the bank teller with such thoughts as, “What a moron. How hard can it be to deposit a few checks?” Instead, compel yourself to erase that thought and replace it with a more pleasant observation such as, “She’s so young. Her eagerness will probably help her to excel at her job quickly.”
Another method is to intentionally choose not to focus on negative. Don’t watch or read crime reports. Stay away from people who complain. Change the topic when a person is completely embroiled in negative conversation.
By setting your intention to deliberately increase your positive focus slightly, you are likely to consistently increase it over time. The reason is that the most important step in this task is the one that brings the opportunity for change … paying attention. If you can compel yourself to pay attention, you can choose your focus. If you continue to let your lightening-speed mind activity run your life, you cannot change.
This month, be mindful of your positive v. negative focus in your interactions with the world. Intend to increase the percentage of positive focuses and thoughts. If this sounds feasible, only you can do it. Do it. Happiness is yours to grab.
Next month, we will focus on the quality of our thoughts which emerge without an action stimulus.
If you would like guidance to help you discover your harmonious path, contact Karen for coaching or a one-on-one session. An investment in your happiness today pays for itself through prosperity, love, and peacefulness.
“I just wanted you to know that I am still reeling from the session. It was sooo very powerful, loving and wonderful. I felt so comfortable with you and when you were speaking I could feel the love coming through. It’s difficult putting the experience into words, so thank you, thank you, thank you! I have had many reading and this was by far the clearest and most helpful to me. You have such a positive message that really needs to be heard at this time on EARTH. Anxiously anticipating our next session!!!”
-Tracy M. Phila., PA
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