It’s very common to focus on what is lacking . Ever have a job evaluation and spend 90% of the meeting talking about a few things you could do better? Or have 90% of your day go smoothly and then ruminate on one or two things that didn’t go well? This lack type of a focus creates suffering. Add that to a lack of sunlight and exercise in the winter and you can end up feeling pretty crappy.
Today’s tip for beating the winter blues is one I got from a friend. It’s super simple and highly effective. He said he and his wife have an agreement: when one of them is upset about something or they get in an argument, they will get in each other’s face and say, “go write down 10 things you’re grateful for;” and typically that really shifts the energy and de-escalates the tension and stress.
Perspective Check. Focusing on what we’re grateful for helps us think straight, regain perspective and gets us into a more positive mindspace where we recognize the many things that are actually going quite well in our lives. In fact, Stanford psychiatrist and professor Dr. David Burns asserts that focusing on shortcomings and ignoring positives – what he refers to as a “mental filter” – is just a form of distorted thinking that leads to feelings like anxiety and depression and leads to relationship problems.
How we feel is directly linked to what we think. “The idea is that when you’re feeling upset, you’re often involved in a mental con, but you don’t realize it,” Dr. Burns writes. “You’re telling yourself things about yourself and the world that aren’t really true. And when you change the way you think you can change the way you feel.” [Read more…]