Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging
Remember the old TV shows ’What’s My Line’ and ‘I’ve Got a Secret’? Let’s pretend that you have to prepare a five-minute talk that describes your life story to an audience. Since your time is limited, you have to choose carefully what details to include and what to omit. Whether we realize it or not, we do this every day as we create our personal stories. Our story centers around the elements of our lives we choose to focus on and the ones we ignore. The story we tell influences what others think about us, but more importantly, it shapes how we feel about ourselves. Research supports the theory that the part of your story that you concentrate on will summon the same emotions. What’s more, repeatedly dwelling on negative experiences will exacerbate the negative mood and will result in the very thing you don’t want—more negative experiences!
It is crucial to concentrate on the positive parts of our story! Don’t get stuck on the bad stuff. Here is a three-point plan to turn things around. 1. Quit complaining. Many circumstances are out of our control, but we decide how much mental energy we will give it. Remember that negative thoughts draw more negative experiences. 2. Write a new script. Shad Helmstetter, in his book, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, says it all. Dwell on the good parts of your story, and it will evoke happy feelings. Positive thoughts draw more positive experiences! 3. Match your actions to your words. The old Chinese proverb says: Talk doesn’t cook rice. Get up and do something positive. Help someone who is in a hard place. If all you can give is a smile, then start there! When someone asks, “What’s your line?” Tell them you dwell on being happy every day!