Positive thinking isn't just a soft and fluffy feel-good term. Yes, it's great to simply "be happy," but those moments of happiness are also critical for opening your mind to explore and build the skills that become so valuable in other areas of your life.
Life, as it always has been for her, is what you make it. If you choose to let things get you down, they will. It's all about the attitude that you bring to the table and learning to live in life's positive cracks even when they are hard to find amid the darker disappointments.
I believe in luck and love and good fortune. I am a professional optimist. I try to hide it, but most of the time, I'm my father's son and his glass was neither half-empty nor half-full -- it was overflowing.
Recently I had a day where I went from being unhappy with what I saw in the mirror to loving what I was seeing within hours. Obviously I don't think that my body actually physically changed in such a short time frame, but it sure felt like it.
Whether self or externally generated, our thoughts set the stage for how we feel, perceive, act, and react. When a thought makes itself at home in our brains, it prompts the formation of neural pathways that prove highly resistant to change.
When things are uncertain and you don't know what's going to happen next, the brain attempts to make up an ending. The narrative is usually negative, and it's these negative thoughts that lead to catastrophic, worst-case scenarios and devastating thoughts.
We've created a divorce culture equally obsessed with "positive thinking" and "neat solutions." Whether it's well-meaning friends and family or the divorce blogs, the conversation is the same: "Rah-rah" motivational stories and self-help tools for making yourself happy again.
Examine what 2012 has meant for you, what have you achieved, and what allowed you to do that. Really knowing what you are great at, and how you use that to achieve success, helps you to become a more fearless leader.
Talk to her, I thought. Talk to her. Normally, I don't strike up conversations with perfect strangers but there was something about the woman waiting for the elevator with me at the medical complex. I couldn't ignore the voice in my head any longer.
I feel that positive psychology has a lot to offer. But I see it not as a final resting place for psychology or the individual, but rather as a wave in the ongoing dialectic between the dark and the light.