Look on the Bright Side

Boy holding painting of rainbow.
Cheer up the first day of winter by celebrating the Bright Side of it all.

According to my planner, today is “Look on the Bright Side Day.” (It’s probably no coincidence it falls on the winter solstice, the literal shortest, darkest day of the year.) But hey, what better chance to practice being an optimist?

On the recommendation on a former co-worker with similar interests in energy and the universe, I recently finished a book by Pam Grout, E2 Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. The final experiment was to keep a list of “beautiful and good” things you notice over the course of 48 hours. The hypothesis of the experiment was that if we notice good and beautiful things, we’ll attract more.

Did it work for me? I’d say so. Within a day or so of finishing the book (and the experiment), I woke up in the best mood I’d found myself in for weeks. Months, maybe. Completely unexpectedly on a Monday morning, my niece and nephew dropped in for a video chat while they ate breakfast before school. Out of the blue, I received the results of my National Boards test I wasn’t expecting for at least another month. And yeehaw- I’d passed! In fact, I’d done very, very well! Things were looking up!

Of course, I can’t say conclusively that because I had kept a list of good things for two days that all the sudden good things were happening. But of course, I can’t say conclusively that it’s not the reason, either. Research has shown the link between gratitude and improved mood, and while this was not a list of things I was explicitly giving thanks for, it was essentially the same concept. Notice things you deem “beautiful” or “good” and you’re basically thanking the universe for them. Your energy is focused on the things in the world that you’re enjoying, instead of the things you’re not.

In coaching, I often encourage clients to shift their perspective in this same way. To “Look on the Bright Side” – if you will. In fact, if we work together, many of the things we focus on will be the things that are workinginstead of what isn’t. This is unexpected to many people. Why hire a coach to talk about all the things that are going right? I need help with the stuff that isn’t!

Most people I first meet for an initial consultation are ready to jump into what’s not going well with their life – what they want to fix. They’re often surprised when I first make them tell me what is going well. Sometimes people struggle to even find one thing to focus on that they’re proud of. Part of our work together is shifting that perspective – less attention on all the things going “wrong” and focus on what is going well – even if you don’t “accomplish” a goal one week, what did you learn?

So, today, why not shed some light on the darkest day of the year and Look on the Bright Side? If you hate it, it’s the shortest day of the year ;).