Sometimes I have the opportunity to read the blog, "The Happiness Project" (www.happiness-project.com), written by Gretchen Rubin. (There is a book by the same name, a predecessor to the blog, that was given to me by my sister. I find the subject to be well worth my time and energy.) A few days ago, one of the ideas about which the author wrote was that people with intensely positive or intensely negative personalities annoy one another, and that the people with these personalities can't convert the others into thinking and feeling differently. I have never been one to attempt to convince or convert people, save some times when it's been very trivial. One of my goals is to validate people's feelings about their experiences and situations, no matter what they are. And though I agree that conversion is never really a possibility, I do believe that my thoughts are products of choice; I "think" in a way that is flavored by emotions that I've attributed to the thought. I too often assign emotion to experiences or occurrences or inflection of voice, etc. This emotion is generally Debbie Downer in nature. I feel like every day something or someone surprises me, and today I surprised myself. Even though I was feeling pretty stressed and vaguely unhappy when I went to work, I changed myself so that I could lead a group session effectively. And I did this by deciding, by intentionally speaking differently and breathing differently and making myself smile. All of these actions have physiological effects that elevate one's mood. The choices to do things like smile trick the body into thinking it's happy, as usually the only time one smiles is when, in fact, one is happy.
I did that. I tricked myself and it worked. The group was engaged, I felt connected to my clients, and I was enjoying myself (I usually do, but today I had to use extra effort).
Thanks for reading.