Every person craves more happiness and less suffering.
I think this universal desire unites us all; no matter who you are, I assume that you want to feel good as often as possible. I can also assume that, like me, there are moments every day that lead you to feel negative emotions – anger, sadness, loneliness, etc.
We all know intellectually that there are people who have it worse than we do. I can rattle off dozens of scenarios that make me cringe and count my blessings that I have the life that I do. The problem is that in my moments of sadness, anger and hurt these mental ideas offer me no real comfort. “Yeah, yeah, I’m lucky to live the way that I do.” I grumble to myself, but my emotional state doesn’t change and I remain in a bad mood.
But over the past few years I’ve created a simple technique to quickly shift my perspective so that I’m feeling grateful and blessed and I want to share it with you.
I’ve realized that a fast way to shift my emotional state is to use videos. My thoughts and emotions can be quickly influenced by the combination of sound and visuals. So I’ve created a file in my email system and one on my iPad. These two files are called “Shifting Perspectives” and “Feeling Better”. When I find a video that moves me emotionally – a soldier coming home and greeting his daughter at school, a man tearing up as he holds his newborn baby, a devoted dog comforting its master, and the best – a baby cackling with laughter over the simplest thing – I send it to myself as an email and add it to my folder.
When I realize that my mood is sinking, I try to remember to go to this folder right away. I know that there is no prize for staying blue; my perspective isn’t validated because I sit in it and talk about my unhappiness for hours. If I need to share with someone in order to resolve a situation, then I call a close friend or my mom and do that, and then I get down to the task of shifting my emotional state.
I know that my best solutions will come not from my negative emotional state but from a positive, empowered one. Once I’ve shifted and I feel more optimistic I’m more creative, powerful and kind.
Here is one of my favorites to get you started: