A couple months ago I read this really great article from theodysseyonline.com and have used the reference in my groups many times! It always turns out to be one of my favorite (and most meaningful) activities.
Bottom line, there is good to find in every situation, no matter what. Yes, it’s hard to think about at the time, but with practice and patience, it becomes easier to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ or ‘the bigger picture’ or whatever other cliche you want to use to describe it. Just practice and be more mindful.
The exercise goes like this:
- One by one, go through each negative situation and read it out loud.
- After reading it, challenge yourself to come up with at least FIVE good things that could come from each situation.
- After, reflect on how you feel. The objective is to feel more optimistic and at-ease, rather than letting something small ruin your day.
- Example: The situation is – Someone cut you off in traffic and you almost got into an accident.
- The positives…
- 1. I DIDN’T get into an accident, so lets not overreact for too long or dwell on it.
- 2. I’m still going to make it to my destination.
- 3. I am lucky to have a car in the first place.
- 4. The other person probably feels sorry (and if they don’t, oh well! Sometimes we have to trick ourselves into believing so.)
- 5. I can turn up the music, put myself in a better mood, and go on with my day.
- and so on.
Here are some really good examples that I use titled: 10 Negative Situations Turned Positive from the Odyssey. The situations they give are –
- Your alarm went off
- The weather sucks
- You feel a cold coming on
- Someone took the last donut
- You’re stuck in traffic
- You thought it was Friday…it’s Wednesday
- Your favorite clothing item is dirty
- Everyone on Instagram has a better life than you
- You failed an exam
- Your expectations weren’t met
The idea is to make the situations as real or ‘everyday’ as possible. The ones listed above are very typical and happen day-to-day. So how are you going to choose to respond to them? Be creative with your positive outcomes!