Wednesday, July 7, 2010


“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” This quote, which we discuss in the stress management class that I teach, is to me a great argument in favor of optimism. Our beliefs are the raw ingredients that simmer up into the smorgasbord that is life as we know it. Whether we find the meal disappointing, or a feast of delicious flavors that get better with every bite, wholly depends on what thoughts we dump into the stew. The tricky part with this analogy is that while in actually cooking a meal we are conscious (hopefully) of the ingredients that we are adding, we are not as conscious of our thought patterns, and so ingredients can end up in the stew that don’t taste very good.

Negative thinking is insidious. It stems from fear, which is pervasive in human nature. And while I do honor the gift that fear provides us in our human evolution, I believe that we are here to learn the truth of how very unnecessary it is.

When I get caught up in fear, and so negative thinking, I hardly notice it at first. It builds over a few days, and then suddenly I become aware that I am more distracted, and worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. As our Rev. Ken at Unity says, I get caught up in “awfulizing.” Instead of being easy my life becomes a series of issues that I need to power through, and it’s just no fun.

Optimism is a simple and effective tool for counteracting negative thinking. Rather than standing by and letting the unproductive thoughts feed on themselves and grow stronger, optimism shifts our focus to make room for our good. It helps redirect our attention to the truth that is always waiting for us to embrace, that what we expect we always find, without exception.

Count your blessings. Journal five things that you are grateful for every day. Laugh. Some of these tools for increasing our optimism can seem fluffy and unhelpful, but to me they are the very crux of creating the life of our dreams. In counting my blessings my eyes open to see that all things are possible. With my attention strongly on all that is worthy of my gratitude, the universe cannot help but respond in kind with even more expressions of grace. And in laughing my body finds its ever-present vibration of joy.

May you laugh often and be grateful for your blessings, and may this tool be a blessing. . .


  1. I love this -- laughter as the vibration of joy!

    Fantastic post!

    The High Calling Blog community very much appreciates your thoughtful posts!

    All's grace,
    Ann Voskamp

  2. it is interesting reading about others journey. i was depressed and negative for a long time. Full of guilt and shame at the inability to live a 'godly' life. What I have discovered it that there is no outer life with out inner life development. The reason I started my blog was to chart my journey of discover. As you say negativity is a killer - and it was killing me. Thanks for your post i enjoyed it. When you have time come visit me - it would be great to keep in touch.

  3. Hi Sherrie

    Great post about optimism and the great benefits of positivity. On my own journey, I had to totally relearn my thinking patterns. I used to go around just waiting for the piano to fall out of the air and land on me.
    Today instead of focussing on the worse possible outcome, I focus on the best possible outcome. My glass is always half full.
    Smiles and blessings.