When the snow began to fall this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, my niece Dawn ran outside to gather the daffodils that only a few days earlier had brought the promise of spring. Instead of wallowing in the negative turn the weather had taken, Dawn found a way to save a bit of spring and the good feelings it carried with it, and to capture and share those feelings on Facebook, which made others happy, as well.
Her photograph brought two things to mind for me. First, how wonderful it is when we capture happy and second, Van Gogh’s quote that “A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.” Why not do a good deed for yourself this week and picture yourself happy as a way to raise your positivity levels?
Picture Yourself Happy
Here in sunny Florida this weekend, during a Wishful Thinking Women gathering, we talked about the power we each have to interrupt difficult or frustrating moments by pausing for a second to notice how we are feeling – stressed, nervous, angry, sad, scared, ashamed and/or frustrated. When you identify stressful feelings, two things happen:
- You pull yourself into the moment, which immediately reduces the intensity of the feeling, because it no longer has a complete hold on you, and
- You add a bit of objectivity to the situation, because awareness always causes us to step back – if even for a moment – and can help us refocus our attention, if we choose to.
If you do decide to switch gears, you can then picture yourself happy by bringing to mind a moment or memory that you enjoy. The second you do, your brain will change its mind, so to speak, and release an entirely different set of chemicals and hormones designed specifically to produce and prolong positivity.
When I want to redirect my feelings or simply increase my level of happiness, I picture myself running out of the house at the age of 8 or 9 – chores done, screen door slamming behind me as I enjoy that rich and wonderful sense of pure summer freedom.
The more often you picture happy the easier it will be to be feel positive on a regular basis, and over time you will increase the likelihood of creating new, positive neurological and life pathways.
I love that in the middle of disappointing weather, Dawn took the time to capture happy by gathering daffodils and to “picture” happy by noticing and sharing the beauty even a spring snow storm can create. I am sure Van Gogh would see her work as a very good deed.
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