Photo: Rebecca Murphy

Walking among the hundreds of pebbles and shells on the beach, my son picked one up and shouted, “Look, Mom!! This one’s a heart! It really has been a perfect day!”

Was it really a perfect day? Not so much. Our morning was filled with battles over excessive screen time and endless requests to complete household chores. Not to mention, we got a very late start to our family outing, and we were down one family member because he couldn’t get off from work. So in reality, it was not perfect, but my son chose to see it that way.

We live in a society that spoon feeds us negativity. And despite being bombarded with negativity, we can choose how we perceive the world. We can focus on the obvious or we can shift our perspective to see the good and all the possibilities out there. We can celebrate the ‘what’s working now’ and recognize all the great qualities we bring to the party.

Studies have shown that positivity and hope have an increased effect on health, creativity, performance, and the ability to overcome obstacles. When you focus on the good, you allow more good to enter your life! Better yet, when you focus on the good, you are modeling a positive attitude for your children who will naturally follow your example! Don’t you think it’s worth the effort?

Challenge yourself!!  Train your brain to see past the negativity out there and find the good. Here are seven quick tips to help shift your focus.

1. Practice Reframing. Flip those negative thoughts so they have a positive spin. Rather than think of what you have to do, think about what you get to do.

2. Start a Gratitude Journal. Jot down the people, the moments or thoughts that brought you joy during the day. Write about something you’re looking forward to or perhaps something that made you smile. If journaling is not your thing, there are some excellent Gratitude Apps out there you may like.

3. Say ‘Thank You’. Recognize the special people you mentioned in your gratitude journal with a handwritten thank you note! The appreciation you display in your note will feel good for you and the recipient.

4. Volunteer. Widen your lens and see the world from a different perspective.  When you find a need in your community, fill it.  It is such a ‘positivity’ boost to be helpful and productive for others.

5. Reassess Your Fuel Source. If you’re fueled by social media, news, and adrenaline, it’s time to re-anchor yourself. Consider a healthier self-care regimen that includes moving your body every day, staying hydrated, pausing to regroup your thoughts, and saying ‘no’ to activities that don’t serve you a purpose.

6. Allow Yourself Some Grace. Life is not a ‘measure up’ experience. Set goals, not expectations. It’s okay to be where you are right now. Celebrate your strengths!

7. Smile. If only for yourself, a quick smile instantly boosts your mood and can shift your perspective. Plus, who doesn’t look good sporting a smile?!

When my son held up his treasure on the beach, at first glance, it was just a rock. A small little pebble amongst hundreds of others on the beach. But with a simple shift in perspective, it became a heart. This small, simple shift in perception can make all the difference in how you live your life and approach situations. We often miss these beautiful symbols in life because we are not looking out for them. Imagine the possibilities and potential we could bring to light just by keeping our eyes and hearts focused on the positivity surrounding us.


This post originally appeared on Real Life Parent Coaching Blog.