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How a Pessimist became Practically Positive

I've always been a glass half-empty kind of girl; I'd always thought that if youexpect the worst you can't be disappointed. There are various reasons why I took this view on the world and whilst it had changed for the better after I had my son, who's now three and a half, I was still very much a pessimist. That was, until around six weeks ago.

I'm a freelance copywriter/social media manager/blogger – jack of all trades really – and six weeks ago I started working one day a week with the lovely Jen at Practically Positive. I'm a big fan of psychology and what makes people tick, so it was a subject I was already really interested in, which is always a good start, the only problem was I was having to resume commuting which I swore I'd never do again.

So, I started work and signed up for all the right Google alerts, read articles from tweets and Facebook links, searched for quotes and images on kindness and positivity and really found myself getting sucked into all this 'happy clappy stuff' as my husband calls it. Only what I realised was it's not actually just 'happy clappy'. So, how did it convince me?

Whilst subscribing to the Action for Happiness newsletter, I came across a
website called Happy Rambles. In short, they send you an email each evening
and you reply saying what you've been grateful for that day. The 'Rambles'
appear on your profile on the website and only you can see them, although
you can choose to email them to others if you like. The first couple of rambles
were obviously related to being grateful for my son and husband etc, then
I got into the swing of it and started looking at my day more closely, finding
there were actually loads of things I was grateful for; I hadn't missed the train,
the rain held off whilst I was walking, my son's smile when I collected him from
his childminder, that my husband was praised by his new boss, that I got the last
loaf of the bread I love... you get the idea.

I found that just the simple act of recalling these things really made me smile
and feel happy. I started to wake up to the fact that I had a great life, with people
I love and a strange thing happened. I started to feel content. I've also found that
I'm looking at things in a more positive light too. For example, last night I had to 
get home for an appointment but instead of leaving on time I stayed a few minutes
later trying to finish something, as is my want – I hate leaving things unfinished!
As a result I missed a DLR and then (also due to the shocking signage at Stratford) I got to my train just as it was pulling away from the platform.

Normally, I'd be fuming about this for hours and tweet my frustration or swear
copiously to myself. But last night I took a seat, got out my book and sat in the
glorious sunshine for half an hour. Something I wouldn't have been able to do if
I'd made the train and made all the more enjoyable having been in an office with
no windows all day.

This morning as I got to the station I saw a young girl in her early twenties
sitting on a bench crying. I'm a bit of a coward in general, so would usually feel for
her but walk on by, but this morning I stopped and asked if she was ok and gave her a smile and a tissue. She smiled back and told me she was fine, so I went on my way up the platform thinking to myself 'blimey, what happened to you?' but I'm sure it's reading about how random acts of kindness really can make someone's day and encourages them to pay it forward by doing the same for someone else.

I really believe that a few days working with Jen and Practically Positive, focussing 
on positivity and kindness and really thinking about what I'm grateful for has had
what I hope to be a lifelong impression on me to change from being a diehard
pessimist into an optimist of sorts. A colleague was late in this morning having been to get some holiday vaccinations and when he said his arm was sore, my immediate response was 'it may be sore now, but those jabs are allowing you to go on a fantastic holiday and be confident you won't get any nasty bugs'. I'm looking for silver linings all over the place.

I may not be a glass half-full kind of girl just yet, but I'm definitely a girl who's very
happy to have a glass and something to put in it.


Well being


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