‘Always look on the bright side of life,’ so the song goes. Well it’s definitely easier said than done.
One of my greatest thrills is when I see someone take a step forward and start climbing upwards out of the particular hole into which they have fallen over time. As one client put it, it is like moving ‘from the darkness into the light’. Of course it is not an overnight miracle but takes time and effort. With the right amount of support, knowledge, perseverance and self belief people can make more positive choices.
I’ve had many clients over the years with pessimistic and negative views of life. These may be because of family, health, work, friends, money or other problems. We know that if not handled they can lead to stress and even long lasting depression.
Like everyone I have had times when I feel down or anxious, angry or frustrated. However, I realised that I had never truly understood depression until my mother died several years ago. My father left us early in the piece and my mother became everything to my sister and me. When she died I sank into a deep hole of grief. It felt as if there was a huge black cloud hovering over me.
Thankfully I had terrific support and was able to wallow in my sadness until the black cloud lifted some time later. So what did I learn from that? As a psychologist I have a wealth of training and book learning, but real life builds a much deeper appreciation of my clients’ experiences than academic studies alone.
A significant part of my practice is in the corporate sector. I am presently seeing so much conflict, anger, stress and team dysfunction it make me wonder how some organisations actually keep producing. I have a pretty good understanding of what some of these people are going through, gained through the experience of surviving a very messy business break up some years ago. This left me feeling helpless and hopeless and cost me a lot of money. Although I did not really ‘get’ it at the time, the lessons from that experience have proven invaluable and the mistakes I made then have definitely not been repeated. So what did I learn from that?
All this has shown me that from every tragedy, crisis or bad experience we can find a silver lining. Not in an ‘airy fairy’ way but to learn or experience something positive as a result. It may be a small or huge thing. We can frequently ‘turn the downside up’ even if we need to get help.
Over the years I have discovered a passion for helping people be the best they can. This may be as a person, a friend, a partner, a family member, a parent or a work colleague. I want to share with you some of the ‘hows’ they can do this.
My topics will include individual and workplace stories with examples of how people have made positive changes and gotten themselves a new lease of life. I will talk about things such as confidence, self belief, self awareness, optimism and even luck, in helping to become a more positive thinker. For example did you know that optimists live 20% longer? This is because they roll with the punches better, cope better with change, conflict and uncertainty and generally have better health as a result.
Stay tuned for my next topic ‘Stop being SAD at Springtime’
Have a look at www.shortpoppiescangrow.com, a book I have co-authored containing great tips and ideas on how to be more confident. Also check out our soon to be released new e-book ‘Don’t Kill Your Hamster: How to be successful despite yourself’ which covers many of these issues.
Now it’s your turn…