I watched this TedTalk video this morning about a trick in positive thinking. Watch it here. What was interesting to me about her explanation is the difficulty people have in seeing the positive in once the negative narrative has been delivered. Though I like to think of myself as an optimist and a relatively positive person, when she spoke about coming home from work and regaling the story of a long day to her husband and he said "Well what good happened today?" I was suddenly thrown off the cardio machine from which I was watching it.
Growing up, at some point, when my mother told me goodnight, she started to say "two good things" and I had to come up with two good things that happened that day.
The art of this practice got lost overtime, but for a really long part of my childhood and early adulthood, my mother reminded me to speak out loud about two good things that happened that day as it was coming to an end.
Often we forget to see those things. Often we forget to remind ourselves of what good came of the day, because of the things that annoyed us or went wrong either made for a better story to regale or it just took over that part of the brain where optimism wasn't present. Today after my workout, I noticed the light came on for a flat tire, then I dropped the last jar of my favorite salsa on the grocery store aisle. When I got home, the first thing I told my better half, was to make fun of myself for my clumsiness and point out the flat tire notification.
And mind you, this was AFTER, I watched that TedTalk...see how easily we can forget the things that we learn, in order to change our behavior?
If I were to be asked now by my mom what are two good things that happened today? I could name 5, I could say, I got in two great workouts, I got a solid 7 hours of sleep, I worked on my book, I wrote a blog post, I sang Happy Birthday to my sister, and, I could probably name more too. Or I could say, I wish my mom was here to remind me. That I miss her. I wish I could tell her those things. But I can hear her now, "Wait, I asked for two good things. That's all. If you want to tell me the sad or annoying things, get those over with first, then end on the two good things. So, Haddles, two good things, or 5 or 20, what are they?"
So my friends, from my mother's lips, to your consideration...two good things?