Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Cheerful Disposition

I know that I'm very blessed to have a naturally cheerful disposition. I'm not bragging, because it's not through any effort of my own, but one of the gifts God has given me. Truthfully, it's one of the aspects of my personality that has served me best throughout my life. I feel that I have a tendency to make the best of my situation, and so I don't feel too overwhelmed very often. This is a good defense against my natural nervousness and anxiety. I believe that one can cultivate a cheerful disposition as well, and that it would be useful for everyone to do so.

I think one of the best ways to make the best of a situation is to look for the solution. Being action oriented is an excellent way to counteract the panic or sadness that can come from an unfortunate event. Of course, I do not mean to say that some sadness isn't natural. The death of a loved one, for example, isn't a solvable problem and grieving should be allowed to happen naturally. I'm referring to small events in life that seem to build up until everything seems bad. Things like flat tires, or getting cut off in traffic, messing up a project you're working on or forgetting to buy a needed ingredient. These are all things in our lives that can be worked out and immediate action can be taken. Action to solve a problem is the best way to counteract the anxiety that comes with these events.

Another good solution is to remove yourself from the situation. If you've made a mistake on something you're making, for example, it may be better to put the project away for a time and take a walk instead. You'll be able to clear your head and avoid making another rash mistake in your frustration. Perhaps forgetting about it for a while will allow you to see the problem from a new angle when you come back to it. It will also help dampen the emotional reaction that can come into play when knitting has to be ripped back, or seams need to be undone.

These are good ways to deal with frustration, but there are also some tactics to help lower your overall levels of frustration. Try to think of positive things. Start making lists of these things so you can literally see your blessings piling up. List a good thing that happened to you everyday. List a good thing you accomplished. List a gift in your life that you'd like to thank God for. And, very importantly for brightening your attitude, list one thing in which you can find a blessing which would seem otherwise like a frustrating thing. This last can be difficult for some people, because it's hard not to see things as all bad or all good. A small example of this technique could be, even though the fire alarm woke me up the other night and scared me badly, I'm grateful that is was a false alarm, and it has given me an interesting story to amuse my family.

This may seem silly, but so many people revert automatically to anger when confronted with a roadblock. It is so much more constructive and healthful to respond with humor. This can be learned, but it must be practiced as much as possible. So, think of the roses when you're sometimes confronted with thorns.

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