By Lori Hanson
Did you know that one of the most important things to being happy and getting what you want in life is simply to stay in the place of feeling good? Sounds too simple to be true doesn’t it? That’s because we often over complicate what we need to do in life to grow, achieve more, and get better results.
Here’s the catch, of the thousands of thoughts (~60,000 – 70,000) you have on a daily basis, for most people 80% of them are negative. Stop and think about it. How often do you pat yourself on the back and say “Hey you, what a great job!” or “Hey, self, that was awesome, I’m proud of you.” Nope, for most people it’s more like “You idiot, I can’t believe you forgot to do that,” or “Well I knew I would screw that up and there you go. I can’t do anything right.” Worse yet, there’s the “Look at you, you’re fat, disgusting and ugly.” Not exactly the best way to make yourself feel good is it?
This morning came the time–I woke up and knew it had to be today. I didn’t really want to do it, but knew it had to be done because it’s good for…wait for it….the yard. Yup, I got up and in the reprieve of another warm fall day decided to get those leaves raked and off the beautiful new sod that I put down in May.
I was spoiled for four years in So Cal because I didn’t have falling leaves to rake. So with a bit of attitude “Okay, let me just knock this out and get it done,” Sasha and I got to raking the leaves.
The most wonderful thing happened. The smell of the leaves, the action of raking and putting the leaves in the big ole garbage bag brought me back to the days when I was a young girl. And I forgot about how much I didn’t want to do it
From the age of 10-21, my family lived just outside of Columbus, Ohio on five and a half acres. I got a lot of practice raking leaves back then (and mowing the yard). In those days we burned the leaves. This morning while picking up leaves and putting them in the bags, I could smell the burning leaves from my childhood. I always loved that smell.
I remember running and jumping with our dog into the pile of leaves and giggling with delight. Oh how I enjoyed living in a place where we had a huge yard, a pond in the backyard (where we ice skated in winter) and a fifteen acre field next door where we rode our horse.
Suddenly, here I am in the midst of doing something I had been dreading for a couple of weeks, totally and completely immersed in the smell, feel and vivid memory of childhood. Then with a smile, I remembered going with the family to the Centerville Pumpkin Festival. I was right there walking the streets, past the largest pumpkin contest, and stopping to gaze in the front window of the bakery where every year they made the largest pumpkin pie. This pie was usually about five feet in diameter and caused an instant pavlovian drool response from me.
By now I’m down to two small piles of leaves. Sasha is basking in the sun a few feet away. I’m totally enjoying what I’m doing because I’ve taken myself to another time and space where just thinking about fall makes me smile and lets Little Lori come out to play.
My clients hear this from me all the time. When you get focused on something that doesn’t make you feel good, all you need to do is switch to something that DOES make you feel good. This was a real life example of turning a dreaded task into a lot of fun that made it go quickly. It also changed the tone for the morning and the day because now I’m in a much more playful and spontaneous place.
Give it a shot. Next time you realize you’re sinking into negative, destructive thoughts, shift to something that makes you feel good. It will alter the course of your day, in a very positive way.