March 24, 2017
How To: Make Any Day Brighter
Having spent countless hours in convention centers and expo halls across the globe, I’m no stranger to having to put on a good show (and a fake smile) while having a crummy day. Undoubtedly, there are a number of ways to cope, but none of them seem to translate well for those who have to be somewhere at a certain time (and, really, those are the days ‘we need space’ the very most). Fortunately, early on, I discovered a handy little trick that pleasantly distracts the stressed out part of my mind and brightens up any day. Bonus: this trick can be used in virtually any setting, any time, any place…
As soon as you spot someone, immediately think of something you sincerely like about that person.
Focus on that thing you like, rather than whatever else is bothering you in the world, and it will inevitably make for more positive interactions and ultimately prove to be an uplifting way to make any day better. The key to this is sincerity, if you’re faking it, you’ll know – and you’re doing this for yourself, so don’t cheat yourself out of a better day!
This “something” can be anything at all, and remember, this is for your mind only, there’s no need to tell the person what you’re thinking about, or explain why you’re smiling. Be creative. Maybe he has a funny tie, or she has immaculately manicured nails. Perhaps you find something about this person physically attractive (it’s your thing, go with it). Maybe the portfolio she’s carrying shows her impeccable knack for organization, or perhaps you notice his Android background is a photo of his daughters, and you get the sense he’s a wonderful dad…. You don’t know, so just pretend the glass is more than half full; it’s ready to overflow with positive vibes, and your psyche will follow along with you. Your day will be right-side up before you know it! Besides, one can only play so many rounds of “Who’d You Rather” before that gets old (or supremely awkward).
This can also work if you do know the people around you (for instance, at the office); maybe you admire a coworker for recently having started studying something he’s always wanted to learn, or possibly the CFO is a 3rd degree Black Belt, and you know that’s super-badass. Anything, physical, spiritual, whatever level you can get to, just focus your attention on that positive something about them, and it will subtly radiate in your conversation and reflect in your gestures.
When you have positive thoughts toward someone, they are more incline to return the good vibes. There was an interesting Adelphi University study called, “Believing another likes or dislikes you: Behaviors making the beliefs come true”, which really is about just that… essentially, the participants involved in the study ended up liking those who pretended to like them in the first place, which can cause genuine friendships to erupt from the inevitable volcano of positivity that you’ll personify when implementing this little trick.
But wait, there are even more selfish reasons to try this out! In general, positive thinking can increase life span, lower rates of depression, strengthen the body’s natural immunity, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve your coping skills during times of stress, among other noteworthy benefits.
This is a nice way to calm nerves too, for those who get anxious or nervous at times. When your mind is occupied while trying to think of (and focus on) something positive about someone else, you lose sense of your own insecurities in the process. This in itself can be a very liberating process for those who sometimes cringe at the thought of interacting with throngs of strangers.
Bonus: for those of us who would rather juggle loaded pistols in a lightning storm than chat about the weather, this little trick also helps makes ‘small talk’ slightly tolerable.
Take it up a notch: If (and only if) your positive thought is appropriate, feel free to share it with him / her, but don’t feel pressured to do so. You don’t want to seem like fawning loony-bird, or closet creeper. But, unless you know this person is a convicted murderer on death row (in which case, I recommend making a graceful exit from the situation), there’s probably something pleasant you can think of while you’re interacting.
So, the next time you find yourself having a less-than-stellar day, make positive thoughts about those around you a priority and examine the effects of your new-found good vibes on the mood in the room and also the tone of your day. Don’t forget your shades because you’ll be looking on the bright side in no time at all!