There is a lot that can get in the way of enjoying the present moment. The world tempts us to be anxious and assume the worst of others. Social media, any news outlet, and even our own instant communication is loud and can quickly spread fear and worry. We can end up feeling like we have an elephant sitting on our chest and falling back into old coping patterns. While it can be difficult to pull ourselves out of these feelings or even simply acknowledge these feelings, there is no better time than now to take the opportunity to do just that and focus on the good that is around us.
The phrase “holding on to the good” or “focus on the good” has come up several times for me over the last few months. This idea of focusing on the good sounds so simple, yet it is amazing to me how difficult it can be. Our culture sometimes seems to feed off of conflict and the “bad.” The conflict between countries, between people and between political parties, you name it, it is what we seem to focus on. But the good is there as well, and it is what is standing when the chaos falls away.
But how do we turn toward the good? How do we begin to focus on it and be intentional about “punctuating and amplifying” (as a well-loved mentor once said) the good?
I would offer that when we see good we say it out loud. Speak the good into existence. You see a parent lovingly tending to his or her child in a shopping cart, speak it. Someone holds open the door for you at the gas station, speak that gratitude out loud. And don’t just speak it, say it with intention, with eye contact and a smile. And then look for ways to be the good that someone else needs to see. Joy is contagious just as much as the other stuff.
Lastly, I would encourage you to start looking for things to be grateful for in your life. Begin that journal, that daily list, or that family discussion at the dinner table now. And if you forget after a few days, that’s ok too; start again. Be specific, and challenge yourself to look for those things throughout the day. Look for the good, look for the joy, and look for the displays of love.
Meet the author: Lisa Tyndall, PhD, LMFT is the Northeast Chapter Director of the NCAMFT Board, and Integrated Care Consultant at the NC Center for Excellence for Integrated Care. Learn more about Dr. Tyndall on LinkedIn.