have. In other words, we need to shift our focus to all that
we can be grateful for and appreciate as often as possible.
Here are three easy, highly effective methods that you can
use anytime and anywhere for doing just that:
1 Play the “What If” Game Positively
We all play the “what if” game, but mostly, we play it
negatively: What if I’m late? What if the traffic is awful?
What if I’ve got cancer? What if I’ve got Alzheimer’s? What
if I can’t get a job? What if, what if, what if.
Instead, play the “what if” game positively: What if
other people are late, too, and nobody notices I came in
late? What if the traffic is easier than I thought? What if
it’s not cancer but just indigestion? What if my tumor is
benign? What if I just forgot something? After all, people
forget things all the time—it doesn’t have to be Alzheimer’s.
What if there are plenty of jobs out there and I just haven’t
looked in the right place yet?
By thinking in terms of the positive possibilities of
“what if,” you immediately relax a little, which sends the
message to your immune system that it doesn’t have to go
into that emergency fight-or-flight mode, which is hard
on your health. Your heart rate goes back to normal,
blood starts flowing more readily to your brain, your
outlook improves, and you’re in better shape.
2 Appreciate What Is
Take a page from any optimist’s playbook: Don’t
dwell on what isn’t working, what you don’t have,
or what you can’t do. Appreciate what is going
right, what you do have, and what you can do.
Of course, if the diagnosis is cancer, you’re not
going to appreciate having cancer. But you can
appreciate that you have access to resources—that
there are great doctors out there, that cancer survivors
give wonderful support, and that prayer from your friends
and family works.
If you’re hung up in traffic—to take a more mundane
example—appreciate that you’re safe and dry in your car or
the bus, and that you finally have the time to listen to that
audiobook or podcast. Appreciate that somehow you always
get where you need to go eventually.
No matter what the situation is, look to what you can
value here and now, just like AMP 1’s stand-up basketball-playing amputees—the only such team in the country.
These players—who’ve lost their legs—look to their arms,
their brains, and their love of the sport to make a new and
satisfying life for themselves.
3 Reminisce Constructively
Most of us, when faced with a situation we don’t like,
reminisce destructively. We tell others, “I’ve always had
problems with my health,” “I’ve never had any luck with
doctors,” “It takes me forever to find a job,” “The worst thing
always happens to me,” or “Watch—everyone in the office
will know I’m late; it never fails.”
We’ve all had our ups and downs, so focus more on the
ups you’ve had and not the downs. Remember the times
when you’ve healed easily from something, when a doctor
steered you on the right path, when you found a job you
liked. Even if you have to dig deep into your childhood, I
guarantee if you look hard enough, you’ll find times when
things went right.
Mindfully focus on these memories to give your body
and your mind a chance to relax and be at ease. That’s when
good things happen, when you’re positive about life. It all
comes down to the old saying, “Attitude is everything.”
So even if you can’t remember where you put the car keys
for the moment, remember that whatever your attitude is
about aging, or about anything else, that attitude will often
be self-fulfilling. So why not make it a positive one?
you’re positive about
life. It all comes
down to … “Attitude