Friday, January 27, 2012

One Benefit of Imagining the Worst

This week, I learn that sometimes fear and imagining the worst motivates folks more than hope.  Instead of putting up photos of your dream life, viewing photos of terrible situations (the opposite of what you hope for) motivates more powerfully, especially in terms of fitness and weight loss.  Researchers wonder if the brain responds more rapidly and thoroughly to fear

Then, I read this morning how people who imagine how bad a situation could be tend to overflow with gratitude and love.

Is God trying to teach me something?  But I love positivity!  What about living with flair?

So I try it.  I'm in the shower, and I imagine--with all my heart and all my senses--a freezing cold flow against my shoulders.  Suddenly, the reality of that warm, steaming shower makes my heart so very thankful.  Thank you God for this shower!  Thank you for water in my city!  Thank you for warmth!  Thank you that I can even stand up unassisted in this shower!  Thank you that I'm thankful and not depressed right now.  Thank you that I can blog about it!  Thank you for the internet!  Thank you for blogging!  Thank you for readers!  Thank you for. . .

I find I cannot stop.  I imagine what's worse, and indeed, it works today.  Living with flair means that negative thoughts--how bad it could be--fuel motivation and thankfulness.  Who knew?

Did it work for you?


Megan Willome said...

That's funny. I can come up with a worst-case scenario in seconds. And yet, I'm relatively happy.

Dan Russell said...

I have learned - it's taken me a while - that one secret to happiness is lowered expectations.  Sounds kind of pessimistic (Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy from SNL cones to mind), but I find it true that if I expect very little, I am more often pleasantly surprised at how good a positive outcome I experience.  When my expectations are low, and I experience more than I expect, I am happy.  But, when I raise my expectations, I am often faced with disappointment because I don't achieve what I expected.    So, I try to expect little, and then rejoice in the abundance when what I experience exceeds my expectations.

Italian Mama said...

It works for me everyday.  I try to teach my children the same strategy so that they learn contentment.