The Power of Positivity

An Attitude of Gratitude

A few months ago, I had a good long look in the mirror and realized I was being a bit more negative than I care for. I was self-deprecating and always on the lookout for that other shoe to drop. Guess what? When you are looking for the shoe to drop, it will.

On that day of realization, I decided I was going to try something. I was going to start a gratitude journal. You know how much I love a journal…

I don’t have a problem. I can stop anytime I want… I just don’t want to. ­čÖé

I chose the journal at the bottom of the pile above because it was the tallest and prettiest one I hadn’t earmarked for a book yet. Plus, the cover said: Make Today Ridiculously Amazing. I mean, it was practically begging to be used as a gratitude journal.

With a new pencil in hand, (I use a pencil in all of my journals. It makes me less anxious if I make a mistake I can erase it) I started by writing the date and Day 1. On that day, I thanked a friend for realizing she too needed to start practicing gratitude. We took the journey together.

So, after 100 days of writing down something daily that I was grateful for, what have I discovered?

I forgot about the shoe. You know? That bad thing that always seemed like it was looming. It wasn’t even on my radar. Do you know what was? A positive outlook and attitude. I began to see all of the good things in my life. Sure, bad stuff happened, but I didn’t harp on it. I looked at what I was grateful for in that situation.

For instance, I have Ulcerative Colitis. Flares are a thing that come and go, no matter how good your med regimen or habits are. It’s an autoimmune thing that doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. I had a pretty nasty flare during this time, but instead of harping on how miserable I was, I was instead, grateful for the medicines I had to help heal me. Grateful to be able to work from home. Grateful I could lay down when I needed to. Grateful that my children were able to help pick up the household slack. It made dealing with the flare so much easier to deal with when I focused on the things I had than stressing about the things I didn’t have (a healthy colon.)

Even the snow that just fell. I hate snow. Well, hate is a strong word. I dislike it with a passion. Or rather, I hate driving in it or shoveling it. Mostly shoveling it. I have a bad back so a shovel almost always means I’ll be in lots of discomfort after a snowstorm. We just had a storm. I grumbled, yes. But then, I realized it was only a few inches of light and fluffy stuff. And it turned the boring brown grass a beautiful and renewing white. I was grateful it was so light. Grateful I had a new shovel to help ease back discomfort. Grateful I have someone who can plow for me when the snow gets high.

With the new year right around the corner, instead of making a resolution, why not make the decision to be grateful? You could get a journal like me, or you could just sit with your morning coffee and reflect on what you are grateful for. You might be surprised how your outlook can change once you start paying attention to all the good in your life instead of searching for the negative. Because I guarantee, if you look for the bad you WILL find it. But the same can be said for the good.

The only question becomes, what are you seeking? Because that is what you’ll find.

Danielle Bannister a.k.a Dani Bannister, author and gratitude seeker.

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The Power of Positivity, writing

I just made a Brag Board, and you should, too

A few days ago, I saw another author, Tawna Fenske, had shared on her wall that her husband had made her a drool-worthy To-Do board, but above it was a cork board entitled “Shit to be proud of in 2019.” She said about the board that “it was a gift to myself. I have a tendency to get so caught up my urge to be hyper-productive that I forget to pause and pat myself on the back for things I’ve achieved. On days where I’m knocked down a peg by a bad review or a book that’s not flowing the way I want it to, I’ll be able to glance up and go, ‘Hey, dumbass, you actually did some good stuff in the last 12 months.'”

You know what? She is absolutely right. In making my year-end Newsletter post, I realized, to my surprise, that I’d release three books in 2018. THREE!! Me, the part-time author. That is the sort of thing that needs to go on a brag board!

It is beyond frustrating to me that I tend to get stuck on the things that didn’t go my way, vs the things that did: A book release ‘failed,’ I wasn’t invited to a signing, or even a simple word count goal wasn’t met. I’m building a rain cloud over my writing without even realizing it. I need to cut that crap out. Time to let the sunshine in.

Here is my brag board. An empty magnetic whiteboard. By December 2019, my goal is to have this filled with positivity. I’ll be focusing my board on things that happened in my writing career but these could be used in any part of yours or your kid’s lives. You could even do a scrapbook instead of a board. I prefer this board. It sits right beside me. Right in my line of sight. Right next to my keyboard, ready to shine its light on me.┬á

In March, I’ll report back on how the board is going.┬á In the meantime, I invite you to take this challenge with me. Let’s do all the good things together in 2019!

The Power of Positivity

Start Where You Are…

For Christmas, my sister got me a gift certificate to Amazon. My intention had been to buy some much-needed clothing, or some novels I’ve been dying to read, but instead, I purchased something my soul was hungry for: Positivity.

You see, over the last several years, I’ve noticed I’ve become more cynical than I used to be. I blame the horrific dating scene for the beginning of that downward spiral, but I digress.┬á At work and with friends, I would tend to get hung up on whatever bad thing was happening: car repair, a sick child, more snow…you get the point.

how could

That’s when it hit me: I was turning into a bitter old lady.┬á Snarky, I was okay with, but whoever was emerging, I was not. How could things possibly get any better if I never took my eyes off the ground to look for the rainbows? This realization hit at the start of the New Year. A good a time as any to make a change.

Thus began my hunt for some books on the topic. There were several self-help and how-to manuals on positivity, but I knew myself. I wasn’t going to read them. They’d sit on the shelf and collect dust. No. I needed something less passive. Something that demanded something of me. That’s when I stumbled upon these beauties. (Note: Maine doesn’t allow affiliate links so I don’t make a cent if you buy these.)

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These were the two I got. The positivity kit is just for fun, as you’ll see below. Something silly (yet reflective) for me to do at the end of a stressful day.

Positivity Kit.jpg

The second book takes itself more seriously. It is filled with inspirational quotes and is designed to make you do some hard work. The tiger one has been my favorite so far.

Start Where You Are

When the pages of these fill up, I’ll be on the hunt again for things to help, but for now, these workbooks are keeping me focused on my goal; challenging me to look at what I DO have and not what I don’t. And that can’t be such a bad thing.

Danielle Bannister, Author and colored-pencil fiend.

The Power of Positivity

The Power of Positivity?

I’ve heard this phrase a lot lately: Like attracts like. Meaning, you get what you give out. If you are a positive, outgoing person, those sorts of outcomes seem to fall into your lap. Whereas, if you have a dark cloud over your head, it seems to follow you wherever you go. You put out positive energy, positive energy finds you. You put out negative, negative energy latches on. Which, I notice to be true in my own life. I have friends who are just bursting with sunshine and rainbows despite what’s thrown at them and others who never seem to catch a break no matter how hard they try. Why is that? Could it really a simple mindset that is blessing or cursing us?

I mean, it seems too easy to think that it’s merely our own energy that shapes our destiny? Or maybe it’s really that hard.

Case in point. The other day, I went to see my folks for a belated Christmas due to a blizzard on the actual holiday. My mom put me and my kiddos up in a local hotel so we could spend extra time together. The hotel room was spacious and the kids love sleeping over. All was good and right with the world. Then the muffled talking from the room next door happened as we settled into bed. Followed by loud music, odd and random tapping noises and finally, dogs winning. At midnight, it was hard to find the positivity in the situation. But I tried, nonetheless, and believe it or not, the noise stopped. The children fell asleep, as did I. Coincidence? Probably. So I tried again.

The next day we drove home with a carload of gifts in the car in sub-zero┬átemps. We were all eager to get home and nap, unpack and chill for a bit. It had been a LONG few days for me and I was really craving my couch. Alas, a rest was not in the cards. During the night away, my pipes had frozen. Deep breaths were taken. Exhausted from a night of no sleep, I called my landlord’s son since my landlord was away for a few days, naturally, and he came over to help.

Though it took four hours and two propane heaters under my house to do the trick, eventually the sound of running water filled the air. Huzzah! Did my positive energy do the trick there? Not likely, as I was a grumpy Gus most of the time, but maybe my son’s energy helped? He gave me no less than three hugs in that time because he thought I needed them. I sure did, buddy. I sure did. He could FEEL that the energy in the house was different. He told me as much and he hated that feeling. With his hugs, he was trying to bring balance back. I, for one, think it helped.

So does positive thinking help? Maybe? Maybe not. Therefore, this realist and snarky, self-deprecating soul is going to give it a whirl. I’m going to try…no… Do or do not. There is no try (Thanks, Yoda.) Starting in January, I’m going to work REALLY hard at changing my mindset to favor the scale of positivity, vs keeping the light and dark in balance as is my Libra way.

like attracts like

 

Over the next year, I’ll keep you updated now and again on my progress, which I anticipate will be bogged down by my own cynicism, but I’ll work to get out of my own way. Heck, I may even start a facebook group if people wanna join in the experiment.

Having said that, are there books or words of wisdom you can share as I begin this journey of positivity? I’ve ordered a couple to get me going but could use some more. If you found a good one for yourself drop the suggestions in the comments. I have a feeling I may need some help along the way!

 

Danielle Bannister, author and attitude changer