#8 SILVER LININGS

Happiness Choice #8 - always look for the silver lining in every situation

SEEK THE SUNBEAMS

A great way to increase the happiness in your life is to choose to look for the silver lining in a situation. No matter how dark the cloud, somewhere in amongst the thunderstorm there is a ray of sunshine. It might only be a tiny sunbeam, but it will be there and it gives us hope and helps us steer through a difficult situation with a degree of optimism rather than letting the situation beat us down.

BE AN OPTIMIST

Being an optimist is a sure-fire way to maintain our happiness. If we can find something to smile about in a difficult situation, it makes it that much easier to deal with, and work our way through. Nobody is saying that optimism solves everything, but it helps us keep our heads up until our circumstances are more positive.

Studies have shown that optimists set bigger and better goals, they persevere and engage even when life gets difficult, and physically they are healthier. When you have something to look forward to, you feel motivated, enthusiastic, and in control of your life. All those factors increase our happiness - and help turn a bad situation around.

LOOK FORWARD WITH POSITIVITY

We can practice optimism by visualizing the best possible future for ourselves. We can think about things we are looking forward to – accomplishing a goal, a vacation, a meeting, an event. We can close our eyes and visualize that experience in detail. Try to live it. Picture ourselves reaching that goal, seeing the beach, the sunny days, the people we love to be around.

The amazing thing is that the brain can’t tell the difference between visualization and reality. When we anticipate a pleasant event, we actually live it twice and it doubles the positive effect of that event on our life. We often told our children that "anticipation is better than the event itself" because it stretches out the time we invest in happy situations and that helps counterbalance the tough times.


you have to find the silver lining in the middle of everything that happens in life - Chandra Wilson

SILVER LININGS

Life can throw us some real curve balls at times, it can feel like we're taking hits on several different levels and we wonder how we'll ever get through. Despite that, there are still moments of joy - people who come along side us, thoughtful words, loving hugs, empathy and kindness when we least expect it. 

Remembering to focus on those little snippets of goodness - the silver linings - helps us hold our heads above the waves and lets us take a breath of fresh air. "This too shall pass" is a famous saying for good reason - life moves on and everything moves along with it. Nothing stays the same. We won't be mired in a miserable situation forever, we just need to hold fast until we find our way through - looking for that silver lining is part of what gets us through. It doesn't solve the problem, it just makes it easier to deal with.

Silver linings are the small toeholds that we cling to in difficult situations - they are the stepping stones to happiness and to defeating those tough times that we all go through at one stage or another. Look for them - they're always there.


Happiness Choice #8 - always look for the silver lining in every situation
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26 comments

  1. Leanne, thank you for the snippet about how anticipating a pleasant event effectively lets you live it twice.

    I love it!

    SSG xxx

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    1. Thanks - I'm glad I could make you feel a bit upbeat - especially as you are still in the process of crawling out of that awful flu :)

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  2. Leanne, I've always tried to be a half glass full, rather than half empty type of person. Sometimes it is hard to see the positives in a situation when you are stuck in the middle of it, but some self reflection will usually bring up some rays of sunshine if you look for them. I have a sparkle journal where I note down daily things that are positive in my life, and reading these when feeling swamped by a situation helps me to find those rays of sunshine.

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    1. I love the name of your Sparkle Journal Jenni - and you're right, recording the little things we're grateful for really reinforces them and it makes it easier to find those rays of sunshine on our darker days.

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  3. Normally I find it easy to find the silver lining (whether I express that online or not is a different thing) but I've got to say, a bad night of sleep makes it much harder to find!

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    1. Bad sleep, ugly encounters, drama, illness, they are all downers aren't they Vanessa? I guess that's when the challenge gets pushed up a notch to find something good in our lives to help balance all that darkness - and the thought that it will pass eventually is always good to keep in mind.

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  4. I'm pretty much an optimist (although I have my moments) and I know it drives others mad when I pop up with a silver lining but I do have a bit of a sense that the Universe has a plan. It's sometimes hard to hold that sense when nasty stuff is happening.

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    1. I think it gets easier as we get older - we come to realize that things eventually work out and there is usually some good stuff in amongst all the nasty stuff.

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  5. I think I'm fairly optimistic Leanne and I certainly do appreciate all I have. I was reminded of this when I wrote my speech for my 60th birthday party yesterday. My life is certainly wonderful for me. I do of course, have down times - who doesn't? But as you say looking for the 'silver lining' does help to remind us of what is good in life.

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    1. It's all about appreciation and resilience isn't it Sue? We look at what we have and we do our best to bounce back when things don't go exactly according to plan - and happy birthday!

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  6. Life can be tough but one thing I have learned over time is that there are always lessons to be learned from adversity. I try and find the silver lining in things though it's not always easy. I have got into the habit of looking for at least one thing I'm grateful for each day - that's a big help to keep your mind in a positive place. :-)

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    1. I agree Min - sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to find a good outcome when things are turning out to be fairly crappy, but once the dust settles we can usually see that we've grown through it and come out the other end stronger.

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  7. You can definitely create your own reality and this is a great reminder to use positivity and faith to create a life of happiness. Life "throws hardballs" much of the time, but I, too, believe there are silver linings in all of them - thanks for reminding me to look for them.

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    1. There is no guarantee that life will be perfect all the time and we set ourselves up for disappointment when that becomes our expectation. I think once we realize there will be tough times, we get better at navigating them and finding happiness in amongst it.

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  8. Oh my goodness I could not love this more. I've earned the nickname among my friends of silverlining mcgee.
    I can't help it. I just have shifted my mindset to always believing there's a Silverlining and gift to any situation!

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    1. You are a cup of sunshine Carla - it comes through in all your posts and you are such a great role model for silver linings - especially for your family (and your readers!)

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  9. Looking for the silver linings is a great way to go about life! For me, for example, I love planning a vacationer just a day off. The planning is half the fun and it really sets up for a good time. All the work has the silver lining that fun and more fun and interesting things are just around the corner.

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    1. I love the anticipation that comes with planning a little break Haralee - it just sweetens the waiting time and helps gloss over the ups and downs in the meantime.

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  10. Thanks for this reminder, Leeanne. I had a couple of great opportunities to put this into practice last week! Here's where I've been the last two weeks.

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    1. I'm so glad you didn't let the bad stuff drown you Shirley - nothing like a silver lining to help balance things out is there?

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  11. I love your thoughts on looking forward with positivity! It's how I basically get through life!

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    1. It's the only way to go isn't it Kerrie? If we don't look for those sunbeams then we just suffer our way through the tough times - and that's a sad way to live life.

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  12. I am less of an optimist that my husband so it helps me when I express something that is negative or less than great that he can come up with another way of looking at it. I must admit though that I am getting better at maintaining a more relaxed view on life in recent time. It HAS taken a long time to get here though!Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 32/52. Next week: Mindfulness.

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    1. You definitely have your optimism level turned up lately Denyse! I've really appreciated watching how you're handling this tough time in your life with the support of that lovely husband of yours.

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  13. A lovely post Leanne. I love the anticipation and preparation for events, it gives a lot of pleasure, like you have said. I don't like surprise visitors or surprise parties because I like the pleasure of being prepared for them.
    With two ways to look at any situation your encouragement to see the glimmer of hope is a habit that we need to nurture.
    Kathleen

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    1. Thanks Kathleen - I think we are on a very similar wavelength when it comes to "surprises" - we like to know what's going on and to be prepared and I don't think that's a bad thing! But I also love it when there is a surprise sunbeam in a bad situation - it helps me make it through.

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