Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is your glass Half Empty or Half Full?

This past Monday was the first day of my new schedule- I now have time allocated on Monday mornings through the afternoon for administrative work for my practice. I was so happy to have time to get work done, and boy did I have a lot to do.

Around noon I received notice from a staff member at my other office location that the carpet in her office was soaking wet. Oh no! No worries, though, because I was not at the location and my office was free- she could meet with her clients there. I'd just send the landlord down to check it out. I receive a message a minute or two later informing me that the carpet in my office was also soaking wet-- double oh no! At that point I needed to go over there immediately to check out the scene.

My automatic thought at that moment: My work day has been derailed!

As I was gathering my things I found myself feeling frustrated, huffing and puffing a little and rolling my eyes to myself- this mysterious wet carpet had ruined my work day. Then I recognized these thoughts and feelings for what they were: Glass Half Empty thoughts.

I pushed myself to consider the Glass Half Full position: Thank goodness I didn't have appointments scheduled this morning (as I usually would) and that I actually have time to deal with this. Thank goodness my office was available and no appointments had to be canceled or rescheduled.

Things were not so bad after all.

I bet that most people- like myself- slide into Glass Half Empty thinking when things do not go the way we want or hope. We have thoughts like:

"This is terrible"
"Why did this have to happen"
"Things never go right"

It seems like it's much harder to look at the other, more positive ("less negative") side of the coin. It makes sense that these unexpected events cause disappointment or frustration etc., but we don't have to linger on the negative aspects or outcomes. I challenge you to explore the Glass Half Full position when you find yourself mired in the Glass Half Empty side of the situation. At the very least it will provide some balance to your thoughts and feelings about many situations that arise, and it will likely lead to some symptom relief. Some people find it helpful to write down the opposing sides and have a visual of the balance that comes when each is considered.

Happy Balancing!
Dr. Stanley