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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Keeping It Positive

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. -- Gandhi


This is another quote that showed up recently on Facebook, and I thought it was a great reminder of the importance of positive thinking. Our thinking truly can color our outlook on life, how we treat others, how we feel, and how we act.

It is, I admit, often difficult to be positive in our crazy, stressful, anger-filled world. The U.S. Congress refuses to deal in a meaningful way with our huge deficit. Wild species are threatened as never before, either for profit or sport. Threats to the environment abound. Mentally ill people with assault rifles continue to kill and injure innocent victims.The economy remains fragile, with millions of people unemployed. Add in our individual and family problems and challenges, and it is amazing that anyone can keep a positive attitude.

I am a pretty positive person, but as we begin a new year, I am making an effort to be even more mindful of my thoughts and words, and to keep them positive. No matter what I may be dealing with, there are many, many people facing far greater struggles.

A recent column in the Albuquerque Journal introduced a man who decided to make a new beginning, to commit to being more positive. If enough people do this, he believes, the world will become a happier place. And this world certainly can use a shot of happiness.

“No more hate,” he said in e-mails to the columnist. “It starts with one family at a time and one city at a time. Teach your family not to hate, and we will not have the tragedies that have recently plagued us.”

He urges us to refocus our priorities, to change our focus, and to try to be a source of happiness to others. What if we wake up every morning, expecting, as singer Dolly Parton once said, to have a good day? What if we focus not on what we can't do or what we don't have, but on what we can do and what we do have? I sometimes need to remind myself that I am very healthy and still able to enjoy hiking, bicycling and other outdoor activities, despite the fact that I don't have the muscle strength I once had, and I good workout leaves me more tired than I would expect. But at least I still can get outdoors and enjoy activities that make me happy.

What if we make a real effort practice kindness in our words and in our actions? It's worth a try, isn't it? We never know when a simple, random act of kindness will really make a difference in someone's day. And it will make us feel better, too.

Pay it forward.