A couple of weeks ago, I woke up to a house that was a more quiet than normal. The ceiling fan was at a standstill, and I immediately noticed that the temperature was warmer than normal.
I glanced toward the clock on my dresser and there was darkness. A quick look outside and I was able to determine that there was a power outage in my neighborhood.
Everything was pitch dark. With this discovery, I grew hotter by the second. The fact that the power was out and no expected repair was available made me anxious.
With power being lost in the middle of the night, it wasn’t a total disruption to my normal routine. Other than having to use a flashlight in the bathroom and having to adjust temporarily to being without air conditioning, it was bearable.
I had to look at the bright side of things. This could’ve been the middle of the summer, when temperatures would have been much higher. It could’ve happened in the middle of the day when my busy 6-year-old would have been awake and in need of constant entertainment.
It could have been in the middle of cooking dinner or doing laundry. It could’ve been more of an inconvenience.
Finding the bright side isn’t always as easy as comparing times when losing power could be more inconvenient. It’s not that simple when you’re rushing out of the house and discover that your phone is still on the bathroom counter where you told yourself not to leave it.
You have just enough time to turn around to grab it, but only if the train doesn’t stop traffic, as it seems to do only when you have no time to spare. While approaching the tracks, you see a clear path to the other side. You’re car number four in line, but there are no worries, because you’ve made it.
Right after you take a deep breath and appreciate making it this far, you look up to see the red flashing lights. The cars in front of you are making left turns, and there’s absolutely no way that you’ll make it across the tracks in time. In times like these, I usually have a hard time finding the bright side while I’m pounding the steering wheel.
While it might be hard to find the bright side during challenging circumstances, it can and should be done.
There are benefits to being optimistic when things seem to have gone haywire. Not only does it promote happiness and reduce stress, but it can help you live longer. Those are good enough reasons for me to ignore the fact that there’s a slow moving train keeping me from getting to work on time.
If taking a deep breath while convincing myself that it could be worse provides benefits such as the aforementioned, it’s worth the effort.
It’s all about perspective. Training ourselves to look at things from a different angle could be just what we need to have a more positive outlook. An alternative to becoming frustrated with the train could be using that time to go over your list of things to do or making a mental list of things that need to be completed at work.
It’s easy to allow stressful situations to send you down a path of negative thinking. I usually start to blame myself. If I had remembered my phone, I would have been on time. If it wasn’t for me pressing the snooze button twice, I would have beaten the train.
While these things might be true, they aren’t relevant in those moments. To focus on a possible detour or texting your boss would be more beneficial. The pity party won’t do any good.
Unfortunate circumstances are inevitable. It could be something as simple as being told by your favorite restaurant that they no longer sell your favorite entree or as major as being stuck in back-to-back traffic while trying to make it to an important event that is scheduled to begin in the next 10 minutes.
Whatever the case may be, finding the bright side is always the best route to take.