Change is hard and that’s why living after weight loss surgery has an off the charts difficulty factor as it involves the double whammy of both voluntary and forced change. Dramatic change does not become comfortable overnight or even over weeks, as we are used to immediate gratification or we are disappointed or even angered. It used to take sixty minutes to bake a potato but now because we left work a few minutes late, our first thought is to drive through Chick Fil A for a bag of family supper. This is why it is critical to work on the mind as well as the body as part of our post operative process.
Not all of us are born with a ‘glass is half full’ mindset, but with a little dedication we can move ourselves towards naturally being more positive and optimistic. On the flip it’s also pretty easy to train ourselves to be more negative and pessimistic. Any doubts can be squashed by clicking on Facebook. While it used to be a place to share joy with close friends and found family, it’s become a narcissistic pool of ‘selfies’, complaining, sharing TMI about ER visits, rudeness and showing off what you have to those who are not all that close. If you find you are leaning more than a little ‘half empty’, ease off the social media in your world as a test!
We often carry negativity from being morbidly obese; sometimes scars run deep from what we were told about ourselves and how we were treated by others. It takes work to see ourselves in a new light; a new truer light. None of this necessarily comes naturally; we have to work at it. It takes determination to overcome adversity, obesity, negativity, and fear. We all know people who have lives filled with drama, but do they really have more bad happenings or do they just dwell on their negatives?
As part of a test, for thirty days a group of people were asked each morning to recount something from the previous day that went particularly well for them and how they were responsible for making it happen. When charted for Feelings of Happiness, the people prompted to think of the good in their lives, charted being more than twice as happy as the test group who had had only been asked to recount their day. The truly amazing twist is that these people remained happier than counterparts for more than six months after the study had ended.
Take a personal challenge this week to focus on the good things that happen in your life instead of the bad things that we are all naturally drawn to dwell on. Each morning take a quiet moment to think about what went well for you and why it went well. No matter how bad a day you had, there was some light. Find it!
Take each day as a fresh start and make good choices. Take pleasure in each small victory. Not being bothered by skipping the cake at the monthly office party, speaking up to tell the waiter ‘no fries’ with your meal, remembering to take all your vitamins, being prepared for Saturday with a protein bar in your bag and jumping rope even twice this week are all accomplishments to celebrate. Each small conquest helps us along to our larger goal of not only losing weight but doing everything we can to improve our health and increase our happiness.
Treat each day as a gift and recognize that even the little things in your day that make life grand. Success is a series of tiny little accomplishments repeated over and over again and happiness is a learned behavior.