Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Spring is here! Finally! I love seeing flowers bloom, the sun shining, and daylight lasting longer. The air feels warmer, the grass will start to feel thicker, and outside activities are more popular. It's also when we clean our homes, schools, offices, parks, yards, and cars. Some of us will see beautiful weather and exciting opportunities for growth and renewal, while others may see bugs, weeds, and work to do.

What do you see? What do you want to see? While two people may physically experience the same spring event, they may emotionally experience it differently. You have the power to choose how you will view your spring cleaning.

Based on years of research in the field of cognition, we know that events (the physical experience) do not directly cause us to feel the emotion we experience. There is space and time during which we interpret the event (how we think) and it is that interpretation that is directly related to the feeling we experience. If we see that it is raining (the physical experience) and think "ugh, more rain. What a dreary day" then we will likely feel a negative emotion such as sad or angry. On the other hand, if we see that it is raining and think "more rain. At least I don't have to water the flowers today" we may feel more positive about the physical experience and feel relieved or even happy.

Our interpretations matter. If you are mindful about how you interpret events, you will be able to observe habits and patterns in your thinking. You will be able to practice changing or modifying your interpretations to be optimistic, realistic, and helpful.

When you are cleaning your office, room, home, or yard, remember to spend some time "spring cleaning" your thoughts.

Happy Spring!