Finding Light in the Darkness – The Affirmation Spot for Monday November 12, 2007

Well, it’s happened again. We traded in that extra hour of sleep last Saturday night for earlier sunsets for the next several months. You know the routine. You look at the clock expecting it to read 8:00 because a look out the window reveals pitch blackness. Instead, the clock reports something crazy like 5:45.

I don’t know about you, but it honestly bums me out every year. It seems like piling on to take an hour of sunlight away during a part of the year when the days get shorter on their own by a few minutes each day. I’ll admit it. I love the sunshine and the light. I love long days and warm weather.

Medical science calls this Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is a very real condition affecting many people this time of the year. Estimates range between 1.5 to 9 percent of the American population that suffers full-blown SAD. Perhaps as many as an additional 14% experience a milder, but still clinical condition. Most of us just feel a little blue because our months of outdoor activities are limited by the cold and the dark.

The question is how do we combat these effects and keep our outlook positive? Obviously, people with a serious issue want to seek medical advice, but the rest of us can do a number of non-medical things to get us through the dim, murky depths of the Autumn and Winter seasons.

  1. Light therapy – Scientists have discovered that many people have a physical reaction to light deprevation. This can be addressed by something called light therapy. Light therapy involves sitting or lying near a bright light for 30-60 minutes per day.  The therapy is most effective when you sit or lie within 15 to 30 cm of the light.  The light must be much brighter than ordinary lighting on the order of 2500 to 10,000 lux (wikipedia). Some results can be expected within a week, but it usually takes several weeks to see maximum results from this treatment.
  2. Internal journey – In mythology, night, darkness, and winter all often symbolize death. This death is not necessarily literal, but metaphorical. The reference is to dying to the external. These concepts are often tied to the internal journey (i.e. going within) as opposed to looking without. We are a very outward looking culture. We draw our social cues, entertainment, and much of our self-understanding from outside. This is not and has not been true of all cultures through time. Be it prayer, meditation, or quiet sitting; the willingness to shut out all the distractions and noise for some period each day can yield tremendous benefits. Try taking advantage of the longer nights and reduced activity to explore within. You are likely to find your dreams, your motivations, and few ghosts awaiting your introspection. Make an adventure out of it. You might emerge in the light and warmth of Spring as a new person.
  3. Positive thinking – Affirmations and other positive thinking tools become doubly important. Keep your spirits high and thoughts realistic, but forward looking. Regular use of affirmations or other positive thinking tools can help even out the mental valleys and mountains experienced this time of the year.
  4. Positive change – For those of you into gardening, you know all about planting bulbs in the ground this time of the year. You plant a dormant bulb in the Fall. The bulb spends the winter transforming and emerges in the Spring as something beautiful. Think of yourself as a bulb. Plant who you are today and then work all winter on changes you’ve been wanting to make in your life. Build a plan complete with goals and actions to get you there. By Spring, you will emerge as something new and amazing. 
  5. Hobbies – Throw yourself into a hobby. All summer long you were wishing for a free weekend to get to some indoor activity you really enjoy. Now is the time. Don’t procrastinate! Your hobby keeps your mind focused and engaged and passes the long dark hours until Spring.

The bottom line is that there is no reason to be SAD this time of year. There are steps and techniques to deal with the psychological effects of this time of year. Who knows, you might even reach a place where you actually look forward to setting back the clock.

Have a peaceful and productive Monday!

Ray

Here are the Top 10 affirmation downloads at The Affirmation Spot for the week of Friday November 2 through Thursday November 8. Thank you!

#1 Wealth Creating Ideas
#2 Wonderful World
#3 Mind, Body, Spirit, Beautiful
#4 Part of the Solution
#5 Persistance and Enthusiasm Create Sales Success
#6 Thrive on Pressure Situations
#7 Great Writer Within
#8 Good to My Body
#9 Believe in My Selling Abilities
#10 Attracting the Perfect Mate

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The Power of Thank You – The Affirmation Spot for Friday November 9, 2007

thank_you.jpgThere are two extremely powerful words that serve as a ready source of recognition in any situation and remind us how blessed we really are in life. Those two words are “Thank you”.

Do you say it enough? Do you take a moment to ensure that it is sincere when you do say it?

I have a friend who does this constantly. He often makes a phone call or sends an e-mail for no other purpose than to say, “Thank you.” It’s never hurried and he’s always very present in the moment when he says it or writes it. That complete sense of sincerity comes across every time. When you are on the receiving end of it, you feel pretty darn good.

There are many things that other people do for us all day long that offer us an opportunity to say, “Thank you.” Who knows, those two words might really make a person’s day.

If you are a manager, a simple, sincere thank you might be all the recognition you are able to give. The surprising thing is that a thank you is enough for many employees. When you go through the check out line at the grocery store today, try looking the cashier squarely in the eye, smile, and say, “Thank you.” I’d be willing to bet you will be in a distinct minority and he or she will appreciate it and smile back.

Remember to use those two words regularly with your significant other and I guarantee it will bring you closer. Use them as a differentiator in business. Many in the business world forget to say it these days.

The amazing thing about spreading these two little words all day long is that you receive a gift in return. By remembering to say, “Thank you,” you remind yourself how many things, large and small, you truly have to be thankful for.

Give it a try today. Set the goal of saying, “Thank you,” five, ten, or fifteen times depending on how many interactions you have with other people.

You’ll feel better and so will the other person.

Thank you to each of you for taking a moment out of your day to read this blog. The website continues to grow thanks to all of you! If you enjoy the blog and the affirmations, tell a friend about us!

Peace…

Ray

Here are the Top 10 affirmation downloads at The Affirmation Spot for the week of Friday November 2 through Thursday November 8. Thank you!

#1 Wealth Creating Ideas
#2 Wonderful World
#3 Mind, Body, Spirit, Beautiful
#4 Part of the Solution
#5 Persistance and Enthusiasm Create Sales Success
#6 Thrive on Pressure Situations
#7 Great Writer Within
#8 Good to My Body
#9 Believe in My Selling Abilities
#10 Attracting the Perfect Mate

The tracback url for this blog is: https://theaffirmationspot.wordpress.com/2007/11/09/the-power-of-thank-you-the-affirmation-spot-for-friday-november-9-2007/


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Psychology of Seasons – The Affirmation Spot for Friday November 2, 2007

autumn_leaves1.jpgA pleasant good morning to all my friends around the world who are sharing our tiny planet with me on this Friday.

I took my black lab Mia for a short walk earlier this evening. As I’m prone to do, my eyes wandered upwards to take in the beautiful sight of the pitch black skies of Autumn. The stars seemed especially bright this evening and Jupiter was like a beacon…almost close enough to touch.

We live on an amazing planet orbiting within a magnificent solar system that thrives in a wonderous universe. It’s so easy to forget how miraculous are the workings of our world. We are spinning around at a tremendous rate and flying through the galaxy at break=neck speed and yet we often forget to take the time to just reflect on this mystery.

I’m always struck by the significance of the circle in it all. The circle figuratively and literally represents the cycles great and small that make up our existence.

Today I’m going to be a bit indulgent by sharing a poem I wrote some years ago. It ponders the part of our annual cycle we call Autumn or Fall in the northern hemisphere. It’s a time of death in the natural world as we transition from life-giving Spring and vibrantly alive Summer to the seasons of dying and death. It strikes a hopeful chord, however, reminding us that the cycle will come around again in due time, if we have the patience and the wisdom to wait and watch.

Here is the poem. Have a peaceful and productive weekend!

“Psychology of Seasons”
 

A sun-drenched sky
on windy autumn day;
out across open fields
passing clouds make shadow play.

Silent beauty in multi-hues
but ominous in a sense;
for though today be delightful
darkness soon gains precedence.

Shortly days will end too soon
as the leaves of autumn blow.
The gods withhold their aid
to the life-forms down below.

A chill will permeate the air
and death will be around.
Evidenced by dying trees:
their leaves spread on the ground.

Depression need not be our course;
all things must come to pass.
Death is an integral part of life;
perennial as fields of grass.

For very soon rebirth takes place
and all springs back to life.
To our hearts the glow returns,
bringing end to stress and strife.

Given time we come to find
and perhaps appreciate
the coming of darkness and death
who’s end gives cause to celebrate.
Peace…
Ray
The Affirmation Spot.com 

The tracback url for this blog is: https://theaffirmationspot.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/psychology-of-seasons-the-affirmation-spot-for-friday-november-2-2007/

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A Little Good News – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday November 1, 2007

Hello and welcome to November.

You might be old enough to remember the Anne Murray song entitled A Little Good News. Here are some of the lyrics. I’m sure you’ll agree with the sentiment.

I rolled out this morning
Kids had the mornin’ news show on
Bryant Gumbel was talkin’ ’bout the fighting in Lebanon
Some senator was squawkin’ ’bout the bad economy
It’s gonna get worse you see, we need a change in policyThere’s a local paper rolled up in a rubber band

One more sad story’s one more than I can stand
Just once how I’d like to see the headline say
“Not much to print today, can’t find nothin’ bad to say”, because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single buildin’ down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today

I’ll come home this evenin’
I’ll bet that the news will be the same
Somebody takes a hostage, somebody steals a plane
How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair
And how we cleaned up the air, how everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell meNobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today
And in the streets of Ireland, all the children had to do was play

And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA
We sure could use a little good news today

You know, there actually is a lot of good news in the world today. For some reason, our friends in the media don’t believe it sells. So we get a steady diet of rape, murder, abduction, war, and fear. If you are what you eat applies to the information we take in, we’re in sad shape.

We have to be careful, though, not to paint the media with too broad a brush. There are news sources out there, not the traditional ones, that are committed to finding and reporting the good that you might have suspected might be happening somewhere on planet earth.I wanted to share a few resources I’ve come across in case you need a reaffirmation that the world and its people have not all lost their minds.I really recommend these two magazines:

  • Ode Magazine – Ode is a news magazine along the lines of Time or News Week that focuses on positive happenings in the world and people solving problems.
  • Positive Thinking Magazine – PTM’s website About Us page states, “We are people like you—presumably—who believe that how we think about our lives pretty much affects how they turn out. That living a positive lifestyle is the best way to avoid living a negative one.

The following websites also focus on positive news stories and provide a great change of pace from the mainstream fear injections.

  • HeroicStories.com – This site publish true stories about ordinary people being heroic in everyday life.
  • Happy News.com – We’re obviously different from most news sites in that we’re looking for happy stories only. We’re a news supplement, or online magazine, if you will, that seeks to add to a newsreader’s experience. So we’re not going to be interested in some stories, including some very newsworthy ones. Our basic belief is not that people should be insulated from bad news. Far from it. We encourage people to be fully engaged, fully informed citizens. That means we need to know the good and the bad. We just believe much of the traditional media has strayed from this course, and reports a disproportionate amount of negative news. We are trying to balance the scales back out. Plus, let’s be honest, there are some days when we have just “had enough” and need a pick-me-up.
  • Good News Network.org – “Our mission,” reads their website, “is simple. Lots of people hunger for positive news in their lives and sense this need in society as well. The birth of positive news programming was inevitable in today’s media landscape and it will become a permanent fixture in the culture of the 21st century.”
  • Upbeat.net – Upbeat is dedicated to promoting the positive, optimistic, and inspiring good news stories in the world.”
  • Daryn Kagan.com – This website is run by CNN news anchor Daryn Kagan and focuses on presenting postive, hopeful stories.
  • Hope you are able to find a little good news today.

    Peace…
    Ray
    The Affirmation Spot.com 

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Positive Thinking Myths – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday October 31, 2007

pumpkins.jpgHappy All Hallow’s Eve!

There are two destructive myths circulating around positive thinking today. Unfortunately, these myths are making it difficult for many people to buy into positive thinking as a tool and reap its benefits in their lives.

The first myth is the Kiss the Frog and it Becomes a Prince myth. Fueled by the popularity of a few books, this myth tells people that all they have to do is think happy thoughts and everything they want will manifest in their lives.

People know, instinctively, that this is not true. It leads many people to label all positive thinking as chicanery.

The second, and I find pervasive, myth is that somehow thinking negatively is more “realistic” than thinking positively. I don’t know where this idea comes from, but I wish I’d been there to stamp out the first few sparks before it became the mental forest fire it is today.

This myth claims that the world is an aweful place and thinking positively is unrealistic delusion bound to create heartache. For people who believe that, I have no doubt it is true.

The world is what it is. Thinking positively or negatively about the world does not change the world. It does, however, have a profound effect on a person’s experience of the world.

Positive thinking is not about changing the world it is about transforming ourselves into more capable, caring, compassionate, productive, and successful people. It is about becoming people better able to cope, adapt, and deal with life’s ups and downs. It grants us no immunity from trial or tribulation. Simply put, positive thinking gives us a fighting chance in a world that wants to tell us, “It can’t be done.”

There is a very real price to be paid when we think negatively. Our actions follow our thoughts and when our thoughts lack confidence, conviction, or positivity our interactions with the world will mirror that reality back to us.

All balance is lost and the problem magnified when someone follows this pattern over and over in his or her life. By projecting negative expectations onto the world and getting negative results repeatedly over years, the person’s experience of the world is all negative. The tendency is to think that negativity began “out there” and to react against it.

These people become known as unhappy, miserable, malcontented, criminals, or even terrorists. They believe their unhappiness comes from outside of themselves and so they create negative acts and spread negative energy in the world.

I suppose the debate over the significance of positive thinking will rage on regardless of what I say here. However, there is one truism and there is no escaping it.

Positive thinking is not a cure for all ills, but choosing to think positively will yield better and more consistent results in life than thinking negatively.

Thoughts are free, but the consequences cost. I can’t see any benefit to thinking negatively, though we all do it at times.

My conviction is that we can see the glass as half full without compromising reality.

May you have a peaceful and prosperous Wednesday!

Ray