Happiness · Mental Health

The Healing Power of Looking Forward

The future seems bleak right now. The present ain’t so rosy either. Yet, even the darkest clouds has a sliver of silver lining. We just need to be of the right mindset to be able to see it. Every time we turn on our TV or scroll through our social media feeds, we’re met with images of tragedy and prognostications of doom and gloom. In this context is it any wonder that we’re all cooped up feeling depressed, anxious and frustrated? We’re naturally inclined to catastrophise- to jump to the worst case scenario and feel despair. Believe it or not, it’s a psychological defense mechanism. However, I think we can all agree that it’s not a terribly helpful instinct under the current circumstances.

Image by Pexels via Pixabay

We can acknowledge the troubles of the present while still keeping a hopeful eye on the future. Indeed, a healthy sense of anticipation can actually have a profoundly positive effect on our mental state. Having something to look forward to can make your outlook and disposition much cheerier. It can help you to focus on positive outcomes rather than getting dragged into despondency. Here are some things you might want to concentrate on looking forward to…

Helping out in your community

All over the country, we’re seeing a revived sense of community. This is our opportunity to be the best versions of ourselves and help our neighbours, our vulnerable and the NHS. From picking up shopping or medicine for eldely neighbours to sewing scrub bags for nurses, there are lots of ways in which you can help out.

Making improvements around the home

Another thing we can get excited about is making some improvements to the home which might have been put off under different circumstances. Rather than bemoaning how long we have to spend at home, we can focus on making our homes the best they’ve ever been!

Planning your next holiday

One thing’s for sure, the next holiday you take as a family will be the most satisfying and exciting you’ve ever taken. Whether you’re planning on jetting off to a far flung country or simply considering taking the family for a weekend by the beach, the air will smell that much sweeter, the food will taste that much better and your memories will be that much more vivid as a result of your prior quarantine.

Buying a new car

While, of course, we shouldn’t rely on material possessions to make us happy… there’s no denying the satisfaction of treating the family to a big purchase. And looking forward to buying a new car may be something that the whole family can get behind. Head on over to Choosemycar.com to look at car finance deals. You may be surprised by how many great deals there are, even if you don’t have outstanding credit.

Having a fun day out as a family

Finally, it’s not just the big things that we’re all missing. It’s the little things too. We’re all looking forward to spending a day in the park without wondering if we’re spending too long there. Or heading to the cinema on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Or enjoying a meal in a restaurant together. All the little things that make for treasured lifelong memories.

Having something to look forward to doesn’t mean you’re burying your head in the sand or refusing to acknowledge the severity of the situation. It simply means that you’re choosing to hope. And that can make a huge difference to the person you choose to be right now.

Parenting · Personal

A Matter of Perception.

Isn’t it amazing how your kids can completely change the way you look at things, without even meaning to, how their wide-eyed wonder at the most mundane item can alter your perception? Yesterday, while we were walking along the street, Sausage and I walked past a particularly unkempt garden outside a block of flats. Most people would turn their nose up at the laziness of the council or the impact that the garden had on the look of the rest of the street. Most adult people. My daughter exclaimed, with genuine delight, “Mummy, look at all of those fluffy flowers! Aren’t they beautiful?“. Obviously the flowers in question were dandelion clock, which the majority of people would consider a weed and a pest, but my daughter looked at them with her eyes and her heart, unaffected by social convention, and found them beautiful. That, right there, is the answer to world peace, I’m sure of it.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to look at things in the same way. It’s like therapy. Take the time to see the beauty in things and the world really will start to look like a better place. Or at least, that’s the theory. It’s like that thing where they say if you force yourself to smile, even if you don’t mean it, it releases certain hormones and will eventually actually make you feel genuinely happy. If I take the time to view things through the eyes of my daughter, the world will seem like a different place. Instead of moaning about the rain, look at the beautiful shapes in the clouds, or the way the rain makes everything look shiny and new. Instead of being cross when the foxes rip the bin bags up and I have to pick up the semi-rotting detritus, think about the fact that the fox and maybe some fox babies managed to have a lovely dinner and won’t go hungry tonight.

And I’ve found that if I FORCE myself to do it, like stand in front of a pile of rubbish and make myself think of something nice to say about it, it starts to come more naturally at other times. Maybe it’s like cognitive behavioural therapy, I’m kind of retraining my brain, but if you can walk along the street and have ten positive thoughts rather than 15 negative ones, surely that would make a vast difference to your day and your mood? And in turn, an upturn in your mood might mean you don’t snap at your kid for something which is quite minor, or you might smile at a stranger in the street and make them realise that neighbourliness and community spirit isn’t dead. All quite minor things that could have a cumulative effect and make the world a better place.

And it all started with fluffy flowers.