The Happiness Connection  

Spin yourself a happy life

Remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin? He was a master of the spinning wheel, spinning straw into gold.

Few of us use spinning wheels any more, but you can still be a master, or doctor of spin.

Mirriam-Webster defines a spin doctor as:

  • "a person responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view."

Politicians rely heavily on spin doctors.

You might not be running for public office, but you can become a happier person by becoming your own spin doctor.

Be responsible for interpreting the things that happen in your life, in a positive light rather than a negative one.

Getting laid off can be the worst thing that has ever happened, or an opportunity to discover a new career path.

You may not see the positive in a situation right away, but be confident that with the right mindset, one will appear – and it will.

It is like having a door close, only to find a window opening.

Our brains are programmed to find consistency between our thoughts and the world. It is uncomfortable to think some people are are nasty and then watch them helping homeless people in a kind and caring way.

If we think they are nasty, we want their actions to prove we are right.

Your brain works tirelessly to find evidence that supports your thoughts and feelings. It recalls and interprets information in such a way to confirm your opinions and beliefs.

For example, if you think about how much you like your colleagues, you will notice all the good things they do and interpret events that happen with a positive spin.

On the other hand, if you think you work with terrible people, the same events may be interpreted negatively and your attention will be drawn to events that show your colleagues in a negative light.

When you know about the confirmation bias, you can work it to your advantage. By viewing your life in a positive light, your brain will find evidence to prove that belief is true.

This fits with the law of attraction — what you think about is what you attract. Your brain does everything in its power to make sure this happens.

I remember the first time I became aware of this happening. I was newly pregnant with my first child and walking through the centre of Northampton in England.

As I progressed down the street, I saw pregnant women and babies in prams – everywhere. Had everyone suddenly become pregnant?

Of course, not! I just hadn’t noticed them before, because pregnancy wasn’t something I was consciously thinking about.

Once I became conscious of pregnancy, my mind was drawing my attention to other woman who were pregnant or had just given birth.

Strategies to improve your spinning

If you are unhappy with your job, your marriage, or any area of your life, put these thoughts aside, at least temporarily.

This isn’t always easy, but the resulting boost in positivity by letting go of negative thoughts and emotions will make it worth the effort.

You believe what you hear, even if it is your own voice that is doing the talking. Just like with your thoughts, your words will kick your brain into action to find evidence to support what you say.

Use that knowledge to your advantage by talking in the most positive terms possible. If your words are positive, your brain will believe what you are saying and you will feel happier.

Put your energy and focus into sharing the good things that have happened to you rather than the bad ones. If you must talk about negative experiences, try to add a humorous spin to the story, or mention a lesson you learned as a result.

You’ll be amazed how talking about events in a positive light can alter a negative mood. The most embarrassing and outrageous situations make the best stories later.

If you need to share something negative or sad, set a timer for five minutes. When your timer goes off, shift your words and thoughts to more positive topics.

Stop negative thoughts when they first pop into your mind. Remember that your brain will endeavour to find evidence to support how you feel and ignore any evidence that isn’t supportive.

With practice, you can train your brain to automatically look on the bright side.

  • Choose to remember good experiences and pass over the bad ones. We have control over what we think about and how we colour our memories.
  • Train yourself to think about periods of boredom or monotony as short-lived rather than long lasting.
  • Look for positive opportunities that they provide you with, like being able to listen to music, or increasing fitness if it is a physical activity.

By adding spin doctor to your list of skills, you can learn to see the positive in any situation and create a happier life. 

More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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