The Happiness Connection  

Are you a "glass half-empty" or a glass half-full type of person?

All about how you spin it

Black Friday sale promotions began infiltrating my email a few weeks ago. Some people love this day of deals, others hate it.

I can’t remember there being a Black Friday when I was young, although the term has been used since the mid-1960s. I guess it hadn’t crossed the 49th parallel yet—at least not in B.C.

When the event came to my awareness, I heard about wild incidents like people being trampled and injured by crazed shoppers desperate to get to the best sale items, first. There has, in fact, been at least one death due to such actions.

Is that why it was called Black Friday? It would have been a fitting reason, but that isn’t the story I was first told. I asked an American friend who stated that the influx of sales meant businesses were finally operating in the black, rather than in the red—thus, Black Friday.

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered being profitable has nothing to do with the origin of its name.

In both Canada and the U.S., stores are encouraged to wait until a certain event happens before they jump full tilt into Christmas marketing. Here it’s Remembrance Day, In the United States, it’s Thanksgiving.

American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Black Friday is the following day and is when the Christmas shopping floodgates open in earnest. Prices are slashed to tempt shoppers to buy, buy, buy.

In Philadelphia, the day is even more hectic because it’s sandwiched between Thanksgiving and the traditional Army-Navy football game that’s played the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

If you’re dreaming of finding a wonderful bargain, Black Friday may fill you with excitement. If you’re trying to maintain a sense of peace and control, it isn’t likely to be a day you look forward to.

In the past, the Philadelphia police were caught in the latter camp. The influx of people has caused them huge headaches. In the mid-1960s, they began referring to this day of bedlam, as Black Friday to express how irritating it was.

Apparently, the store owners didn’t like one of the biggest shopping days of the year being thought of so negatively. So, they decided to spin a positive explanation for it.

They’re the ones who created the tale about stores having enough sales to become profitable on that day.

Spinning a new perspective is a skill frequently used by politicians to help them deal with negative press.

It’s also something that optimists and happy people take advantage of as it can make a massive difference to your level of satisfaction and wellbeing.

This is a very challenging time for many people. You may not be able to alter your circumstances, but you can change how you interpret them.

The same amount of water is in the glass, regardless of whether you think it is half-full, or half-empty.

• Try putting your focus on the good things that are happening in your world, not the bad ones.

• Limit the amount of negativity you surround yourself with. Be careful how much news you listen to.

• If you need to vent, cry, or complain, limit the time you let yourself indulge in this behaviour. Try setting a timer.

• See challenges through a lens of humour, or wisdom. What did you learn from the experience?

• Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever. These difficult times will pass.

The moral of this story? Changing your perspective can change your experience. You are in the driver’s seat.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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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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