Palms Up Pausitivity: Developing a Sense of Gratitude
I was raised to recognize the good in each day. I have a mother who combats negativity with a sense of humor and this incredible knack for finding the positive in any given situation. I have a father who works tirelessly each day and comes home with an infectious laugh and the best hugs. I have a sister who faces obstacles head on and always manages to come out with strength and an awesome outfit. My family has woven this supportive netting of optimism and unwavering fortitude. It is for this reason that I believe, no matter who we are or where we may be, we can get through any storm.
When I began my first full-time job, I adapted a personal daily affirmation for my journey. I began this practice after reading that the simple act of turning your palms up can drastically change your mental state. Turning your palms upward adjusts your mind and body to become more open both physically and mentally. Not only that, but it is also a nearly universal gesture of trust and willingness to listen, therefore creating a more welcoming approach to others.
Try this now: Turn your palms up and pay close attention to your mind.
After reading about this phenomenon, I began integrating this pose into my everyday life. As often as I can, with the goal being daily practice, I carry out a palms up affirmation by turning my hands upwards and repeating: “Today I am grateful for all that I am given and all that I will give. I accept my challenges and love this life.”
As silly as this may seem, I keep this practice as a sort of mindful recalibration. A pause for positivity—“pausitivity,” if you will.
Seeing the distress and discord of our nation is no small reason to begin practicing pausitivy. I look back at my past posts and find that at the root of all of them is a complaint, a struggle, a test of my patience. At this time in my life as well as our country, it is hard not to dwell on the obstacles faced. It is hard not to start a conversation off with a sigh and a protest. Still, this is all the more reason to pause.
Let’s begin with coffee.
I am grateful for the warm cup of coffee that I hold in my hands in the morning. I am grateful for this source of caffeine that fuels my pausitivity. As I drink, I pause for a moment to allow my body to warm and prepare for the day.
I am grateful for lists. To-do lists are, admittedly, daunting, but moreso satisfying as each item is crossed off. I am grateful that I have tasks to be done and the ability to complete them.
I am grateful for greetings. I never tire of hearing “Hi, Ms. Carroll!” in the hallways and treasure the moments in each morning and afternoon when this greeting is delivered. I am grateful for being a part of something greater than myself. The students I see every day are the ones who will one day lead our world. I am grateful to see their beautiful beginnings and I continue to revel in their insight and passion.
I am grateful for my incredible family. Their compassion, commitment, and love are immeasurable, and I will forever be amazed by my own luck to have some of the greatest people in my life.
I am grateful for a boyfriend who refuses to accept pessimism as a way of thinking. I am thankful for this man who turns any destructive thought into an opportunity for advancement.
It is no small task to pause and collect these acknowledgments. I’ll admit this list did not come naturally at first. Though at first you may find your mind clouded with dissent, training your mind to recognize blessings is absolutely worth a try.
Now, I’m no psychologist or philosopher, but I wholeheartedly believe in optimism. I’m far from a Pollyanna, but I do crave the benefits of positivity.
I will pause to appreciate all that I am given and all that I will give. I will pause to find the positive in the life I am fortunate enough to lead.
I accept my challenges and love this life. Will you?
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]