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Focus on the Positive to Create a Happier Life

By Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.

This time of year always shifts my focus. At the end of the year, I tend to become introspective, assessing all the blessings I have, all the people in my life for which I’m grateful, and where I want to focus my energy and attention in the upcoming year.
This is a time to look inside, to take stock of my blessings, and move forward into new and exciting things to come. One of the biggest shifts in my life in the last several years has been that I now do this assessment in a different way.

Like a lot of my clients, I used to focus on my disappointments. I used to take stock of what I hadn’t achieved, what went wrong, and where I had failed. I took inventory of all the people who had let me down, all those friends I hadn’t heard from, and all the things that made my relationships disappointing.

I used to look ahead with doubt, wondering “what if” things went wrong, “what if” I wasn’t able to accomplish what I set out to do, “what if” other people didn’t like what I was doing. Being a person with an active imagination, I was able to figure out all sorts of terrible things that might happen.

What I realized is that all of that negativity held me back. As I learned more about how the brain creates the things we think about, I realized that by putting my focus on all that negativity and failure, I was creating and attracting more negativity and failure. Those “what ifs” acted upon me as if they were true, stopping me from committing whole-heartedly to projects that I could have done and at which I probably would have succeeded. Quite frankly, all the negativity was my biggest obstacle–a self-imposed obstacle!

The change to a more positive outlook didn’t happen overnight, and shifts to a more positive outlook are obvious every time I let go of some limiting belief that has kept me from seeing the positives about a situation. My focus has shifted from the failures to the successes, and even though I’m not blessed with 100% success, I learn from the failures and move on. They are no longer an obstacle. As I learned in my NLP training, “There is no failure, only feedback.”

When a “what if” pops into my mind that is a negative, I counter with a “what if” that is positive. I imagine a successful outcome, and give my mind the instructions to help me create it. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I know that imagining it is the first step.

When you focus on the positives (even though they may be small), you shift your focus from “what is going wrong” to “what is going right.” That has a huge effect on your sense of well-being. Essentially, you are shifting your perspective, which allows you to view your life in a totally different way. Having a positive perspective allows you to interact more positively with others, appreciate small miracles, and gives a greater sense of satisfaction to your life. It short, it allows you to be happier.
What if this year was your best year ever?

© 2012 Linda Pucci, Ph.D.

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a life coach, trainer and owner of Inner Resource Center, LLC in Maryville, TN. She has 34years of experience helping people overcome obstacles and self-sabotage by using her solution focused approach. She is dedicated to helping people find the resources they need to transform their lives. For more information and free resources, go to