Do You Play the Glad Game?
Jun 17, 2021
When putting together the Dear Diary, one of the things we wanted achieve was to inspire others (and ourselves) to be more aware, mindful, to invite happy thoughts, positive attitude and kindness into their lives. This is why we included “pick-me-up's” - little challenges and positive reminders throughout the diary. One of the “challenges” is to note down the book that has made a difference in your life in some way and write the names of three people you would like to gift it to.
I was recently flipping through the Dear Diary and stopped at this challenge myself and it made me think which book has had the most impact on me. I've read a lot and liked a lot, but it made me think - out of all of them, which one has really made a difference or it's idea has stuck to me even after years of reading it. And funny enough, a book that I read when I was 10 years old, came into my mind. It was Pollyanna. I didn't remember the full story in details, just the main idea, so it made me think - why this children’s book?
POLYANNA'S GLAD GAME
I went on Amazon and ordered it straight away. I had to re-read it with my twenty something eyes. I then remembered that to me even as a kid the story seemed refreshing. If you haven't read the book, I'll give you a very brief summary:
Pollyanna is an orphan who is sent to live with her strict aunt after her parents have passed away. Pollyanna's approach to life centers on The Glad Game - a positive attitude finding something to be glad about in any life situation, no matter how unpleasant or disappointing the situation might be. Her optimism surprises, brings much happiness and eventually encourages the ones around her to play the game too.
Pollyanna's simple idea of looking for things you can be glad about in any situation is a technique for finding happiness. Now there are hundreds of bestsellers on this topic and it's pretty cool that I unknowingly learnt about this when I was 10 years old.
AM I POLLYANNA-ISH?
Pollyanna's character is often referred to someone whose optimism is excessive to the point of being naive or refusing to accept an unpleasant or unfortunate experience/situation.
I'm not getting into whether it's naive, wrong or right. I simply like the basic idea of this book - to avoid complaining and focus on the positive. As cliché as it might sound, it works wonders. It always has, and it always will. And it's not as hard to do as we think. It takes a little willpower mixed with some action.
Now, I don't think of myself as a super optimistic person. I have my days of doubts and worries and simply feeling down. I am lucky to have the people around me and the willpower within myself that doesn't allow me to stay in a negative state for a long time.
I've understood that in general, when feeling down, the best thing to do is to change your perspective. For me, that's pretty much the most effective way to snap out of a bad mood or stop feeling worried or anxious about something. The thing is - you either can or can't do something about a bad day, unsuccessful experience or an unpleasant conversation etc. If you can do something about it - do it. If you can't - change the way you look at the situation and try to see the good in it.
You don't have to be the world's biggest optimist naturally. It's a skill that takes practice. Use it as a technique for finding happiness within or simply to improve a situation.
“I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to greet the unknown with a cheer”
— Eleanor Porter, the author of “Pollyanna”
SO HOW DO I PLAY IT?
When you might find yourself in an unpleasant situation. Perhaps you've had a bad day at work, had a fight with someone, a project you were working on didn't work out the way you expected, and so on. Any situation that's unpleasant/unsuccessful/disappointing etc.
Don't ignore this negative feeling/thoughts. I believe that writing is healing and putting things on paper makes everything better and is much more effective than just thinking it. Grab a notebook and write down what you're feeling/experiencing. Then, ask yourself: “Can I do something about it?” This is where you either find a solution or just move on. If you understand that there is nothing you can do about it, write down the things you can be glad about even in this difficult situation. Switch your focus from the negative to the positive. Shift the unpleasant feeling into gratitude and positive attitude.
The purpose of this practice is to help you change your perspective and clarify your thoughts. Most of the time, things might not even be as bad as they seemed.
THE LITTLE THINGS IN EVERY DAY
Start practising by noticing the good around you, even the smallest things - rays of sun peeking into your room, a happy dog walking down the street, a great conversation with your family. Don't take the small things for granted. And when you feel happy, share that with the rest of the world. If you see something beautiful, speak it. If you are grateful for your loved one, say it out loud.
And if you are struggling to find something to be glad about... Well, we can all be glad to wake up every morning to experience all the ups and downs, wins and challenges. We can feel. We can dream. We can express. We can learn. That's a huge thing to be glad about and I don't know about you, but this always makes me think and helps to look at the bigger picture.
Today is a very busy day, the to-do list is getting longer and I am feeling a lot of pressure and not everything is going smoothly. Still, I am not complaining about it, I am playing the glad game. I am glad that I can be busy, I am glad that I am learning, I am glad that I have an opportunity to do what I love and I am glad I can do it with people that are near and dear to me. :)
Thank you so much for reading!
Let us know how you play the “glad game” :)
With Much Love,
Zane & The Inspired Stories team