Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Wonderful, Happy, Thankful"


In a column in the Peace Weekly, the writer introduces us to a study that was made in 1932 of 180 nuns who wrote about their spiritual life. 70 years later, psychologists went through the written autobiographies and examined them to see how many times the words: wonderful, happy, moving, joyous, thankful, and the  like were used.

Those who were in the top 20 percent  in the use of these words, 90% of them lived over the age of 85. The lower 20% who had the least use of these  words only 34% lived over 85. There are other issues that are involved  in such a study but for those who made the study, it was indicative that  positive thinking  has an influence on longevity.

Positive thinking is a healthy way of living, needs little help from science, for most have an intuitive feeling of its wisdom. She mentions very few are able to keep a strong disposition in a long illness, but words can help someone bear up under the difficulties.

The columnist mentions that we are called Homo Narrans. Over and beyond our thinking, we have the ability to store in our heads and express in story form narratives that are welcomed by others and that  fosters communication, a quality society esteems highly. We feel that if we do our best and even keep silent we will have a meeting of hearts, which is not the case. If we don't express ourselves, sincerity will not be conveyed.

No matter, what the past was we should pick out some positive words and express them. However, she mentions that if we are too excessively attached to that positive mind, we will fall into the trap of having a  people pleaser complex. When not authentic our attempts to be charitable backfire, for words that do not come from the heart are often empty.

She goes on to show that  this is noticed in her radio work where you hear only words; insincerity is quickly noticed and you lose listeners.

We often hear about the glass-is-half-full person and the half-empty person. There is something that  is being expressed by these words, and it may be the wise person who sees the entire glass but is not elated or depressed by either half, and accepts it as reality and gives thanks. This is also being positive when we choose to see reality as is and make the most of it.

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