geegawLook at this goofy geegaw. I hope it makes you laugh. That’s one of the most powerful ways you can turn around a not-so-fabulous day, find stuff that breaks you out of your funk with a big fat guffaw!

My husband Brian & I love thrift shopping and when we came across this derpy dog sculpture I laughed so hard that I had to take a picture so I could access joy at any time by simply looking at his beautifully absurd yet earnest smile and bright green boldness!

This may seem trivial but it’s powerful stuff. We can get so wrapped up in our heads, thinking, thinking, thinking, planning, problem solving and stressing. To knock ourselves sideways with laughter is strong medicine. I’ve got a picture of the men from Bonanza shellacked on a wooden oval frame, a real 1970’s piece of kitschy goodness hanging right outside our bathroom. It always makes me smile and keeps me from getting bogged down in my own busy brain.

These are some ways I keep from taking myself too seriously in general. But on to the question at hand…

How do we turn a truly sh*tty day around? I think it’s a one two punch of self-compassion & appreciating what’s good aka a gratitude practice. What does this exactly look like? I’ll give some real life examples.

On a recent Sunday we all learned about a horrible mass shooting and like most people I reacted by feeling sad, angry, hopeless and also intense love and empathy. So I practiced a lot of self compassion that day.

Petting my dog, hugging my husband and going out to walk in nature, this is all good.

I thought to myself ” I am suffering, I am sad, I will let myself cry and grieve and feel.”

In the past I would avoid crying or try to move directly to sunnier thoughts but now I know how important it is to truly let yourself feel all the feelings and let them flow out of your system. Purge, cleanse, apologetically lose your shit!

Then, a little later in the day I could start accessing the second part of the equation- seeing what’s good. This can be all sorts of stuff. Petting my dog, hugging my husband and going out to walk in nature, this is all good.

Seeing people rally together in anger, laughter and camaraderie such as watching Actor & Writer Jefferey Jeffery Self throw together an impromptu telethon in his living room to raise money and awareness around gun control and gay issues. He rounded up his friends – musicians played, writers and actors answered questions written to Jefferey on Facebook – people sharing- being curious, being patient, loving, joyous – this is what is good. I cried a lot more that day, and for the next few days. I also experienced the warm and uplifting feelings of togetherness, beauty, friendliness and love. This was accomplished by being present and noticing those who do good, people who let me into the lane while driving, compliment my red hair, give me a big ‘ol smile. Being present and deciding to see what’s good is a choice and a practice. It’s deciding you’d like to view life through a lens of optimism.

It doesn’t mean blindly going through life ignoring grief and suffering but giving beauty and happiness equal or even more opportunity to be recognized and appreciated. It takes practice but the more you practice the more easily it comes.