Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

You get up in the morning groaning silently about the night being too short. You pull back the curtains and the sky is grey and a definite dampness pervades the air. You think ‘another colourless Irish day’. The news comes on and brings horror from all parts of the globe. Before leaving the house you have surrounded yourself in a blanket of negativity.

A little later, when you casually exchange ‘pleasantries’ with the paper man or fellow mothers at the school gates, you moan about the weather. Your first proper conversation of the day will no doubt focus on the horrors in the news. And so on it goes.

Let’s replay the scene.

Same morning – same news – same weather. But as you gaze out the window you give thanks for a warm and comfortable house. Instead of listening to the news, switch to music in the morning. Put on your favourite CD or tune into Lyric FM. Greet everyone you meet with a smile and a cheerful comment – even one tinged with irony… “at least it is not snowing”. Spread positivity and humour.

We are surrounded by negative stories in the media; stories of atrocities, wars and suffering. We need to pray for peace in the world but there is little to be gained by constantly immersing ourselves in images and stories that are horrific and deeply upsetting. Remember that the media gives us a completely lopsided view of the world. There are ‘armies’ of good and kind people working for the benefit of their fellow man and for the good of this wonderful planet we live on. There is lots of good stuff going on that more than balances out the bad. Focus on the positives and cull the amount of time you spend reading or listening to the ‘news.’ There is a saying in healing which is “change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.”

We create our own reality. If we choose to see only the dark and the negative, that is how our world will be! So starting today make a conscious effort to look for beauty, joy and positivity everywhere. Slow down a little and listen – are there birds singing over the noise of the traffic? Slow down and open your eyes – even the weeds growing in the cracks in the pavement have beautiful flowers. Go for a walk in the rain and feel how the rain feels on your skin.

We live in a world abundant with beauty and joy. We have forgotten how to look for it. So remember that life is good. Carry that message with you every day and open your heart to all you meet so that they cannot help but be infected by your inner joy. Smile at everyone you pass.

It was Gandhi who said “be the change you want to see in the world” and if you are smiling now you have changed the world already.