One Sunday morning, I was running in the Marina District of San Francisco with a psychiatrist friend of mine, David Leof. We jogged along the bay from the Marina Green to the Golden Gate Bridge and back again.
Afterward, we were walking to cool down. The sky was clear and full of seagulls, the water was blue and full of boats, and the bridge arched over the entrance to the harbor. As we turned back toward our car, the picture changed completely, now a vista of greenery, kites, joggers stretching, and rows of neat Spanish-style houses.
David said, “You see what we’ve just done, Patricia? We have just turned around a few degrees, and it’s like we’re looking at two totally different cities. The good thing about my practice is that people only have to change their thinking a few degrees to have totally different lives.”
We’ve all heard people say, “Well, it’s not working where I am. I think I’m going to move to another state, divorce my spouse, sell my children, go into a different line of business, lose fifty pounds, or bleach my hair blonde, and then my life will work.” When it comes to good mental health, sometimes what we really need to do is realize what we already have to be grateful for. Just change your thinking a few degrees. The next time you feel stale or frustrated, look at where you are and what you have from a slightly different angle.
Very often people get bogged down with their everyday trials and tribulations. On the tough days, try David’s advice. Change your thinking a few degrees. Stop for just sixty seconds and focus on the things that make you proud and happy. It can be more uplifting than a week’s vacation!
— Patricia Fripp
I reposted this from an older copy of Motivational Minutes by Nigel Alston.