Think three positive things today

Posted by in April's Magazine

I have been swithering about this month’s column for some time now. I’m on deadline and about to go on holiday so must write. Right now. The article was originally going to be about the ‘misjustices’ doled out by the awful George Osborne and horrible Donald Trump. Unfortunately unaccustomed as I am to writing in the negative sense, I had a massive bout of writer’s block. The article was stuck somewhere between painful and uncomfortable. It was the end of winter and nearly everyone I know was sick or generally listless. Not ideal fertile grounds for effortless prose.

I was thinking about this article and the other injustices in the world whilst cycling though the colourful crocuses of Leith Links in March, and realised it would be much easier to write about the wonderfulness of Leith in the springtime. Focusing on the negative in life seems to be easy, however it’s not creative, it doesn’t offer flow. Instead it offers quite the opposite, it offers resistance. I write this in defiance of all the awfulness that’s going on in the world (Brussels attack was today – my holiday flight is delayed by one day, other folks life have been permanently interrupted, what worse day can there be?).



So instead of focussing on the negative, I’m going to give you three positives. This is a wee CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) exercise to help you feel better if you’re feeling blue – and believe me, it does work. If you’re having a shit day, list three things that were good. They may seem minor; they may be hard to find, but the rarer they are, the more precious.

Today I saw the first daisy of early spring in the middle of the hill in Pilrig Park, I ate a really yummy lunch of toasted pumpernickel bread with homemade dip on top, and I found some good novels for only £1 each from the Bethany shop, to read on my holidays (when they eventually arrive). If you get in the habit of looking for three good things, you start to look for and notice more good things in your everyday life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the awfulness in the world, the horrible folk who shoot animals and post trophy photos on Facebook, that litter our streets, but it’s up to you how you ‘frame your day’ and create the positives in your own existence.

Three things I love to do in Leith in the springtime: firstly, on a Saturday, to take Coco the fitness pug for a walk down the Water of Leith to Leith Market to buy some really good food, secondly, to wander to our allotment and commune with the seedlings, and lastly to sit on a bench in Pilrig Park face the sunshine and bask like a seal (figuratively you understand, not like a real seal).

Many moons ago I worked at Body and Soul events in Stockbridge, in the office behind the bookshop. I loved walking through the hippy bookstore in the morning and picking up a (very thin) copy of Positive News, much better than Metro! I often wondered why people gravitate towards bad news. Focussing your brain on the positive can be exhausting to start with, but with practise you learn to see the good in people, and also the opportunities that often exist in not-ideal situations. Many people may find optimism a naive attribute, however if you persevere with positivity some really amazing things can happen. You may even see a rainbow sprouting from a unicorn’s horn (okay, so I made that bit up).

I love Action for Happiness, which is ‘a movement of people committed to building a happier society by making positive changes in their personal lives, homes, workplaces and communities’, because sometimes you need to take conscious control of your outlook. Have a look at their website at or follow them on Twitter:@actionhappiness.

Another thing that makes me happy is that Remade in Edinburgh is moving to Leith (into the old Santander bank near the Foot of the Walk). Remade in Edinburgh is a community initiative to repair, reuse and to campaign for zero waste. Here you can learn to up-cycle furniture, mend your own shoes or even bind a book.

The Edinburgh Remakery will offer I.T. and furniture repair classes, workbenches, and quality affordable refurbished computers and furniture. Not only can you get happy by mending your old favourite stuff, you can also double up your happiness by volunteering there (volunteering has also been proven to help happiness levels). Look up Remade in Edinburgh on social media, or check their website

So what are you waiting for? Do something good today and be happy.

Twitter: @tracygriffen
Facebook: /griffenfitnesss

2 responses to “Think three positive things today”

  1. KevinManheaven says:

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  2. If you get in the habit of looking for three good things, you start to look for and notice more good things in your everyday life.

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