Every time I notice myself thinking negative thoughts, I think of something to be grateful for instead. Well, I mean, I try to do that. Most of the time. But you get my drift.

I’m exceptionally good at bitching. I notice all sorts of annoying things, and can go from happy to angry in a heartbeat. This does not help me lead a pleasant, fulfilling life.

About a year ago I decided to work to change that. And boy, is it work. My first goal was to go an entire day without complaining about anything out loud. This was a lot harder than it should have been. But I felt lighter and better at the end of the day when I finally managed to do it.

I have gradually become better at not bitching so much, but of course I often forget myself. It’s a constant struggle not to whine and complain. But I keep at it.

Not kvetching out loud is great, but it’s only half the battle. You also have to stop doing it in your head, too.

Thinking negative thoughts (about anything; from an annoyingly badly timed red light when you’re in a hurry to justified wrath when someone wrongs you) does nothing good for you. I know that well, having tried it countless times. Even when your annoyance or anger is entirely justified. Giving in to those feelings does not make you have a better day.

Thinking positive thoughts, by contrast, helps lift the clouds and makes you see what’s good in your life. And that, in turns, helps you deal with your various grievances.

So, when I catch myself thinking negative thoughts, I try to chase them away with something positive instead. I’m healthy. I am loved. I have talents. I enjoy the work I do. I have a great movie night planned for Thursday. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how small it is, as long as it’s something that makes me smile it serves the purpose.

Training myself to be positive helps me be happier. One little smile at a time.