Do appreciation lists work? Can you be too Pollyanna-ish?

thank you 2

So, there’s been a bunch of stuff going on for me. Sleep has been challenged. Anxieties have been flying. (Silly) old fears have been creeping up. Nothing I really feel like writing about.

On my other blog (my “work” blog – www.thoughtfulleaders.com) I share advice and best practices. I may share some struggles that I face, or my clients face, but I always turn it around and offer what I’ve learned (and I teach) as ways out or paths to more successful outcomes. So I decided, at the risk of being preachy, that I’d share what I consider a best practice here as well.

I had a client ask me yesterday, “Am I being too Pollyanna-ish?” I couldn’t answer. That was for him to decide. He wondered if he risked missing things by trying to stay above the fray of what he perceived as fear and harshness in his office. Was it in his best interest to focus only on issues that he felt good about? Or could it harm him? Did he need to talk about and fix the problems?

Again, I can’t answer that for him. But at least for me, both are true. I need to admit, at least to myself or to some trusted soul, what is really going on. Like my current bunch of stuff. The anxieties and fears I wish I was “over” and “beyond.” And then I need to find something better to think about. I only make things worse when I pretend I’m not noticing or feeling the yucky things I’m noticing or feeling. The effort to suppress or ignore debilitates me. I need to feel, admit, process –  and then move on. Which is where the Pollyanna-ish-ness comes in. And my appreciation list. (I like appreciation lists better than gratitude lists, which are more common. Maybe I’m just being ornery and anti-normal again, but I appreciate the word appreciate.)

When I make my list, I feel better. When I actively notice what’s great, I feel great. My clients generally have the same reaction. So I do think the lists work, and I wholeheartedly recommend them (whatever you call them).

So my list, for today:

  • I slept last night. It was relatively easy. Enough said.
  • I have a wonderful husband who will beat up any big bad boogie monsters that scare me, even if they’re only in my mind.
  • My big brother is visiting and he’ll give me a massage (I really appreciate his years of massage therapy school). And he’ll beat the monsters up for me as well.
  • I have “professional” support to help me calm down and sleep. They are amazing.
  • I saw not one but two yellow birds today! They’ve been absent (I don’t think they nested in my neighborhood this year) and I’ve been trying not to take it personally. You know the crazy thoughts – “If I see yellow birds as a sign that life is good and I’m okay, and then I don’t see any yellow birds, am I not okay??” Talk about insanely twisting something. Well today I saw not one, but two – albeit it far away. So I can shut up the questions in my mind. (One of the birds sat in a tree for so long that I wondered if it was a bird or a leaf – until it upped and flew away. I like to think it sat there for so long intentionally, so that I would notice it.)
  • I love summer fruit. I eat so much of it sometimes I think I am a summer fruit.
  • My daughter may be leaving for college in September, but she is home nearly all day every day now – and I get to spend umpteen hours with her.
  • Did I mention that I slept last night?
  • I made it to yoga this morning – the 6 am class. What a way to start my day. I heard something wonderful during class to blog about, and I guess I’m happy to say that I forgot what it was – which means, I suppose, that I focused on the class and being present instead of working to remember the wonderful thing I heard so that I could share it.
  • I had a lunch scheduled for today with a client I love seeing – but I really wanted time to work instead. And he cancelled.
  • My massage therapist has been unexpectedly away, yet when I texted her last night to see if she was back, she had time for me today.
  • I get to write this blog, which is fun, and certainly feels better than any of the yucky things that were floating through my head before I started writing this.
  • You are all reading my blog and in this with me. That means a lot.

Appreciation lists work for me. What’s on your list? I’d love to know.

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4 thoughts on “Do appreciation lists work? Can you be too Pollyanna-ish?

  1. I slept last night too, with minimal jaw pain. Woke up happy as a result, grateful for small favors.

    I spend next week at the beach with my husband and our two grandsons, our 5th (6th?) annual vacation together. A wonderful treat.

    I meet my best friend for coffee this afternoon. It’s a good day.

  2. You always know how to put a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing. We are all on this wonderful journey together!
    xxoo

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