As we rolled into 2009, I’d already been preparing to start my “Thankfulness Diary”, which is a cross between a prayer diary (inspired by Bill Hybels “Too Busy not to Pray”) and a focus on that for which I’m thankful on a daily basis. I often like to get things “right” and both my thankfulness diary and this blogs are areas in which I want to play and see where the path takes me (in a similar way to how I prefer to travel!), as for paid work it’s a lot more focused, but without that space for creativity, no new thinking will emerge.
I bought an A4 page-to-a-day diary (and would you believe how long it took to find one which had full pages for Saturday/Sunday as well as weekdays, finally, a £1 shop!), and either in the morning or the evening I combine my chapter of Bible reading with some notes from The Word for Today and then I let myself at it. Text is still my primary medium, but I let myself at the scribbled drawings too, and who knows what else might come to mind as I relax into it more!
Whether to go morning or evening depends on my mood, and each has different benefits. In the morning set off for the day with a particular spring in the step, in the evening can really think back over what has happened on that particular day.
I have noticed a difference as with “the current economic climate”, the fact I’m living out of a suitcase in a friend’s spare room whilst job-hunting I could just focus on the the mountains to climb, but instead am concentrating on a step at a time (and looking back at the steps already taken) as I’m incredibly grateful that I do have a roof over my head, I’m picking up some bit-work which all adds to the portfolio, and there’s space for some creative thinking, further learning whilst I move through the process.
It’s not an “instant fix”, and it certainly doesn’t mean walking around on (or in!) a cloud of hot air all day. A bad news story, e.g. “more jobs lost” can still knock you sideways, but looking back at all the things there are to be thankful, and looking at it within the bigger picture wins the battle.. eventually!
I wondered if anyone had set up a positivity blog to counteract the current negative thinking, particularly focusing on positive news stories. Not found one like that, but the first entry on Google does have a lot of tips for creating a positive mindset for yourself, and in fact offers a specific “Positivity Challenge” which chimes with the above.
To note, if you wish to create a link to a long URL (I’m especially thinking if you want to create a posting in Twitter) use Tiny URL to create a short URL which doesn’t break-up in emails, or use up all that space.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.