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Focus on the Positive to Build Your Well-Being

by Beth on September 11th, 2017

I gave a TEDx talk at George Mason University yesterday. The title of my talk was “How Focus Builds Well-Being”. I’ve been studying well-being for many years now, and what I’ve learned is that our well-being is up to us. It depends on what we pay attention to, what we focus on.

I highlighted three things that you can choose to focus on in order to build your well-being: people, the positive, and the present moment. Nurturing my relationships, directing my attention to what is good, and spending more of my time focused on the present moment have all boosted my own well-being. Research shows that these things can help us all to thrive.

The last few weeks I’ve been working especially hard to stay focused on the positive. My husband and I have just become empty nesters. Our son is in Paris and our daughter is in Boston. And our house is very quiet.

There are so many small things each day that remind me that our children are gone. I miss them so much! It would be easy for me to focus on their absence. But I know that I have a choice. So I choose to focus on the positive.

Alex and Emily are both so happy! Each time I talk to them I hear it in their voices and in the stories they share. They are enjoying their classes, their new friendships, and their new experiences. So I choose to focus on their joy.

And I choose to focus on the fact that my husband and I did our job. As parents, our job was to prepare our children to become happy, well-adjusted, independent adults. It was the hardest, longest, most frustrating, and most rewarding job I’ve ever had. And we did it!

I also choose to focus on the exciting new chapter that my husband and I are entering in our lives. We both have work that we love and that we can pursue now with less guilt about not always being there for the kids. And we have more time to nurture our relationship and enjoy our own new experiences. It’s going to be great!

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