My teacher Tal Ben-Shahar explains that when we appreciate the positive, the positive appreciates. It grows.

Um, yeah. I’m introspective! I’m a feelings person! I want to talk about it!

But I’m learning to mind my mind. And my mouth.

Even though I’m so brilliant.

My more brilliant friend Deb models this.

One August evening I informed my husband that the next morning I’d hike the two-and-a-half-mile path above our house to the top of the mountain. He told me I was mentally ill. On account of the bears.

I called Deb. We reviewed bear preparedness and likelihood of survival.

She texted me the next morning: “Let me know how the hike goes.”

And so I hiked.

Deb never envisioned a scenario in which I would allow fear to keep me home.

She became a grandma this fall.

“A hard time to have a baby,” I offered sympathetically. “So cumbersome to bundle that kid up to get outside. Stock the pantry with olives and pancake mix because it’ll be summer before mommy and baby see the light of day.”

She cut me off. “No, we know that’s not true. You and I are alike. We get out there no matter what and that baby will be swaddled in an Ergo and hiking in no time.”

Deb listens to my story. But just a little. And then she gets on with business.

In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says “When I focus on what’s good today, I have a good day, and when I focus on what’s bad, I have a bad day. If I focus on a problem, the problem increases; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.”

My thoughts create my reality. If I flood my brain (or yours) with tales of fear and woe, I feel bad, my world shrinks, I stay home, I stay small.

I’m training my mind to focus on the positive, on the broader, more expansive vision of our beautiful world.