How to make life work for you part 1 AKA 5 reasons why I'm happy the tubes were on strike

This year I have really been working on positivity and seeing the good in situations that would normally frustrate me. I have developed this now to such a habit that I was happy that the tubes were on strike last Thursday. It was the best day ever. Last year I would have been annoyed the whole day, but now I've found a way of turning negative situations upside down.

My New Year's resolution was to be more positive about life, as I found I was getting really frustrated with pretty much everything, and nobody wants to hang around with a grump. After a lot of thinking I realised it was all about perception; perceived reality is reality. If something is seen as frustrating, then it is. If something is seen as a good thing, then that is what it becomes. And the biggest impact is on how we feel about it. When we get what we want out of life it makes us happy. So the trick is to turn as many situations as possible into ones that give us something we want.

Just taking a minute and stopping, thinking 'How can this work for me?' actually opens the mind to possibilities, and stops us getting stuck in a rut or trapped in a cycle of dissatisfaction. Last Thursday was an excellent example of how to deal with something that was set to disrupt my entire day's plans. I was due to meet my cousin to see the Audrey Hepburn exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, after a day exploring London in blissful solitude. I was super excited as I don't get to see my cousin very often, and we were both looking forward to the exhibition. We had booked our tickets ages ago and were going to have lots to talk about; this was not an easily rescheduled thing.

Then the news came that the tubes were on strike.

So instead of the wonderful day all around London that I had planned I would be stuck, paying fortunes for cabs and generally getting fed up with the sheer amounts of people trying to use the same transportation as me. I hate stuffy and overcrowded buses. What happened to being able to explore the richness of the capital, on my own (well timed and organised) agenda?

Enter the power of positivity.

How can this work for me? 

Solution 1. Walk. Good exercise and no stuffy buses.
Solution 2. Change plans to walking distance locations. Starting at St Pancras and ending up at the National Portrait Gallery. The area in between these consisted largely of the shopping district. I can deal with that!
Solution 3. Change what I wanted out of the day. Instead of exploring new areas of London I wanted to see I switched focus to something more like a shopping list, keeping me closer to the shopping district than all around the capital.

And I ended up having a great day, with even more benefits than I was expecting! Being positive and getting what you want also involves reinforcing this when something good does happen. Being a list type person I counted them off on the train home. Comparing these to my original list I found I had really achieved everything I wanted there too. Plus the exhibition was great, and I had a lovely time with my cousin.

5 reasons why I'm happy the tubes were on strike.

1. I have improved my knowledge of the geography of London. Things are a lot closer together than I thought, and now I probably will walk between them more as the time taken to wander on down isn't really that different to getting down to the underground, waiting for the train, and making the way back up to the surface again. I also came upon so many places I never knew about that I want to return to and explore further.

2. It was clearly much healthier to walk, keeping up the metabolism and burning calories whilst enjoying the fresh air and sunshine in the parks I got to walk through. At the end of the day I didn't feel anywhere near as hot and bothered as I normally do after a day in the city.

3. It was a lot cheaper to buy a rail ticket without the underground fares. With the money I saved I treated myself to a delicious lunch from the Smack Lobster Roll Deli just off Oxford Street. Which I also wouldn't have discovered if I hadn't been walking.

4. London was a lot emptier than normal, giving me loads of room to poke browse in shops, not having to queue to pay or try things on. All the assistants were unoccupied so could give me lots of help and advice.

5. There were also lots of deals to be had in the stores. Because of the tube strikes lots of stores had an extra 10 - 20% off, or were giving out extra freebies. I ended up coming across the French Sole boutique (again, never would have done if I wasn't walking) and fell in love with a pair of the most comfortable ballerina pumps. So comfortable I really didn't want to take them off! Having an extra 10% off the price makes a big difference to me so I enjoyed stocking up on products I would normally have bought, and the treats that could be had too.

How do you keep yourself positive about life? Have you tried thinking about situations in this way? Leave a comment and let us know what advice you can add, or what you think.

Hopefully I'll be adding to this series throughout the rest of the year.


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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