Here’s something most people don’t know: I was a highly anxious kid. I worried so much, in fact, that my mother determined it was a problem that needed to be fixed. A fixer of the highest order, she may have over-fixed me, but being a low-anxiety optimist hasn’t served me too poorly. Thanks, Mom.
I’m sure she harnessed a variety of actions to teach me to manage my anxiety and pessimism, but the two I remember the most are getting me a set of worry dolls and buying me the book, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. I read the whole thing. I even took notes in the margins, including different colored dots to note how each item made me feel. It was just a long list of items, including such minutia as, “the position of your head as you bite into a taco,” but it truly changed my perspective on life. I wish I still had that book with my notes and all of its creased pages, but since I don’t, here are some things that I feel happy about today: