The Acknowledgment Workbook
In life, we can often become accustomed to bad things. We might have already lived through it. We might be expecting it. We might be experiencing it right now. But once a person becomes accustomed to it, the negative begins to live within them. It weighs them down and they carry it with them whether they go.
Whether we focus on all of the things we believe are going wrong, the things that have gone wrong, or even the things that may go wrong, what does it do to our overall mood and our view on life?
It leaves us feeling drained. It leaves us feeling depressed. It leaves us feeling de-motivated. We stagnate.
On the other hand, when we focus on what is going well, on the positive aspects of our lives, we feel motivated and inspired to keep making progress. Activity, growth, and development thrive within us.
However, it’s not always easy to move past a bad time.
I wanted to address this problem. I wanted to devise something that can be used every day to shift the focus from negative to positive in an easy yet impactful way with just a small amount of effort. I wanted something like a currency or a fuel which will give us energy and, in turn, lead to better decision making.
Releasing the Negative by Embracing the Positive
This is where the Acknowledgment Workbook comes in. It is specifically designed to help you:
- Consciously retrain your brain to release the negative by embracing the positive
- Make better, supportive decisions instead of poor, destructive ones
- Reduce stress, improve mood, and change your perspective
Utilizing this workbook is quick, easy, and fun. It takes up about ten minutes of your day. Only ten minutes. Ten minutes a day to improve your mood. Ten minutes a day to change your perspective. Ten minutes a day to start moving from a de-motivated, drained state to a more energized, positive you.
Or would you prefer to continue to focus on what’s not going well? Just think about what impact that would continue to have on your mood and your life!
All it takes is just a little bit of time and effort each day to make a powerful impact on yourself and the people around you.
Here’s how it works:
The Acknowledgment Workbook focuses on the following key areas:
No one needs an introduction to thoughts. If you’re reading this it’s passing through your mind as a thought in both explicit and subtle ways. What you might not know is that sometimes thoughts can also include beliefs. In any case, thoughts allow us to understand both ourselves and the world around us.
It is estimated that our minds think between 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. Although we are not consciously aware of every thought we ever have, which ones do we typically give our attention to? For some people, that can be the negative ones.
However, we have plenty of positive thoughts as well, we just don’t often choose to recognize them. This is where you begin to become aware of what you are thinking, including positive thoughts.
Emotions are responses to the flow and experience of our lives. They often connect with our thoughts since thoughts tend to puzzle out experience, while emotions react and stimulate from our conscious experience. Emotions can include happiness, sadness, anger, or fear.
A positive set of emotions has profound effects on health. Often the emotions we carry with us, which may be reactions to prior experience, can then color future experience. So there is a momentum to emotion. It can change the way you see the world. You may have heard of the glass being half full or half empty. Just think how valuable emotion would be in even just looking at a glass of water.
Actions are the process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim. We all have goals in life. Even people who are not driven, do things. Life is a series of actions. You may even say that your life is the culmination of every action you ever took.
Actions can lead to good outcomes as well as bad ones. Sometimes this isn’t our fault. Sometimes it is. We have to be honest with ourselves and strive toward good outcomes. Only then can our actions be good for our future and good for our present.
We may also find that negative experiences can slow and injure the actions we take. Bad emotions can make us procrastinate. They can make us feel tired. Keeping positive is important to keeping yourself productive.
Connections are our interactions and relationships with others every day. It could be a smile and a greeting exchanged with a stranger at the local coffee shop or even an email to or phone conversation with a distant friend.
Connections are important for human beings because we have long been considered a social species. Without enough attention and interaction, a human being begins to feel down. Often workaholics will strive for lofty goals but leave their social lives behind, making them unhealthier and more prone to illness generally. We all know the type. Maybe you are one!
It’s important to remind ourselves of how our connections affect our lives and to recognize those positive interactions we have with others. The nourishment of those interactions keeps us motivated toward progress and growth.
Let’s face it, we’re human. We’re bound to have a negative experience, or three, sneak in at some point. Whether it pertains to our job, family, or the general responsibilities of adulthood. Here is where you recognize it, accept it, and reframe it in a positive light.
An example can be:
- I just had an argument with my spouse.
- Reframe: Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions and that’s ok. Even when my spouse and I don’t always agree on something it doesn’t change my feelings for them.
With practice, this reframing process will help you cope much better with the stresses that we all face on a daily basis.
Positive reframing doesn’t necessarily change the situation, but it will help train you to look at life through a more neutral lens. It will help you put things in a healthier perspective and approach difficult situations in a more constructive way.
“Any day above ground is a good day. Before you complain about anything, be thankful for your life and the things that are still going well.”
– Germany Kent
By focusing on these key areas, you will begin to see that your days are filled with just as many amazing experiences as there may have been unhappy ones, you just haven’t taken notice until now.
You may be asking how do I keep track of all of this? Easy! The Acknowledgment Workbook is broken down into the following categories:
- Daily Outlook
- Weekly Recognition
- Monthly Acknowledgment
Each day you will direct your attention to each of the key areas mentioned:
- Thoughts – The positive thoughts I observed:
- Emotions – The positive emotions I felt:
- Actions – The positive actions I engaged:
- Connections – The positive connections I experienced:
- Reframes – The negative thoughts, emotions, actions, connections I reframed:
At the end of each week, you take inventory and recognize those most valuable to you:
- Thought(s) – My most affirmative thoughts:
- Emotion(s) – My most powerful emotions:
- Action(s) – My most supportive actions:
- Connection(s) – My most meaningful connections:
- Reframe(s) – My most impactful reframes:
Finally, at the end of each month, you look back over all the challenges and stresses you’ve encountered. You acknowledge them as well as the positives. Describe how your awareness has made an impact on the following:
- Outlook – Describe your overall outlook
- Mood – Describe your overall mood
- Experiences – Describe your overall experiences
- Relationships – Describe your overall relationships
- Situation – Describe your overall situation (based on positive reframing)
Like links in a chain, you will begin to see how one aspect impacts another which impacts another. Your thoughts affect your emotions, which, in turn, affect your actions and your connections, leading to how you reframe any negatives in a more positive, constructive way.
It’s time to start releasing the negative by embracing the positive.