Jill Robin Payne

Focusing on the here and now helps keep people grounded. Bil Keane, who was the cartoonist for Family Circus said: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present. Mother Theresa said:  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Focusing on the positive is important because what we focus on we bring about. Robert Merton (sociologist) first coined ‘Self Fulfilling Prophecy’ in 1948 (Oxford handbook of Analytical Sociology).  There have been many studies done on this subject proving it to be true.  If you believe you will pass a test therefore you will. You may have to do a lot of studying, or even get a tutor to help, you will pass that test. Examples of the phenomenon occur when teachers have certain expectations of students and the teacher’s expectations therefore come true. In the classroom, a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when a teacher holds an initially erroneous expectation about a student, and who, through social interaction, causes the student to behave in such a manner as to confirm the originally false (but now true) expectation.” Jussim, L., Robustelli, S. L., & Cain, T. R. (2009.

Stop, take a deep breath maybe even a couple, and refocus on the positives in your life. If you are in an apartment focus on what you like about it, if you are walking your dog focus on part of this activity which gives you joy, if someone is sick focus on that they are still there with you or how you are caring for them.   

We are bombarded with negativity from today’s news.  A friend of mine called me yesterday to let me know of a very short article on the back page of an editorial (she almost missed it) told about a courageous elderly pastor in Italy giving ‘his’ ventilator to a younger person so they may live.  When he the pastor he was celebrated and the younger person survived. Also in the news article reported a young lady helping the elderly get food which in turn caused many other people to do the same. This is what we need to be focusing on; the love we have for each other, giving, receiving, and living in the moment.  

Getting back to basics, family dinners, family picnics in the yard, playing ball in the yard or in the house (possibly with a nerf ball☺), teaching children how to cook, bake, you yourself learning a new recipe.  My son and I even today (he is 28) enjoy baking cookies during the holidays. Why wait for that, live in the here and now and do it ‘now’ today☺.

An extremely important element of your day is HUMOR.  Norman Cousins (Journalist/Professor) was told he would die in a few months from a disease so with his doctors permission he checked himself out of the hospital and into a hotel believing that “positive emotions” would cure him leading him to write, ‘Anatomy of an Illness.’ He only surrounded himself with “positives”, taking vitamin C, continuous streaming of humorous films and other laughing material.  He claimed that 10 minutes of “belly laughter” was better than morphine giving him two hours of pain free sleep.

Last but not least, we need Prayer.  The Serenity Pray is just what it says, it helps give us serenity:


There continues to be clinical research investigations on the power of prayer from professional societies supporting studies, federal subsidies from the NIH, funding from Congress.  Either way prayer may help us focus on hope or faith that things will improve.