We all know that seeing something through rose- colored glasses means you see it as better than it really is, and I am here to tell you that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses really does make it look better. The reds are incredibly red, the greens lush, and the blues truly electric.
I searched the internet for the origin of this idiom, and had trouble finding it. Apparently, nobody who writes about rose-colored glasses has bothered to actually look through them. One curious and unfortunate suggestion is that the term comes from the use of goggles on chickens to keep them from pecking feathers off each other. An article about chicken eyeglasses at Ask.com states “rose-colored lenses are thought to prevent a chicken wearing them from recognizing blood on other chickens, which may increase the tendency for abnormal injurious behavior. They were mass-produced and sold throughout the United States as early as the beginning of the 20th century.”
Whatever its origin, the act of wearing rose-colored glasses makes me see things in a more hopeful light and puts me in an even more pleasant frame of mind.
In fact, a University of Toronto study provides direct evidence that our mood literally changes based on the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience – suggesting that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is more a biological reality than a metaphor.
The study found that under positive moods, people may process a greater number of objects in their environment, which sounds like a good thing, but it also can result in distraction. Good moods enhance the literal size of the window through which we see the world. The upside of this is that we can see things from a more global, or integrative perspective. The downside is that this can lead to distraction on critical tasks that require narrow focus. Bad moods, on the other hand, may keep us more narrowly focused, preventing us from integrating information outside of our direct attention or focus.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a renowned neuroscientist and best-selling author, who had to rebuild her brain after a stroke, came up with the 90-second rule when dealing with emotional pain. She says to allow yourself 90 seconds to dive into your emotional suffering. Rant, rage, cry or journal to move the energy through you, and then move on and focus on something that is positive and life affirming.
According to Taylor, it only takes 90 seconds for stress hormones to regulate after we experience a negative feeling; however, if we continue to entertain the same negative thoughts that are stimulating the same negative emotions, then we get stuck in the same negative physiological response cycle like a hamster on a wheel.
So, tired of acting like a hamster, I bought myself some rose-colored glasses. Wearing them is now a permanent part of my solution to achieving a better, more positive state of mind. And to those who would scoff that wearing them is impractical, unrealistic and extremely Pollyanna, I have to say you’re wrong because at this very moment – wearing my rose-colored glasses – I am not stressed and I’m not angry; I’m not even remotely miffed. In fact, I’m feeling downright terrific. So good, that even if someone were to knock me down, step on my face, twist my words, secretly record my conversations and tread on my blue suede shoes, my world would still look bright and rosy!
Are you tired of playing the victim in the “Woe Is Me” game? Then take it from this glad-happy ocular fashion-forward fellow – wearing rose-colored glasses isn’t about choosing to live in a constant state of denial, but it is about choices. It’s about changing our attitude so we can be happier, more productive, work better with others and enjoy each day to its fullest.
Go get yourself a pair at Walgreens!
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