Each part of the world is unique in its own way, known to the rest of the world for its good qualities and bad, some true and some not. The southern states in the US are no different, providing a stereotype to the rest of the world filled with soul food, Southern Belles and small towns. While that stereotype isn’t completely untrue, the southern states have provided me with so much more than a basis for great vegan recipes.
The slowness of life is accompanied by neighbors bringing in your trash can, strangers waving and saying hello, and a silence of car horns or angry patrons at the local market. Of all the great things about growing up in South Carolina and living in a place like Charleston, my two favorites are the food and the people.
After college, I moved to DC where I worked as a Marketing Executive for a traveling concert that played in large arenas across the country. I have traveled to most major cities in the US, where I discovered that each area of the country is wonderful for something unique. We can all take something positive from each area of the world and use it in our own lives, no matter where they are being lived. Realizing what great qualities you already have around you, while also realizing what your life or those around you are lacking, is the first step to everyday happiness.
To many around the world, living in Charleston, South Carolina is a small place, with little to offer compared to my exciting life in Los Angeles or as a Traveling Marketing Executive. In many respects, this is absolutely true. There are very few big cities or celebrities that call this part of the world home, and the south is certainly lacking in exciting news events and the option to order food to your doorstep at 3am; however, positive attitudes are all around you in the slow, content life that most live in this part of the world.
For those of you who have not lived in or visited this part of the country, I’m asking you to try to the “Southern Attitude” for a few days. Spread joy and happiness to those around you through simple acts of kindness. Open a door when you don’t have to, spark up a conversation with the woman checking out your groceries, wave to your neighbors, and for goodness sake, lay off your car horn. My mother has always told me:
“Give a stranger a smile today, it may be the only smile they see all day.”
Having a positive attitude is not only beneficial for those around you on the receiving end of your smile, but it is also great for your own happiness. Doctors across the world have found that the ratio of positive to negative thoughts is a major factor in overall happiness. Your brain is constantly monitoring the emotional tone of your thoughts – too many negative thoughts and your brain responds by creating stress and sadness in your body. When you add more positive thoughts, your brain will create relaxation and happiness. Even just for a few days, try to banish negative thoughts from your mind, practice changing negative thoughts into positive thoughts, and use positive words when talking to others. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel with just a few extra smiles a day.
Every part of the world has a unique quality about its culture, history, food and people. Let’s all try to take the best from what the world has to offer and share that with ourselves, our family and friends, and those strangers we come in contact with on a daily basis. Let’s all try living with the “Southern Attitude” for a few days. Afterall, everyone likes a smile!