This article is from the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of The Wellness Advisor® magazine.
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Life is like a road filled with twists and turns, stoplights, roadblocks and occasional detours. There are times you will cruise along for miles, and then other days when you’ll hit every traffic light along your commute. Regardless of where you are along your course, maintaining a positive outlook and can-do mindset will help you live a happier life.
Staying positive means that you believe every day is open with possibility. In the face of setbacks, you realize there are new opportunities that lie ahead. Now, being positive doesn’t mean that you never feel down, upset, frustrated or angry.
However, it does mean that you bounce back quickly and find solutions to everyday problems. Why is this so important? Your outlook on life will determine how you feel and where you are headed. You can walk around feeling good every day or discontent and miserable.
The choice is yours. And you’ve heard the phrase, “What you believe, you can achieve!” Well, it is true! Scientists who study behavior change found that believing you can change is the biggest predictor of what will happen in your future.
Though some researchers believe that certain people are born with a “glass overflowing” mentality, the environment in which you grew up, life events, and what you do to help yourself and the people with whom you surround yourself can impact your outlook on life.
How do you flip the switch in your mind so that you can develop a positive outlook? Follow these easy steps:
Do What You Love
Even if you don’t love what you do for work, you can still find enjoyment in life by participating in a hobby about which you are passionate. Do you miss your high school art classes? Take one at a community college. Are you energized by helping others? Try Habitat for Humanity or volunteer at a local nursing home.
Take a 15-minute walk break during your workday, hit a local park at 5 p.m. or put in an exercise DVD at night after the kids have gone to bed. Exercise diverts your mind from your busy day and helps you work away your stress!
Surround Yourself with
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Look at your friends and colleagues and you’ll see your future?” Take a close look at the people with whom you spend your time. Do they make you feel good about yourself and your future or do they put you down and complain all the time? Spend the majority of your time with people who are happy, positive and supportive. If you have Debby Downers in your life, either keep them at arm’s length or talk to them about their attitude.
Take a look at how you talk to yourself and what you say. Do you look in the mirror and immediately criticize some part of your body? Likewise, do you immediately think, “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough” when presented with a new challenge? Make a commitment to say only positive words about yourself and others. Even if you don’t believe them at first, compliment yourself every day. You can also place words of affirmation on sticky notes throughout your house as reminders. Focus on your positive attributes and soon you’ll feel a lot better about yourself!
Turn Off the TV
The news thrives on getting people’s attention. Crime, stock market drops, tax hikes and celebrities talking about their problems won’t make you feel warm and happy inside.
Set a SMART Goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive)
Achieving something you set your mind to will boost your self-confidence.
Remember That You Can’t Please Everyone
The sooner you stop trying to please a person who really doesn’t realize your worth, the less frustrated you’ll be. (Note: don’t try this with your boss).
Developing a positive outlook on life takes a little practice, but once you start making changes you’ll quickly feel empowered!