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Living as an optimist in a troubled world

#Lesson: Smile and be positive

Do you wear rose colored glasses? Are you one of these people that hops out of bed in the morning greeting the bathroom mirror with a smile? Fully energized and ready to meet the day before you even have your favorite caffeinated beverage. I am a morning person; but I must admit, I am not that type of morning person. I am an early riser; however, it takes me awhile to get geared up for the day, my husband may even say that I might be a little grumpy. He even reminds me of one of my father’s favorite jokes; Do you wake up grumpy in the morning? No, I let her sleep. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that joke in my lifetime, growing up I heard it from my father and now from my husband.

Of course, I have told my husband on many occasions that he should not expect Mary Poppins floating around the house with an umbrella singing cheerful tunes first thing in the morning. Considering my lack of being able to carry a tune, I don’t think he would want me to be singing. Let’s just say I have never been invited to sing in a choir, not in high school, not in college and not even church.

After twenty-seven years of marriage and such conversations, he finally realized that I need to get my blood pumping or have some caffeine before I am a little cheerier. After I have my caffeine, I find that smiling is a great way to give someone else a spark of optimism, it may make their day or yours. People who smile often seem to have an aura of lightness that lifts others up. It is easier to be around cheerful happy people than those that are not so happy. I love when I meet someone, and you can actually feel their positive energy radiating from them.

I learned how to be optimistic during what I call my “terrible twenties”. I don’t recall having any temper tantrums during that time frame, but I do recall that I was struggling to figure out my purpose in life, while working to overcome obstacles. I worked hard to defeat adversity, continually reminding myself to keep my faith and to be positive. My father, a very optimistic role model provided encouragement by telling me that things will always work out the way that they are supposed to, keep your faith and the divine always puts things into place. When faced with difficult situations, I remind myself of that great advice and I find it most helpful in keeping my attitude positive. It also helps to keep worries to a minimum with a knowing that the higher powers are working things out. Positivity seemingly attracts more positivity.

Recently, I was invited to be a guest of Dr. Angela Butts Chester on her Daily Spark television show. Dr. Angela, as she likes to be referred, is televising a segment on “How to Stay Positive in a Negative World”. I was honored to be invited to be a guest, however if she knew that I was grumpy in the morning, she may not have invited me. Thankfully, we scheduled an afternoon zoom meeting and all was well. I greatly admire Dr. Angela as she is an inspiring pastoral counselor who is very enlightening and empowering to her listeners. I very much enjoyed my interview with her, and I could not think of a timelier topic for the times in which we are all living. This Daily Spark television segment is scheduled to air on September 1, 2022.

In preparation for the show, I asked my family members, friends and co-workers how they stay positive. Following are the tips that they shared with me.

  • Get up every morning and say a positive affirmation out loud, such as, “Today is going to be an amazing day”. You can look in the mirror if you like. These types of positive verbal affirmations help to reset the mind to reinforce positive thought patterns, beliefs and habits.
  • Bath yourself in the beauty of nature by taking long walks with a friend or your favorite fur baby. This will increase your sense of well-being, decreasing stress levels by increasing the feel-good acids in your brain.
  • Surround yourself with people who love you and bring out your best self. Spend quality time in person or on zoom cultivating your relationships. The friends and family that you keep should bring your best self to light.
  • Disconnect to reconnect by spending some time alone. Explore opportunities to garden, paint, meditate, pray, read and listen to your favorite music.
  • Look at photo albums and remember the space that you came from and be grateful. Look at the positive moments in front of you rather than dwelling on the world events that we cannot control. Be thankful for the enjoyable experiences you have had with loved ones.
  • Consider an opportunity to volunteer, by helping others it also validates your own self-worth. Provides socialization as you work toward a common goal.
  • Live in the moment, because that is all that we have. Be present to find the most enjoyment in your day.
  • Distance yourself from negative people, situations and places. Find positive outlets that will help you to keep from dwelling on the negative.
  • Allot a small dose of news media to make yourself aware of what is happening in the world, then turn it off. Be an observer, not a participant in negativity. Listening to negativity, even if it is just background noise can have an effect on your mindset. If you need background noise, put on something that soothes the mind.
  • Some other positive activities would include, dancing, singing, writing, cooking something special for yourself or someone else, playing solitaire, doing a crossword, or taking a drive.
  • Lastly, take care of yourself, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Exercising, eating healthy and surrounding yourself with positive people, places and things will keep your optimism shining bright.

I urge you to consider these tips and to think about how you can utilize some of these ideas to bring positive patterns into your life. While doing this research, I came across so many wonderful ways in which to keep your positivity in check. It also made me to realize that I have extremely positive people that I am grateful to have in my life. It also made me to consider how I can take my own optimism to the next level. I hope that you are living as an optimist in our troubled world, as we need more optimists now more than ever. Staying optimistic has it’s challenges, especially during times of uncertainty. By looking for the good, we can change our mindset and ultimately change our mentality. There is goodness in the world and good people out there, just keep smiling and don’t forget to wear your rose-colored glasses!

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