Unfortunately, there is no “Silver Bullet” that can make us see the glass half full instead of half empty. We need to train our brain to be more optimistic. And remember, the glass is always refillable!
Start by Looking for the Silver Lining- None of us have been through a global pandemic so it is hard to know what to expect.
Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude – paying attention to life’s positives can train you to see more and more of them, which will help you learn to be more grateful.
Create a Happiness Bank – What makes you happy? What’s good about you? If a friend or colleague compliments you, jot it down. Pull it out next time you are feeling negative.
What’s Your Silver Lining? My friend recently suffered an optical stroke. It came on suddenly and she lost eyesight in one eye. Her attitude is that it could have been worse. The stroke could have left her whole body paralyzed.
Live In a Positive Environment – It is essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you up instead of dragging you down.
Surround yourself with positive people – Set boundaries when spending time with negative people, better yet, avoid if possible. Negative people will pull you down.
Limit negative information sources and time you spend on it – News can take a toll, determining what is accurate and what is fake. You don’t need to hear every unpleasant detail from dawn to bedtime. Choose one trusted source and listen sparingly.
Take a fast from social media / unplug and reconnect. Set aside a no electronics time each day.
It’s important to keep a routine – Maybe sleeping in and wearing pajama pants all day was ok for a few days but it’s important that you follow a routine, be productive and use your time wisely.
Implement the 5 second rule – Every time you feel like you are slipping into a negative thought, count down from 5 to 1, refocus and rephrase your thoughts. 5-4-3-2-1
Look for the good in others – and hang with them. Be less judgmental. Once you start looking for the good in others, it makes it easier to be less cynical. Start looking for one good trait or action in each person you meet or interact with daily.
What is the worst that can happen?
Imagine – Things are rarely as bad as you think. Will this matter in 5 years or even 5 weeks?
Express feelings – Don’t hold in what your concerns are. Share them with those you love and enjoy the support they provide.
Reduce worries – Easier said than done, but my favorite quote is to put your worries in your back pocket with a hole in it. Worrying will not extend your life by even one hour.
This too shall pass – the old saying holds true. Grant yourself grace.
Share a kind act – Check in on a neighbor, write a thinking of you or thank you note to someone and brighten their day, drop an unexpected gift in the mail.
Support our local businesses – Many of our local restaurants and organizations are hurting. Patronize them or help market them with a shout out on FaceBook.
Health Benefits – Helping others makes you feel good. It boosts happiness, reduces depression, and provides purpose.
Take Care of Yourself – This is one area that you do have control over! Basic habits can have a huge effect on your mind and body.
Eat Healthy – Incorporate fruits, veggies and whole grains into your diet.
Exercise – Aim for at least 3 times a week, take the dog for a walk, go biking.
Sleep –Go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, no digital screens one hour before bed. Try a calming activity before bed, sleep in a cool, quiet environment. Allow your brain and your body to recharge.
Posture – Sit up straight at your desk, take frequent breaks to walk around. Be good to your body, it’s the only one you have.
Nature – You can enjoy nature anytime of the year. Store up the vitamin D and fresh air and put it in your happiness bank.
Breathe – Slow down. Focus on breathing in and out. Breathe in through your nose to the count of 5 and count to 5 as you exhale out through your mouth.
Treat Yourself – You deserve it! Whether a small ice cream cone, a long bath, or taking time to read a book, take time for you!
Connect – with family and friends, on FaceTime or Zoom. Make space in your schedule for breaks, lunch and chatting at the water cooler and texting with friends.
Start Your Day in a Positive Way – It sets the tone for the rest of your day. Anyone who has overslept or whose car wouldn’t start in the morning knows that the rest of the day is downhill.
Listen – to uplifting music or podcasts
Read – Inspirational stories, quotes or scripture
Meditate – Allows you to focus your attention, quiets your thoughts.
Exercise – A great feeling to have it accomplished for the day.
Make a Healthy Breakfast – start out with protein such as eggs or a smoothie to get going
Live in the Present – Constantly replaying mistakes or failure will drag you down.
Don’t get lost in the past – Unless it is to get hope from past resilience. We have endured major life disrupters such as JFK getting assassinated, the economic downturn in 2008, the events of 9/11 – we survived just as we will today.
Or obsess about the future – there is little you can do to change it.
Take time to live in the moment – Live mindfully and don’t wish your life away. Look for shapes in the clouds, see the snow on the tree limbs, listen to the birds, feel the sun, rain and wind on your skin.
Smile – It’s amazing how contagious a smile is. If someone doesn’t have one, give them one of yours. You can even see it with a mask on!
Watch a funny video – Jump on YouTube and watch bloopers, cats playing, or whatever makes you laugh! Bookmark it for your happiness bank.
In all situations, find the humor. – Allow yourself to experience humor in even the darkest or most trying situations. Remind yourself that this situation will probably make for a good story later and try to crack a joke about it.
Small Changes Do Add Up
Start a gratitude journal or get an online app – Close your day, every day, with a positive acknowledgement of something you accomplished, learned or are grateful for. It will help dilute some of the negativity you’ve absorbed and remind you that not everything is bad or depressing.
Take advantage of found time – Paint that room, clean the closet, finish that scrapbook, complete any project that you’ve been procrastinating on.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness – It’s fun to do something nice for someone anonymously.
Do your part – By wearing your mask, washing hands, social distancing, staying home, you are protecting your neighbors and those most vulnerable – you can still make a difference.
Excerpts included from articles written by William Arruda, Kevin Foss, Henrik Edberg, and Seraine Page.