During the past year, our optimistic approach to life has taken a downturn. Suddenly we are being told we cannot do the things we enjoy each day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov) reported that…
“Overall, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of trauma and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) related to the pandemic (26.3%), and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%).”
So, how do we break this cycle?
Positive Thinking Starts with waking up – Start with the alarm clock. Try an upbeat song or sound to wake you up. If you have trouble, set a few alarms. In short order, your body will become accustomed to the sound and know to get up for the day. If you enjoy the quiet of the morning, try getting up 30 minutes before your family. Use this time for sipping on your coffee and reading the news.
Another great way to keep yourself motivated is to use positive reinforcements. Place sticky notes in the areas you frequent with pragmatic sayings. “You are going to be great today!” or “Take a deep breath, it will work out!”. Repeat these sayings to yourself as you get ready. You might be surprised just how positive your day turns out.
Think of Snow White
In the famous movie, the dwarfs are always humming or singing while they work. It may seem silly, but Dr. Sian Beilock from the University of Chicago argues that if we do not provide a release for our brains during stressful times, we create a phenomenon of ‘chocking.’ “
Far from being down to just nerves, choking occurs when the brain finds itself with too many pieces of information to process, resulting in ‘paralysis by analysis’”. Releasing the negative energy by humming will improve constructive thought, allowing your brain the time to sort through the moment.
Smile more, frown less
As humans, we are accustomed to being more approachable when our aura is brighter. No one wants to engage with someone who seems angry or standoffish all the time. Though it may seem harder to smile, it takes fewer muscles to make that happen. Not only is your personal space more welcoming, but you might just find that your own mood changes for the better.
Rejuvenate your interests
Having a job is simply a part of life. To enjoy personal hobbies, many require money. Instead of looking at your employment as a necessity, try reminding yourself why you go to work. Did you take the job for only the money or did you believe that your attributes would be beneficial to your customers? What about both reasons?
Often, when we are in a long-term career, we begin to forget why we started. Make a list and keep it in a place you can see every day. Remind yourself how you are contributing and how you feel about it. This also gives you a chance to brush up on tasks you want to capitalize on.
Above all, remember who is most important – Simply put, the most important person in your life is you. Without your strength and wisdom, your personal world would suffer. Tell yourself daily why you are an asset. “I am strong” or “I can do this” are simple sayings that have a huge impact on your mental health. Remember that your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Take care of both, you’re worth it.
In conclusion – No matter how your day goes, quietly tell yourself that tomorrow will be better. Take it one day at a time. Before you know it, you will break the cycle of cynical thoughts and feel more refreshed and optimistic. As Winston Churchill once said, “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”