Did you know that optimism not only can reduce your stress, but increase your longevity?
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”Winston Churchill
What’s not to love about opportunities, reducing stress, and increasing longevity? If you are anything like me, the end of the year is one of the most stressful times. Between the holidays, family drama, finances, school stress, life stress, friend stress, and everything else going on, I can use all the stress reduction I can get.
Here are seven ways to be more optimistic in your daily life.
I am grateful for gratitude. It’s true! I love it. One of my favorite things to do in November is focus on what I am grateful for and take action by thanking specific people in my life. However, we can practice gratitude throughout the year for even a few minutes a day. Read tips on how to create a successful gratitude practice here. Now is the perfect time to carve out a few minutes a day to create a habit.
When you do random acts of kindness for others, it boosts your mood. Not only do we have the ability to impact someone else’s day, but one random act of kindness could truly impact another person’s life. Think about it. Have you ever been having a bad day and a stranger told you that you have a great smile? Maybe you have been the recipient of someone paying for you in the Starbucks line. The same tingly feeling you get when you receive an act of kindness, you get as the giver. Here are some of my favorite videos to inspire kindness and ways to incorporate it with your family.
Hang out with positive people
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. Peer relationships don’t just affect pre-teens, adults are affected by the people they spend time with. If you surround yourself with negative people, you are going to see yourself thinking more negatively. However, if you hang out with people who are positive and optimistic, you will start absorbing some of those thoughts and ideas. Should you end friendships with negative people? Absolutely not, but think about how often you spend time with them and add more encouraging people to your circle.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.Mindful.org
An easy way to become fully present and aware is by closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and focusing on your senses. One of my favorite things about the Apple watch are the reminders to stop and breathe. Two to three times a day my watch reminds me to take deep breaths for 1 minute, and it always seems to come at the right time. If you don’t have a watch, set a few alarms on your phone to remind you to just take deep breaths and be present in the moment.
Mindfulness can also be time spent meditating, praying, or practicing shavasana. You better believe when my watch goes off, I use those little minutes throughout my day to pray and give it to God.
Focus on an affirmation or intention
Start small. Each day pick an affirmation or an intention to set your tone for the day. If that’s too difficult, start by setting an intention or affirmation for the week. Spend a couple of minutes each morning to write it down and focus on it. Writing it down cements it to your memory and will make it easier to recall.
An affirmation is a positive statement used to encourage.
I am capable of _____.
I am at peace with who I am.
I can share my talents by ______
I trust myself to make the right choice.
An intention is
Today, I will offer myself grace.
Today, I will do something, even if I am afraid.
Today, I will focus on my strengths.
Today, I will find beauty in everything.
In today’s social-media age, we are bombarded with photos, captions, and stories that make it difficult not to compare. However, we have heard it said time and time again that “comparison is the thief of joy.”
I am not sure where it started, because I always hear it from multiple people, but one of my favorite quotes on comparison is
Your starting point is different from someone else’s middle.
It’s easy to look at someone killing it on Instagram and think “why can’t I be that good? Why do I not get as many likes? What do they have that I don’t? Their life looks so perfect.” However, you don’t know what it took for that person to get there. You can’t compare your starting point to their middle. All you can do is be you and set small goals for yourself. The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself. It’s easier said than done, but when you can master it, will make you much happier.
Do you know that feeling of not wanting to workout, but that good feeling you get when you finish? Working out sends endorphins to your brain and makes you happy. When working out becomes a part of your weekly routine, you are sending feel-good hormones to your brain often. Add it to your self-care routine and you will see a difference in your overall mood.