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Today is National Positive Thinking Day. 2020 has been a doozy of a year, and it just keeps on giving and not in the most positive ways, so we could all stand to benefit from a bit of optimism. According to an article on optimism in Psychology Today, “Research shows that, on average, human beings are hardwired to be more optimistic than not.” Optimism significantly improves experiences, especially unfamiliar ones.

I consider myself an optimistic person which is not to say that I have never experienced the doldrums. However, I actively seek out opportunities or implement routines centered around positivity. Thinking positively helps me persevere during the rough patches that spring up from time to time.

Here are a few ways I cultivate positive thinking in my life.

Develop a Gratitude Attitude

Gratitude JournalPracticing gratitude or exhibiting a gratitude attitude is a terrific place to start with implementing more positivity in your life. It is quite difficult to be pessimistic and grateful at the same time. Keeping a gratitude journal and listing 3-5 items daily is a wonderful way to reframe a “bad day” since focusing on the good as opposed to the bad makes for a happier outlook. The majority of items that I list in my gratitude journal do not always reflect major experiences from the day. Many days I am grateful for the ordinary, the mundane, or things we take for granted. Hot showers, ketchup, the sound of birds on a morning walk, and a smile from a stranger while he/she holds the door open for you at the post office are all reasons to celebrate a feeling of gratitude.

During the summer, I started listening to The Gratitude Diaries podcast hosted by Janice Kaplan. Kaplan spent a year exploring gratitude and eventually wrote a book about her experience. Her podcast episodes are short (5-7 minutes) and air every weekday with a range of topics and useful tips that will help you start your day with a gratitude attitude. Being grateful equals feeling happier and more positive.

Daddy Nail GunExpress your gratitude towards others. It could be as simple as a verbal thank you, a note of gratitude, a small token of appreciation, or springing for lunch or dinner. Expressing thankfulness through words or actions is a positive gamechanger for both you and the recipient of the gratitude. My Daddy came over yesterday and helped my hubby install crown moulding in the entryway of my house. I always appreciate my Daddy (and my hubby) and his talents, and I make sure he feels that appreciation. Since the crown moulding has been installed, the bookcase that my hubby built for me will be put in the entryway, providing me with more shelf space for my large book collection.

Monitor Your Thoughts

Reframing your thoughts about a situation can lead to a more positive outlook. Sometimes life gets hectic whether at work or at home, and the demands during that period get overwhelming. Burnout, negativity, and a feeling of helplessness can creep in easily. If I am not careful, I am susceptible to falling prey to the negativity demon; however, I now view these times as a “season of sacrifice.” This point in time is temporary, and there is eventually a light at the end of the tunnel. Generally, I mark the ending date of my all-consuming task on my calendar to give me some clarity. If the season of sacrifice is at work, I may give myself permission to lower the bar at home. Taking pressure off of myself in another area of my life keeps me on track to complete whatever needs my immediate attention at the time. I may have to say no to some things to allow time to recharge my mental batteries.

Right now, we are experiencing a global season of sacrifice. My hubby and I have not been to a movie theatre since 26 January when we went to see Doolittle. Today, we are going to see Tenet, and I’m over the moon. Yes, we have to wear a mask, but I don’t care. It is a small sacrifice to make in order to experience an activity that I enjoy immensely. Having a type of entertainment to look forward to is a huge happiness boost and keeps dullness at bay.

Don’t catastrophize! Instead, embrace the unknown. Try to focus on the unexpected blessings that show up along the way. While the pandemic had us sheltering in place for longer than we could ever imagine, it also gave us an opportunity to evaluate the aspects of our life that are really important and valuable, such as relationships, while allowing us to slow down to notice the wonders of nature or rekindle an appreciation for being at home.  I started walking again and haven’t missed a day, yet. I love walking outside. Sometimes, I listen to a podcast or music, and other times I listen to the natural sounds surrounding me. I always feel happier and hopeful after a walk.

Imagine the Possibilities

Engage in activities that will allow you to think more positively. Here are a few examples of activities that make me happier.

  • Develop a spiritual or religious practice.
  • Develop a self-care routine that makes you feel physically and mentally strong.
  • Read books, watch programs/films, or listen to podcasts about happiness and positivity.
  • Do a nice gesture for someone.
  • Cultivate relationships with optimistic people.
  • Explore nature.
  • Create something!

Life is short, dear reader. Yet, we can choose how we live that life. Even though today has been declared National Positive Thinking Day, we can live positively every day. So, how do you choose to think? I would love for you to share your thoughts and any tips you have for thinking positively. Happiness!

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston Churchill

Kat in Kentucky

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