Are you or someone you know one of those people who gets annoyed with the Pollyannas (or Pollyandys)? Why should a force of optimism and positivity ever draw contempt?
Maybe pessimism, stress, and fatigue are dominating your path -- and holding you back from the life you want to lead. The good news is that there is a way to shift your perception toward optimism. Here's how.
1. Take a moment to look at the beauty that surrounds you.
Our pace often interferes with being present to the many gifts of splendor that surround us daily. There may simply be a pet sitting by your feet, a child's smile, warmth from the sun on your face, or finding out the Justin Bieber has taken a vow of silence. Just focus on whatever catches your eye and makes you appreciate the fact that you are alive. Now close your eyes and breathe in and out, deeply and slowly, and let this beauty come over you.
Open your eyes. Feel better?
Still, you may be thinking, "that was fun -- but these moments of taking in the beautiful treasures that surround me are fleeting compared to the stresses and disappointments that I experience." Okay, Impatient Pants. There are four more tips below.
2. Know you aren't alone.
Life can be stressful and difficult at times. If you own your business and are working daily to stay afloat, the stress can be even more intense. Sorry for being Queen Obvious.
But remember this: In times of stress, we have the tendency to shut people out and hide.
Can you find someone who makes you feel great?
Surely, a friend, loved one, or even a pet can be there to combat your stress. And the wonderful thing is that they are always there -- a "just break glass in case of emergency" quick fix that can give you that release when you most need it. Make a deliberate effort to connect with that person or being at least once per day, if only for five minutes.
3. To fill you glass with the good stuff, change your point of view.
Does that seem impossible? I challenge you to create a shift in your perception of the world. Be it a situation, an image of another person, or that of yourself -- having the ability to shift from fear to courage, or scarcity to abundance, is empowering for any individual.
Imagine turning a kaleidoscope to see the shapes and patterns form. What is awesome about a kaleidoscope is not only the colors, but also that every new vision is completely random and new. But in life, we meet the unfamiliar with discomfort and fear. Every new experience is an opportunity for excitement and learning. Turn your kaleidoscope, and take pleasure in, rather than create pain from the randomness of life, which often escapes our consciousness.4. Having difficulty turning your kaleidoscope? Try this simple exercise.
- Pick a question that relates to happiness, gratitude, courage, freedom, or other positive aspects of your life. An example would be, "What awesome random things did I see and experience this week?"
- Take no more than 10 minutes to respond to the question in writing. It is important to describe the way the question makes you feel as you write. Sometimes, I use a metaphor -- a color, texture, or temperature -- to express my feelings.
- Read it quietly to yourself. Enjoy the smile that crosses your face, and recognize how great life is. Even share it with a friend!
5. Know the value of writing it down.
Despite life occasionally serving you expired lemonade, the exercise above helps you to observe your thoughts outside of you, opening up the potential for true understanding. The beauty is that as you begin to focus on what brings you peace and joy, you can repeat the scenes in your life kaleidoscope that you love, so get moving!
Most importantly, however, ask yourself through what lens you intend to view your world? Then put it into practice.