Over the past year, the ability of many people to maintain an optimistic attitude has been put to the test as fears stemming from the pandemic, financial difficulties, and uncertainty about the future have kept people guessing about what they should do next. Yet most people know that keeping a positive, optimistic attitude is not only one of the keys to good emotional and physical health, but is also critical to making good decisions. Here are four tried and true ways to maintain an optimistic attitude in the face of trying circumstances:
1. Accept responsibility for what you can control and release what you cannot.
When circumstances are difficult, there is no use pretending that the situation is a bed of roses. When you accept the things about a situation that you can do something about and release the things that are out of your control, you will free up an immense amount of mental space that otherwise would be taken up with needless worry about things you can do nothing about.
2. Cultivate gratitude.
Gratitude is a powerful force. At first glance, you may not think there is much, or anything at all about your present circumstances for which you can be grateful. But if you take a moment, there is certainly something you can find in your life, however small, for which to be truly grateful. The smell of freshly laundered clothes, the feeling of getting into bed after a long day, a good cup of coffee, a patch of blue sky…all of these and more are yours for the taking. Go over in your mind three to five things for which you are grateful each night before you go to sleep.
3. Get some sleep.
Don’t underestimate the power of consistent, quality sleep on your emotional and physical health. Make your bedroom into an oasis. If your bedroom is cluttered, clean it up. Keep fresh sheets on your bed and make it up every day. Get outside first thing after you get up in the morning and get some morning light on your face. This will set your biological circadian clock in your brain and help you to sleep better at night.
4. Start moving.
Exercise is one of the most studied interventions that has been proven effective in relieving anxiety and decreasing depression. This does not mean you have to join an expensive gym and work out for hours and hours. A brisk walk for twenty minutes at a time, three days a week, will not only significantly boost your mood but will improve your cardiovascular health as well.
When things are difficult, it’s often hard to know what to do to get oneself out of the downward spiral. However, the four simple suggestions, may be what is necessary to get one feeling better again quickly! If these work for you? Then, reach out to someone else and help them implement these optimism builders as well! We are all better together!