Choosing the right picture for this post was a little difficult. I'm sure you will agree we don't often focus our camera's lens (I mean iPhone) on those moments when things could have worked out better. This snap was shot in San Diego on a very overcast beach. It was the last day of a long weekend and my travel companion was on a much earlier flight than I. Which left me at our beachside locale without a lot to do. I could have easily sat around the hotel, perhaps had a few drinks and wasted away my day. Instead I decided to get out in the fresh air and practice yoga on the beach. To my delight the hotel even furnished me with a matt at my request. Result.
I am often accused of always being in a good mood. Of course this is far from true. I just know better than to socialize off the back of a lack of sleep! For the most part, however, the fact is; if the charge is optimism, I am guilty.
Are we born into optimism over pessimism? Perhaps there's a degree of genetics involved. In my opinion, however, if you want be more optimistic you can be. Simple as that. OK, maybe not that simple, but I'm about to reveal a couple of secrets that will have you well and truly on your way.
Big secret number one. Lack of sleep, alcohol & drugs, binge eating and a host of other unhealthy behaviors lead to moodiness & negative thinking. If you are really looking for a change in perception, here's a good place to start. Focus on nourishing yourself and see how different you feel in your soul.
From my experience, making this shift toward nourishment is the fast track to feeling happy. I'm not saying you should become a slave to your health. I am saying that if you need an optimism reset, start here. Choose a day soon (tomorrow is good for me - hehe). And commit to nourishing yourself for 7 days*. Write in your journal (or type on laptop) how you feel about taking this challenge on at the start and give yourself a mark out of 10 for mood. At the end of the seven days repeat this process and mark yourself again. Then spend time absorbing what you've learned about yourself. Hopefully this reset will be the beginning of some longer term healthy habits.
Big secret number two. You choose what you see. Every second of every day, you make a choice (often unconscious) to perceive what is in front of you. Perception is everything. Change your perception and you will change your life. Let me give you an example.
It's Monday. It's raining. You're awake but really you just want to crawl back under the covers. The thought of the office is making you feel sick. You're miserable. Actually maybe you are sick? Maybe if you go in today you will spread germs. You know you're being melodramatic but bad luck.
It's Monday. It's raining. How awesome, after the beautiful weather on the weekend, you feel lucky that the rain is falling on a work day. Sure you're a little tired after having too much fun in the past couple of days. But, you know once you've had a bite to eat and focused on the task at hand you will be right as rain (pardon the pun). You decide to reward yourself for embracing Monday with a hot bath tonight. Something to look forward to.
As you can see, both examples are choices. Choosing what you see is within your power. In fact, once you realize this fact, it can have unbelievably liberating and life changing results. Every burden, disappointment or shame can be looked at from an alternative viewpoint. You can choose to see things differently.
Perhaps the most memorable moment for me when it comes to living into this was after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I chose very early in my journey that I was not going to feel sorry for myself. That instead, if these types of thoughts rose up, I would remind myself how many people suffer from far greater. Also that even if I died young as a result, I would still feel very blessed to have had such an amazing, safe, loving, adventure filled 40 years. It's not that I am strong (while that's what people assume). Maybe I am. But if I am it's because I choose what I see. And I choose glass half full.
I hope you've enjoyed this post and maybe even learned a thing or two. Hit the like button please if you do! And I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic using the comment box below.
*nourishment reset - 7 hours+ sleep a night, no fast food, focus on whole foods, limit sugar (no fizzy drinks), do some exercise each day even if it's just a walk, limit alcohol to 1 unit per day and 3 per week max, no drugs, no binge eating, no cyber stalking. Get a massage, have a foot soak, meditate, read a self-help book. You know the drill. Do it!