Optimism: Your Rx for the New Year
While a New Year brings hope for many more years to come, feel good that there is something you can do about it: be an optimist. Recent research has shown that a positive person can live an average of 9.5 years longer. You can have the last laugh by training the way you think and react to events in your life.
1. A new day, a new beginning. Being positive is realizing that each day brings another opportunity to make things better for yourself and for others around you. We all have “bad” days once in a while – but only because we claimed it to be bad. Think about ways to make tomorrow better than today.
2. Plan for a brighter future. Olympic champion and author of Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday, Apolo Ohno, posted this question on Twitter with regards to New Year resolutions: “What plan have you outlined to reach your goals?” Besides planning to make each day better, think about the long-term, too. Research shows that people who are optimistic about their future behave differently.
3. Find your re-set button. Finding peace with yourself doesn’t have to be a day at the spa or a week-long vacation. Look for a quick way to clear your mind at the time you need to. Go for a run, meditate, explore new ways to start over. Try to prevent yourself from reaching the “negative zone” and practice ways to re-adjust your mood and/or your reaction to something that would ordinarily cause you stress.
4. Say no to personal weakness. When you’re down because you’ve performed poorly on an exam or got into the longest line at the grocery store… again, remember that it is not necessarily a sign of personal weakness or bad luck. While you can recognize a few outside factors that contributed to the event, always realize you’re in control.
5. Find positive in the negative. Negative situations often always come along with, if anything else, a learning experience. What have you learned from a disappointing situation? What can you do in the future to change this and make the outcome positive?
6. Relish the good. When something positive happens in your life, take the time to savor the moment, then analyze what has just happened. Give yourself due credit for making it happen. Think about the ways you contributed, both directly and indirectly, to make this event occur.
7. Feel well, even if you don’t. “When researchers look at people who have similar medical conditions, they can predict who’s likely to live longer: the one who feels his health is better,” says Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, in a recent interview in Reader’s Digest. The author of Breaking Murphy’s Law is also the coauthor of a recent review of studies on the benefits of a positive attitude. “There’s something about that feeling of wellness that’s important, even—maybe especially—if you’re ill.”
8. Smile inside and out. Have you ever heard someone on the radio or perhaps the other person on the line and hear the happiness in their voice? There’s one radio DJ in my town that puts a smile on my face because I truly believe she’s talking with a smile. Happiness comes from within. A reflection of your positive thinking and making an impact on others, may perhaps be reason enough to be happy.
Have you resolved to be positive in the New Year?