Anyone who has ever walked the earth knows that life as Forrest Gump says “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” And, truth in point, he is correct. Bad things happen, even to good people! That, as we have been told; is just the way the world works.
You are not alone. Everyone has bad days. Days where it seems that nothing is ever going to go your way. You feel bogged down, mistreated by the world, maybe even abandoned at times. Maybe, the source of your unhappiness all deals with outside influences; work, relatives, money, the car that cut you off this morning! The fact is any one of these elements, or any bumps in the road, can just ruin your day. They may even completely derail you on your path.
There is however, something that can be controlled every day. It is not some super huge secret, but we at Natures Garden think that it needs to be shared with the world. The truth is you have a choice. It is your choice everyday to decide how you perceive your life. We are not directly speaking in means of fate, destiny, luck, or what have you; we are talking about attitude.
Perception is a very powerful word. Oxford’s online dictionary defines perception as: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something. So, what is it that makes this word so great? Even through its own definition, the “power” of perception is directly given to you- the eye of the beholder. Therefore, perception is key to your choice everyday to stay positive, even though it may be perceived by others that you are in a situation that typically is not deemed a positive one.
The formula for overcoming these feelings is to look for the positives (aka silver linings) and stay focused on the good. We realize that for some, this may be a trying task. And, that is okay. It may take some time and you may also have to remind yourself to stay positive. But, with time, this will all become natural to you. There is nothing wrong with taking a step back from the situation and asking yourself what positives can be found. The goal here is to retrain your line of thinking to stay optimistic no matter what the situation.
Why, not only do positive people tend to be better liked, studies have shown that it is now safe to say that positive people are also healthier people. Going hand in hand with that, positive people also outlive negative people. Positive people are adept to make superior choices under stressful situations. Positive people also stay married longer. Even better yet, positive people are better equipped to see the whole picture of something; which then correlates to better solution solving abilities, even when the perception of the situation itself may be seen as grave.
Back in the early 80’s, scientific researchers started to correlate, research, and relate happiness to healthiness. Today, it is an emerging field with hundreds of academically published studies showing the effects of “dis-positional optimism”-the notion of expecting good things to happen over bad. In the medical world, it has been founded that there is an interrelation between being an optimist and a person’s well-being. In the studies that involved hospitalized patients that maintained a positive outlook; researchers found these patients actually had a decreased re-hospitalization rate, lower risk of heart disease, and a longer life expectancy. That is all just physically speaking, psychologically, optimistic patients also show lower levels of depression, anxiety, and distress.
So, wondering how all of this works? When a person is faced with circumstances that are out of their control but directly affects them, there is a mental calculation that occurs in the person’s mind. This calculation results in what the person expects their outcome to be. This is the person’s subjective assessment- based on what they know, and how they will prevail. In turn, this is related to the person’s subsequent behavior in the matter.
Now let’s take a look at a situation from the perspective of an optimist and the perspective of a pessimist. Here lies the most notable difference between the two groups and it is all within the coping strategies of the situation. Optimists (the positive people) look at the situation; make the mental calculation and come to the subjective assessment with not only the answer, but also, optimists have the beneficial aspect of solving the situation while also improving it. They have the knack of finding the silver lining of the situation and solving it so that the chances of it occurring again are rare. Optimists think in terms of the long run. Subsequently, if a situation cannot be reformed positively, optimists are able to accept reality and move on. To them, it is all about the frame of mind.
On the flip side, pessimists (the negative people) look at the situation; make the mental calculation and come to the subjective assessment. Usually, this involves a lot of denial, avoidance, and the dwelling of negativity surrounding the situation. Pessimists are the group of people that are angry, bitter, and blame themselves for all the bad things that are happening to them. Within that as well, pessimists also view any other decisions that they make as already failing because it is inevitable in their mind set. When a pessimist comes across something positive, they view this as an accident, and most likely it will not happen again. Can you see why this is the wrong way to live life?
Are you wondering how to do this and stay optimistic? The necessary steps to stay positive involve one crucial one that has to be the starting point every day. This step is to view each day as if it has endless possibilities, no matter what the catalysts of the day may be.
Other key things that optimists thrive for are:
-Never blame yourself for a situation. View this as a way for better things to come.
-Take the time to reflect and be thankful for all that you have.
-Take any “setbacks” in stride, and realize that it is all temporary.
- Keep the complaining to a minimum; remember good things do not always arrive wrapped in a bow.
-Realize that the only thing that is holding you back from accomplishments is you. Do not cage yourself in.
-Have confidence in endless opportunities and success.
-When dealing with a failure, even an epic failure, stay positive- you still learned something from it.
On a final note: There is just something about positive people that allows others to gravitate to them. Happiness and joy then spreads like wildfire among everyone present. Sure sometimes you will be in situations where you may have to force a smile or a laugh, but it does make you feel better. And, feeling better is the first step in being positive. Then it is just a matter of finding a little joy in every situation. If you find yourself struggling to stay on the happy train, it is very easy to pick up the happiness bug by interacting with positive happy people (or even one person). As they say, “it is all in the company that you keep!”
I have had the pleasure of working directly under Deborah Ward for almost 9 years. If there is one thing that I would want to share with everyone reading this, it is that Deborah is one of the most positive, uplifting, and upbeat people that I know. She truly does want to bring the best out of everyone she associates with. There are no hum glum blah days, and if it is looking as if the day may go that way, she quickly finds a jam on YouTube and blasts it. Needless to say, it is really hard to stay down when you are around her. So, if you are struggling, find a positive person, and let their light shine on you, or just watch your favorite Youtube video!
Also remember, the term optimist is derived from the Latin term: optimus meaning best. So, always put your best foot forward and if you are a chandler- never let anyone put your flame out; and if you are a soaper- never let anyone pop your bubble!
Inspire, Create, and Dominate!
(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)