My husband works out at one of these crazy interval training places. He sets the alarm for 4:30 in the morning and actually gets out of bed without hitting snooze. Then, he tortures himself for an hour before work. He says it wakes him up and gives him energy. Last week he kept telling me how much I would enjoy taking a class there. I took this to mean, “Hey fatty, you could use a workout.” Naturally, I responded with a look of hurt and shock while Googling ‘divorce lawyer’ on my iPhone. He defended himself by telling me that the guy who runs it is really inspirational and the room is decorated with motivational sayings. Since, I do like that kind of thing and since I was embarking on optimism week, I signed up for a class this past Saturday. Well … the sayings might as well have all said, “Be all you can be.” It was the suburban equivalent of boot camp and my version of hell. The class did make me more optimistic in that I was optimistic that I was going to have a heart attack. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that gyms are required by law to have AEDs on premises.
Better, safer ways to become more optimist:
1. Think positive thoughts … duh! Obvious, yes. Necessary, yes. This might not come naturally but with repetition, you can change your thought patterns. Find the silver lining and if you can’t, break out your 64 box of Crayola and color one in. I know people who can find the bad in the good. She gets invited to a party and she complains that she has nothing to wear. He wins the lottery and he complains that he has to pay taxes. Do the opposite and do it often. Find the good in the bad and even if it sounds ridiculous, say it aloud. “I sat in tons of traffic but it was great to have some time to myself.” (When I am alone in the car, being in traffic is like a little vacation.) Eventually, it will become normal for you to look on the bright side.
2. Weed your garden. Time is limited. Surround yourself with people that make you feel better, not those that bring you down. If you are holding onto a relationship that you know is unhealthy, let it go. I guarantee that more flowers will bloom.
3. Acknowledge that you have freedom of choice. Even if you are unwilling to change a situation that you don’t like, admit that you could change it if you were willing to make some sacrifices. This will elevate you, make you feel less stuck and more in control. It might even reveal to you why you are in that particular job, relationship or bar.
4. Make it a point to enjoy the simple things in life. Things like jewelry, clothes and houses do not have as much power to make you happy as the little things in life. Time with your spouse or significant other, the change of season, and a sunny day are begging to be enjoyed. Each day, there are many things that are served up on a silver platter as a recipe for hope and happiness – notice them.
5. Laugh! Smile! When you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. Even a fake smile and a fake laugh will release endorphins and make you feel better. I tried this in the shower today after catching a glimpse of myself in the shower door. It worked and I am OPTIMISTIC that it will continue to work.
I was so happy to find that the experts believe you can change your pessimistic views to optimistic ones. I want to impart confidence and enthusiasm on my children. I want them to learn by my example because I want them to embrace their life, not resign themselves to it. I took an optimism test today and got a 60% which is the lowest grade I have ever received. Normally, this would make me feel like a failure but this week, I am viewing it as a challenge. I am on my way to boot camp so this may be my last entry. Thanks for reading:) (Note the smiley face.)