If the latest news or personal challenges are taking a toll, maybe it’s time to cultivate your optimism, to help you bounce back and feel better.
Resilience can be learned, and even small actions consistently performed increase your hardiness. Since chronic stress accelerates the cellular aging process, it’s an investment in your health and well-being to develop daily habits that bring you an optimistic perspective.
Here are seven ways to Revitalize Your Resilience:
1. EXERCISE – SOME IS BETTER THAN NONE
You don’t need a full workout. Try a walk around your neighborhood, a short bike ride, or one yoga position. When you feel yourself getting down, ask yourself: When did I last make time to exercise?
2. MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS
As those of you who have taken my OLLI classes at SOU know, I cherish my long-term friendships. I prioritize meeting with at least one friend each week. It helps me to know I have someone to share a laugh or a painful moment with. “A friend doubles your joy and divides your sorrows”.
3. SHAKE THINGS UP
Try something new and different: Discover a new place to walk, go to a coffee shop, cook a new recipe, or create some art.
4. PRIORITIZE YOUR SLEEP
The older I get, the more I realize the effect of a good night’s sleep on my mood, creativity, and energy. If you are struggling with insomnia, practice good sleep hygiene.
5. DWELL ON HAPPY MEMORIES
Recall past times you have been able to move from a pessimistic outlook to feeling restored. When feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself of times you felt similarly and yet persevered through difficult challenges to bounce back.
6. CURATE YOUR NEWS CHOICES
Modern technology gives us the ability to witness horror and tragedy, as well as compassion, creativity, and beauty all on a screen. No other generation has been granted the opportunity to see so much of the world while at home. Sometimes you just need to disconnect from the news cycle to feel restored.
7. IDENTIFY YOUR SELF-TALK
Psychologist, Dr. Martin Seligman, speculates that optimistic people depersonalize setbacks, and see them as temporary and specific rather than permanent and pervasive. Identifying your self-talk may give you the push to move from a pessimistic to a healthy optimistic perspective.
Try this exercise to help you see the power of your self-talk:
Make two lists on separate sheets of paper.
On one list—write grievances, resentments, and experiences that spur your anger, cynicism, and pessimism.
On the other list—make a note of areas in your life that encourage gratitude, support, appreciation, optimism and ‘lucky breaks’ you received.
After writing the two lists put one list in a drawer and the other on the fridge. Choose which list goes where. Which perspective will you emphasize? Which viewpoint would you like to cultivate? Feel free to switch back and forth and experience the differences.
Optimism like pessimism can be infectious, so cultivating an optimistic perspective by taking small steps daily becomes easier over time.
Your Optimism Challenge:
I encourage you to focus on one of the suggestions in this article and see how it makes a difference in your life.
If you could use support in staying optimistic, please contact me to set up a counseling session. As always, I appreciate your feedback, questions or comments you share with me at healthyoptimism.com/contact.