March Is for Mind over Matter

Who knew March is Optimism Month? It’s also Brain Awareness Week. Despite that nagging ache, continuously icy walkways, and another head cold, it may be time for mind over matter …

Why Be Optimistic Now?

We tend to associate optimism with an energized, positive spirit who has a bounce in her step or a smile plastered on his face. Usually, these life enthusiasts are in a hurry to get somewhere where something amazing is surely about to happen. Like songbirds and blooming trees, we imagine them existing in warmer months– maybe on bikes or with happy dogs in tow.

We don’t often picture optimists in heavy coats, digging out cars from snow, and searching for cold medicine. Countless winter storms and incessant coughs make it a challenge for anyone to be upbeat in such scenarios. So, why dedicate March to optimism?

March brings the promise of spring. With that comes myriad ways to refresh your mind and body. Winter weather will soon cease. Colds and flu will lessen. The world will awaken as nature and people emerge outdoors. These things are imminent in March. Even the dedicated pessimist cannot deny brighter days are coming. (After all, we adjusted the clocks this month.) These guarantees make optimism easier.

Brain Work

Your brain is a powerful tool. Control your thoughts to live a happier, more productive life. Consciously emphasize your successes. Use them as a springboard for action. Downplay failures. See them as isolated incidents in a world comprised of imperfect human beings. Thought patterns can be altered. Choose to accept this idea. It can be your first step toward a more optimistic lifestyle. With some effort you, too, can manage to have a glass half-full or better.

To Do

Recognize your successes. If you increased reps in your workout, acknowledge it as a personal win. Consider how you accomplished it– through strength, sweat, and exercising when you could have opted to sleep later. Motivate yourself through acknowledgement.

Keep perspective.

A night of junk food should not be your diet’s undoing. One missed workout does not make a trend. These are isolated incidents. They do not define you. They only yield power if you let them. Proceed beyond the misstep. Proceed because of the misstep. We all need a respite (even personal trainers).

Be your best defense. For those not accustomed to seeing the bright side, it takes effort to back talk negative thoughts. Allow yourself excuses. As humans, we make mistakes. For example, if you are sore from a workout, give yourself more credit:

1.     You accomplished a workout.

2.     Your muscle aches may be a natural response to challenging yourself.

3.     You know how to handle this. Apply heat/ice, rest, and check your movements with a personal trainer.

Be confident in yourself. You are worthy. Rest easy, knowing next time you will set it right. That post-workout setback was an exception, not the norm.

Evaluate objectively.

When something negative occurs, try to set aside your feelings and review it as an outsider. This should help you develop solutions and the mindset needed to execute them. Otherwise, you risk getting overwhelmed by emotions, ruminations, and self-blame. Speak with a trusted friend or family member to get a fresh vantage point. It may be easier to have someone else show you the positive.

Don’t exaggerate. When the day seems to consist of endless mishaps, consider you actually may be looking for them. Little annoyances and inconveniences pile up until they become the only focus. Make every attempt to find the good throughout your day — in your community, coworkers, family, work, and play. When the bad stuff happens, and it does to optimists and pessimists alike, you’ll be more resilient. You will notice the world’s goodness on your side.

Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss

Optimism does not require you to go blindfolded through life, ignorant of wrongdoings and the lessons to be learned. Instead, try on a pair of rose-colored glasses and see the world in a lighter hue.

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