Spring. It’s almost here. Can I have a hallelujah!
I can’t wait to plant the little seedlings I have growing under the heat lamp in the basement. I’ve been starting my own snapdragons and zinnias for years now and I have to tell you each and every time I start the process, I smile. On the day I see the first little green shoots, my smile is even bigger. And then when it comes time to move them outside, I’m almost giddy. Planting day? Don’t even get me going! It’s the best. It’s a joyful process. To me, the whole thing is about being hopeful and looking forward with a happy heart. It’s about having a little faith. It’s about optimism.
Optimism comes naturally to some. The rest of us have to work at it. But it’s good work. And for those in the 65+ crowd, optimism can be a lifesaver or at the very least, a life extender. A recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that optimism plays a quantifiably beneficial role in healthy aging. It found that an optimistic attitude equated to a 24% increased likelihood of maintaining one’s good health in the aging process. That’s huge! And encouraging. So how do you get more of that good stuff? How do you become a more optimistic person and hopefully a healthier one too? It takes work. And it takes practice! But it’s doable. Here are the top five tips I picked up in a Psychology Today article on the art of becoming optimistic. I think they’re perfect.
- Start on the flipside. Notice your negativity or pessimism. Simply decide to become aware of it.
- Challenge it. Was pessimism the only way to respond or react or was that habit, routine or ‘just me’? And then, even if it doesn’t ‘ring true’ try to think of a positive reaction to replace it.
- Start to search for the positive in everything. It’s hard sometimes, but there’s usually something to be thankful for, even in the worst situations.
- Don’t criticize. Instead, give others positive feedback. Find something to commend or compliment. That’s a remarkably powerful gift to give someone.
- Give yourself the same gift. Optimism is free for the taking. It requires nothing but the desire to embrace the positive. It’s a lot like spring, it’s about looking forward with a hopeful heart and embracing the good stuff. Here’s to a beautiful season ahead, and beautiful it will be!
Happy Spring everyone.