This year I made a promise to myself to focus on being positive and happy; to strive to see the good things in every day and every situation; to surround myself with positive people and things; to expand my horizons.
Over the past couple of years I feel like I was becoming more and more negative and, along with that, less happy and upbeat. I theorize this change in mental outlook was leading to things like high blood pressure, dental issues (I broke several crowns – I am a legend at my dentist’s office) and anxiety. I believe in the mind body connection and that you can choose your attitude. My hypothesis is that if I choose to be positive, my mental and physical well being will improve. It was time for a change so I set my mind to positivity and happiness.
After some personal reflection I determined that I would try the following:
1. Give myself permission not to be perfect.
Sometimes I leave work before everything is “done”, sometimes my house is a little messy, sometimes we eat scrambled eggs for dinner and sometimes I don’t write a blog post for say, 3 months (for example).
2. Surround myself with positive people and do my best to limit my exposure to negative people/groups.
I attempted to reconnect and strengthen my connection to friends and family. I make an effort to spend quality time, on a regular basis with those people who are open to having a meaningful, positive relationship with me. I try to be as present as possible when I am with them and I try to be with them as often as I can. With some difficulty, grief and sense of loss, I allowed myself to let go of those people who did not respond to my attempts to re-connect.
3. Focus on positive social networking.
I joined the Happier community where I am part of a community that focuses on gratitude, meditation and celebrating the good around you. I try not to perpetuate negativity in posts on social networking sites and stay as positive as possible. I try to inspire, not drag people down in my posts.
4. Make time to participate in positive physical, creative and professional activities.
I started working out at Club Pilates . I am not as uncoordinated as I thought! I bought a Hapi Drum and my husband bought me a ukelele. I try to play my saxophone more often (the dog does not appreciate it so much) and to fold more music into my life. After a long dry spell, I recently attended three concerts and a musical. I attended a Music Therapy conference and felt my musical self coming back to life. I am not sure when I let the music leave me, but I am inviting it back in. I try to explore new foods (Pho is amazeballs!), activities and restaurants in my local community. I took a vacation to Kauai, which is one of my favorite places on earth.
I am almost to the six month mark and I am giving myself a “B” (good thing I don’t have to be perfect!). This has not always been an easy commitment to stick to. For example – I am currently struggling with a decision about a group that I am a member of. I joined last year and the vibe is decidedly less positive and inspirational this year. I am finding that, in spite of this group’s purported commitment to inclusion and a sense of “family” some of people who are in positions of leadership use negativity, belittling and public humiliation but call it “coaching”. As a therapist it concerns me that these “coaches” are doing damage to team members that they are not even aware of. They have little personal knowledge of each members personal struggles and challenges, but seem quick to make judgement calls about commitment and dedication which they do not hesitate to present in very negative ways instead of using positivity to coach and mentor members to success. As a person who does no respond well to this type of “coaching” but who hates to give up, I need to determine if giving up on the group would be more stressful than persevering, while trying to avoid the source of negativity, and potentially being subjected, and watching other members being subjected, to “mean girl” negativity and it being called “coaching”.
I am recommitting to spending the rest of the year, and maybe even my life, working toward perpetuating positivity and happiness for myself and those around me. Join me?
Find Your Om Balance – Terri