Monday, July 6, 2015

Optimism is Contagious! Choose Those Around You Wisely

It can be very challenging to be positive when those around you are negative – harder still when those individuals are family members. How can you stay more positive in that situation?

The dynamics of any group are strongly affected by the mindset of those around you.  Since it's next to impossible to change other people (good luck with that!) or to avoid them if they're family (relocation?), one way to positively affect your own viewpoint is to consider your reaction when others act negatively.

Being around those always harping and negative is draining.  Being around those who are positive and optimistic can lift you up.  Think inflate versus deflate! If you're blessed to have a combination of people around you that can support you when you're down and you can do the same for them, that's great. There will always be the naysayers and some people are comfortable in their drama - but don't buy into that.

Work to five a handful of trusted friends who are positive, and can be called when you need a boost.  Do the same for them. If you surround yourself with positive people, then the negative ones you can't avoid will matter less to you.  I call them Toxic Clouds and I work to be pleasant to them, but remove myself when it's not mentally healthy for me to be around them. Do you really need Toxic Rain to fall on you?
Also, positive people help YOU to view things differently and that can be immeasurably helpful. We all have tough, down days, but when you can recall a kind, warm memory from something someone said to you, or incorporate it into your life, you will view things with greater optimism. I love the words from the book, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson:  the little things in life are easy to do, but just as easy Not to do. 

As you learn to wade through the water with a more positive view, remember to pass it on.  Mirror the positive attitudes shown you, and now you become the Lifter and it becomes a habit to tune out the negative and re-frame it positively. Just as muscles learn movement to create muscle memory, so can your mind.  

Optimism is contagious, so seek new ways of dealing with the negatives you cannot avoid, surround yourself with Safe People, and grow your optimism and positive perspective daily. You CAN turn negative drama into Harmony for yourself.

Linda Kreter & the
VeteranCaregiver Team

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