Monday was a hard day. I felt glum, discouraged, hopeless and drained for much of the day. This pandemic is lasting far longer than I anticipated and on Monday, I felt the pain of it more than usual.
As much as I wanted to fight these feelings, I attempted to embrace them. As Dr. Rick Hanson says, “Feel it, let it go, learn from it.” I find myself repeating this mantra frequently.
As I have emerged from these less pleasant feelings (connecting with family, exercise, fresh air, and The Bachelorette have all helped), I am reminded about the power of positivity. No, it’s not possible to always be positive and upbeat. However, when given the choice, focusing on the positive goes a long way.
Mayo Clinic health benefits
According to information found on the Mayo Clinic website, the following are health benefits that positive thinking may provide:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
It goes on to say, “It’s unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.” Anything that will help me cope better with stressful situations, sign me up!
Look for the positive
For example, we find ourselves washing our hands ALL THE TIME. Instead of saying, “to avoid getting sick,” I keep repeating, “to keep us healthy.” This nuanced difference makes a world of difference.
Other examples throughout the day?
We need to get plenty of sleep so that our brains can rest and we grow strong and healthy. (NOT so that you aren’t cranky whiny messes the next day….)
We need to get exercise so that we stay healthy and grow big and strong!
We need to clean up our toys so we know where they are the next time we want to play with them!
During such a potentially draining time, it’s easy to get distracted by the negative. Let’s make it a point to focus on the positive to elevate our own mood and our kiddos.