Sunday, March 20, 2011

Optimism Allows us to Live Boldly without Fear

Do you wake up every morning and say "it's going to be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day"? Do you wake up wondering what wonderful opportunities the day will bring? Do you tell yourself that you can handle whatever the day brings? Is you glass always half full? If something bad happens in your life, are you thankful because it could have been worse? If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you are an optimist. 

Studies have shown that optimism keeps us mentally and physically healthy. Stress related illnesses have no room to grow in the mind and body of an optimist. What gets me really excited about optimism is that it frees us from fear. Knowing that joy, hope, love, success and all the good things that our hearts desire are possible and within our reach, gives us the freedom to boldly live our dreams. Optimism is not blind.  It is not burying one's head in the sand. Life is filled with blessings and tragedies. I just chose to be fueled by hope. If something doesn't go my way, I try to identify the lesson, learn the lesson and move on. Last week, as I was rushing to get the house cleaned, I slammed my toe into the door. As I sat down, holding my toe in pain and yes, swearing silently, I had a few minutes to reflect. As the pain subsided and my mind cleared, I realized that I was moving too fast, putting too much pressure on myself to have that sparkling house that you only see in magazines. The pain cleared my mind and gave me time to sit on the floor and reflect on what is really important in life.

Optimism is also contagious. If you are shining with hope from the inside, others notice and will often comment on your positive energy.  It is interesting that the universal language of all humankind seems to be the weather. We are all standing under the same sky and the same sun.  It is possible to get the grumpy person, the shy person, and the complete stranger in the elevator to talk about the weather. Even when the conversation start by complaining about the snow, the rain or the scorching heat, there is always optimism that tomorrow or next week being better.  Experience has taught us that if the kids can't go out to play now because it is too hot, they will be able to play later in the evening or tomorrow. If there is 6 feet of snow outside and you can't open your front door and your car is invisible, it will all melt away and soon you will have the opportunity to complain about the heat. 

We should allow ourselves to feel every emotion. One day we may be hopeful and joyful and the next we may be depressed and in despair. Optimism is knowing from the inside out that as human beings, we are strong and resilient  and like the weather, our dark days are temporary and the sun is always shining in our lives, even when we cannot see it. 

Here are links to a few more articles on the benefits of Optimism.

It is not always easy to approach life with hope and optimism. I start each day by telling my kids that it is going to be a "bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day" and telling myself that "it is an awesome day, it is great to be alive and nothing will happen today that God and I cannot handle together." How do you stay optimistic about life?

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