As we enter into our 8th week of our pandemic, how are we doing? Do we feel as if life is interrupted, life is on hold, life totally sucks…or perhaps, life has given us a positive opportunity?
I am having many of the above thoughts and they differ day to day, sometimes hour to hour. Some days I feel incredible hope that we are learning powerful lessons that will change our culture for the better. Some moments are consumed by fear which doesn’t feel so good. At times my worry drifts to the summer or fall, how will we feel being cooped up for that period of time? I often have to stop, breathe and not get too ahead of myself as these many thoughts can be quite overwhelming. Staying in the day and finding gratitude in the now seems to help me through.
Yesterday my oldest son, Danny, and my youngest son, Ethan, were able to spend their afternoon playing a round of golf. It was a beautiful day and they were happy to be out in the sunshine enjoying one of their favorite pastimes. With masks on and golf clubs in hand, they eagerly arrived at the driving range a few minutes early to practice. Danny took a moment to observe his surroundings and said to Ethan, “Wow, could this day get any better?” A man who was standing nearby (but at least 6 feet away) overheard and commented, “Yea, if we didn’t have to wear these masks!”
Danny and Ethan shared this story around the dinner table last night which led to a healthy discussion about how we see things. One golfer appreciated the opportunity to play golf on a beautiful day while the another focused on the negative of wearing a mask. Listening to my sons, I felt incredibly grateful that my boys saw the beauty in the moment and had positive mindsets.
So, what is a positive mindset and why do some of us just naturally focus on the positive while others do not? One definition of a positive mindset means making positive thinking a habit, continually searching for the silver lining and making the best out of any situation you find yourself in.
I believe when it comes to mindset that nature and nurture play equal roles. I conclude, with no factual evidence whatsoever, that positivity is in our DNA and I can tell you (almost emphatically) that it runs in my genes. I believe this because my default, in most situations and especially during challenging moments, is to seek a solution and/or find the silver lining. As my friend and colleague, Dr. Robin Allen says and I agree, “Even in a pile of shit, you can find a golden nugget.”
I also believe that the modeling I received from my family has allowed me to develop and nurture this positive mindset. I have carefully observed the behaviors and mindsets through generations of family members and have often been inspired by how they find positivity even in the darker, harder moments.
Positivity can be contagious. It can also be a habit that is developed over time AND it can be learned. At times, this virus and the many emotions that come with it can challenge our positivity and make it difficult to sustain our energy and our hope.
Lately, especially upon hearing the news that our local curve isn’t flattening, our medical professionals continue to be perplexed, schools and other programming might be virtual through the fall, I have felt fear trickling in and my positive mindset beginning to crack and shatter.
So I made a list, or as Dr. Robin would say, a visual (I know it is corny but it works!!) that I can view when I am feeling low, when I need a positivity boost. When complete, I will use this list to create a visual to be filled with strategies and reminders of the many blessings, opportunities, people, places and things that I love and feel grateful for.
I am naming this visual my “corona positivity/gratitude vision board”. There will be pictures of loved ones, memories that make me smile, prayers of hope for those in need and positive mantras. I will include future events like upcoming family weddings that I look forward to attending. This board will be a combination of my past, my present and hopes for tomorrow. This board, all of these pictures, events, mantras and cherished moments will be a reminder for me – a reminder to find gratitude and joy, a reminder that I am surrounded by love, a reminder that everything is temporary, that this too shall pass AND a reminder that there is a bright future ahead.
We all have our coping and therapeutic mechanisms. Some seek therapeutic options, some of us find fitness or movement opportunities to relieve anxiety and boost our endorphins, many of us are baking and eating. Some of us see the silver linings or innately look for the “golden nuggets”. Others might need a little more help pushing through. If you are the latter, perhaps creating your own list or visual might help you move through moments of challenge to find positivity.
For those who need or want to share positivity, please join me May 26th @ 10 am and together via Zoom, we will share ideas for our boards, positive thoughts and vibes. If you choose, you can then create your own Corona/vision/positivity/gratitude board to use and view in times of need. Bring your pictures, words of inspiration, poems, mantras and, of course, your favorite cup of Joe or tea!
If you want to feel positive but the Corona board “isn’t your gig”, here are some sites, videos and links to inspire, to educate, to bring on YOUR positive:
Main Street virtual connect opportunities and programming
NEW!!! BAKE WITH SHARON!! Thursday, May 21st @ 4:00!
Oprah’s Article: 12 Ways to Instantly Become More Positive
James Taylor video to give you a lift!
ILO’s REMOTE VOTE CAMPAIGN to teach us how to VOTE REMOTE
The SCIENCE of WELL BEING: a class on happiness
Using Positive Memories to Feel Happier
Transition Work Group’s “Road to Independence“resource fair is virtual
Sending positive and healing energy to all,