The New Optimism

We’re not gonna sugarcoat it, between the coronavirus outbreak and the madness of the White House race, it can feel like we’re living in a washing machine at times (with the fast spin cycle on repeat). This is why re-training your mindset is the key to SAVE YOUR SANITY right now. Just as you religiously workout your physical body, learning to flex your mental biceps in a positive way can induce a new sense of optimism (we swear). Here are a few strategies for looking at the challenges of life through rose-colored glasses.

Embrace the glass-half-full mentality

Surrounding yourself with happy, optimistic people can have a positive effect on your mood, outlook, overall health, and even help you live longer by lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses, according to new studies published in The New York Times. So banish the pessimists, Debbie Downers, and fatalists (those busy buying up all the hand sanitizer and toilet paper) from your life.  And do yourself an enormous favor and steer clear of the endless stream of terrifying news and those trolls and online haters on social media —  the negative comments are enough to bring anyone down. Life is too short, and frankly, we are all blessed.

Look on the bright side

Setbacks, challenges, and hardships are part of life, and the more spiritually-minded will be quick to tell you that they are all part of a divine plan. Not getting what you want is often a blessing in disguise to help you grow and transform into the best version of yourself — rejection is protection. Words of woo-woo wisdom aside, it’s essential to reframe negative experiences and try to find something positive in every situation. OK, you didn’t land that dream job. What valuable insight did you learn from the experience?  How wonderful that you made the shortlist! Look now; you have some great new influential connections. And then there’s the oldie but goodie: bigger, better things are yet to come. Say it, believe it, reap the benefits.

Workout your fear

You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you take a leap of faith and step outside your comfort zone. A major advocate for the healing powers of optimism is Dr. Alan Rozanski, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York and top researchers on that very topic. Dr. Rozanski says it’s never too early or too late to become an optimist.  Having witnessed many recovering heart-attack patients finally — and reluctantly — hit the gym, lamenting how they can’t do it, he saw firsthand how a slow-build of confidence and fitness had a huge impact on their attitude and health. Even those of us in the best of health love the mood-boosting endorphins that come after a good workout, especially as we at Cleo love to say, when you’re on your period and need to get back on your A-game. Bottom line: get active, become more optimistic.

Retrain your brain

If you’ve always been in the glass-half-empty category (you’re not alone), note this thinking is habitual, not conscious. The first step is to learn to catch yourself when thinking negatively and make a commitment to change how you look at things, according to Dr. Rozanski.  It’s also important to embrace new ways to shift your mindset (and no, we don’t mean with hallucinogenic drugs). Actually, scrap that, microdosing on psychedelics like MDMA (they don’t call it ecstasy for nothin), magic mushrooms (psilocybin mushroom), and THC (weed) is becoming a major wellness trend aimed at elevating overall mood, concentration, and creativity that may be worth looking into, depending on your, well, mindset.

If you prefer a more traditional approach, mental health experts recommend meditating, journaling, and writing a gratitude diary every day and enjoy the positive impact on your thinking.

Create a mantra and share the love

Write out a positive, empowering, uplifting mantra to live by and stick it on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Then read and recite it out loud every day.  By boosting yourself up, you’ll naturally become more confident and optimistic. Science shows that a daily affirmations practice rewires your brain a more optimistic way of looking at yourself.

Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t stop with yourself: by sharing the love, you too will benefit.  Random acts of kindness have been scientifically proven to improve the health and wellness of the giver as much as the receiver, according to an article in Experiencing kindness can be a buffer against stress which has a direct link to inflammation, which can lead to disease.  So greet your barista with a smile, get to know your co-workers, give back to the community through volunteer or service work, and don’t forget to compliment and empower other women.  We are all in this together.
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