4 Tips for Recapturing Your Optimism
I’m relieved that 2020 is behind us. It wasn’t an easy year for me. To be completely honest, on three occasions in particular, I felt really down, almost depressed. The worst was when my chronic back pain acted up this summer. I lost the ability to run or even walk, and when I was in that state, everything seemed bleak.
Luckily, I was able to pick myself up and get back on my feet — literally and figuratively! Over the years, I’ve learned that when you’re feeling down (whether it’s due to an injury, a pandemic, or the hassle of using Zoom), you can’t fast-track your way out of negativity. But by putting in the work, you can undo your mental state and start fresh. This applies to each of us, both personally and in business.
IT’S TIME FOR A REBOOT.
“Carpe diem” is overrated — at this point, I think we should “carpe annum” and seize the entire year of 2021. If you want to come along for the ride, you have to create a positive mindset that you can turn into productive action. That’s the only way to achieve your full potential. I’m still working on this myself. For the last few months, I’ve been actively looking for solutions and practicing positive habits. So far, I’ve found a few that work well for me.
GET A BREATH OF FRESH AIR.
Studies show that spending time outside can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Now that I can walk again, I’ve noticed that going for a 20-minute walk or run every day helps boost my mood. Unless it’s raining or snowing, I head outdoors each afternoon. The best way to squeeze this walk into my schedule is to take it on my lunch break, and that strategy might work for you, too. If you get 45 minutes or an hour to eat, skip some of the time spent scrolling your phone during lunch and go for a lunchtime walk instead. I’ve made this a habit, and I’m always happier after soaking up some sunshine.
WALK YOUR WAY TO A BETTER MOOD.
When a movie is supposed to be inspiring and uplifting, there’s always a scene where the main characters give themselves a pep talk in the mirror. Why? Because it works! There’s actually science behind the idea that energizing words and “positive self-talk” can shape our moods. Saying something positive out loud will break you out of the cycle of negative thinking and reboot your mindset. Even repeating a positive word in your head can have a profound effect on your mood.
I use this trick whenever I need a pick-me-up. To test it out, choose an upbeat word like “excellent” or “wonderful” and shout it in your mind. Really accentuate the syllables and give it all you’ve got. You’ll be amazed by how good this makes you feel! It’s a real dopamine rush. You can even try the technique while you’re driving. Turn the radio up and scream your positive word out loud. You might look a little bit silly, but no one will be laughing when you crush your goals as a result.
LEARN HAPPINESS FROM THE EXPERT.
Part of succeeding in business is admitting you don’t know everything. I’m not a happiness expert, so to really get a handle on my feelings, I turn to people who are. One of my favorite mentors to seek advice from is Shawn Achor, the author of “The Happiness Advantage” and “Big Potential.” Achor has been called “one of the world’s leading experts on human potential,” and he shares all kinds of strategies in his books for finding happiness and achieving success. To learn more about him and put his theories to work, check out ShawnAchor.com.
These techniques have pulled me out of some dark places, even with a pandemic raging outside. This year is already off to a good start with the vaccine rollouts across the country. Now it’s up to us to keep that momentum going! Let me know if these tips work for you, and if you have your own strategies for staying optimistic, feel free to send them my way.