#UpbeatAuthors: The Golden Rule

Growing up, I always heard: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That was the Golden Rule.

I always had a problem with this, because I would love to have someone give me a million dollars, but I don’t have a million dollars to give away. I know. That’s a materialistic interpretation of spiritual advice, but that’s the way my mind worked when I was a kid.

As an adult, I learned this version (which I prefer): “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”   

Every major religion (and most “minor” ones, too) have a version of this “rule.” Kindness and respect are fundamental to human nature. Knowing that gives me hope for our future.

 

 

 

#UpbeatAuthors: Optimism & Happiness

“Positive thinking gives us the power to achieve our goals.”

I am a firm believer in goals. I also believe in optimism.

Optimism is considered to be a key ingredient to happiness, well-being, and satisfaction. Happier people have been found to be much more successful and leading more fulfilling lives.

Happiness doesn’t mean wild elation. Wild elation is exhausting. Content works. My goal is to be content. It’s not about reshaping the world around you; it’s about making a decision, an effort at times, to be optimistic.

Yes, life can suck. It frequently does. That doesn’t mean a person has to wallow in it.

 

#UpbeatAuthors: Boost Your Optimism Quotient

Sometimes it feels as though the world conspires to keep us down. But remember: the only thing over which we have total control is our attitude.

Here are a few tips to bolster optimism:

Revisit long-term dreams: You dream of being a New York Times best-seller? Imagine yourself on that list. How would being on the list change your life? Change you?

Get enough sleep: Drowsiness promotes pessimism.

Breathing & Hydration: Drink water. Lots of it. The human brain is 77-78% water. Drinking water keeps it healthy and gives it a boost. Same for deep breathing. Oxygen allows the brain to think more clearly. Clear thinking leads to positive thoughts.

Meditation: The practice doesn’t have to be fancy. There are plenty of free apps out there to get you started. Meditation really can help. I’ve used both the Calm and the Insight Timer apps.

Me Time: I’m an introvert, so I fiercely guard my down time. Doing something for yourself isn’t selfish. It’s self-nourishing.

Avoid negativity: This is easier to suggest than to practice. News about the state of the world bombards us; a downer person may be a co-worker, a spouse, a child. The worst thing in your life might be your job, but you have to work. I’ve developed little “tricks” to help me. When a co-worker goes on a rant, I hum Vangelis’s “Hymne“, sometimes to myself, sometimes under my breath. I try to look for the humor in any situation.

Smile: Forcing a smile can lead to a genuine smile.

 

#Upbeat Authors: Optimism, Take 1

My dad joined the US Army and volunteered for active duty during the Korean Conflict. Instead, he was sent to Germany. He was in the Quartermaster Corps.

The way he tells it, they were always being asked to volunteer. “Who knows how to drive a truck?” Everyone would raise his hand, then be sent to dig ditches. “Who knows how to shovel out a barn?” Of course no one but Dad raised his hand, and Dad was sent off on fun adventures. He learned to volunteer for everything because the great stuff he got to do far outweighed the ditch-digging moments.

His optimism and sense of adventure served him well.

 

 

#UpbeatAuthors: Pollyanna vs Eeyore

There is a children’s classic book called Pollyanna. Disney made a movie based on the book, which I remember seeing on TV when I was a child. Pollyanna was the eternal optimist. She always tried to find something about which to be grateful. She changed a town full of curmudgeons into a pleasant place to live. The name Pollyanna has come to mean someone who is excessively optimistic.

Eeyore is a character from the classic Winnie the Pooh books. He’s pessimistic, gloomy, and depressed.

I recall a local TV documentary entitled In Defense of Pollyanna. Imagine having to defend optimism. But we do. Being a Pollyanna takes work, especially with the world the way it is these days. Optimism is frequently mistaken for naivety.

But who would you rather be around: someone who smiles or someone who whines?

And the funny thing about focusing on the positive is that it will improve your mood.

P.S. Today is Leon–Christmas is in exactly 6 month.