Updated: Oct 7, 2020
There's no sugar coating it, life simply is full of the ups and downs. If this year alone has taught us anything, it's that the world can seem completely out of our control. In fact, the only thing in our control may be how we roll with the punches. 2020 has certainly not been a year for the fainthearted, so my question to you is: did you take those punches standing up, or lying down?
Recently, I've found myself digging deeply into my positive psychology practices as a way to protect and cultivate my own sense of well-being as we've navigated this unique time. I've found frequent check-ins with myself to be most helpful simply to gauge what I need - is it more joyful movement? More connection? More resilience? How about optimism? No matter the challenge, being optimistic is key to our well-being and our ability to weather the storm because it gives us hope. This goes deeper than a forced 'silver lining' - I'm talking about practicing a dialogue with yourself (you can also practice with a partner!) to rewire your brain for positivity and hope in the face of any challenge - from the mundane to the life-quaking.
See Challenges as An Opportunity to Grow, Rather than a THREAT
What's exciting about this situation?
What unexpected silver linings came out of similar situations in the past?
What can I learn from this experience that I may not have learned otherwise?
What's the best case scenario that can happen here?
When You're Only Seeing Barriers, Focus on Resources at your Disposal
Who can I talk to that may be able to offer support/guidance/resources?
What strengths can I use to navigate this situation?
How have I navigated similar situations in the past?
Come On, Nancy Drew - Problem Solve Rather than Ruminate
What is the ideal outcome from this situation?
What steps can I realistically take to achieve my end goal?
What barriers could I face and how can I use my strengths to overcome them?
What first step can I commit to taking today?
When the Going Gets Tough, Stick to it
How can I navigate this situation while staying true to myself and my values?
Who can hold me accountable as I navigate this challenge?
How will I protect my well-being?
Optimism not only makes our day-to-day life more enjoyable, it has been shown to help us live longer. If you find yourself erring on the side of pessimism or helplessness, give yourself the patience and space to explore each of these questions to see what resonates most with you. You can even practice them with a partner when you're facing a difficult situation. By building these these consistently and time and time again, we can rewire our brains to make this a default setting rather than the doom and gloom - pretty cool, right?