THE OPTIMISTS - Catherine Goodall

Director for Project Development Food for the Poor Jamaica

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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It seemed the right thing to do ahead of diving straight into the 'silly season', and in this time of incredible love and hate, confidence and fear, fake news and alternative truths, to hear shared voices of optimism. SO asked the question: What's your take on optimism?

Every day is a blessing, an opportunity to do something new.

I read a book calledOne Happy Thought At A Timeby Rochelle Gapere. It is a 30-day journey to being a happier you. Many of which we know but commonly treat frivolously. Understanding that happiness is deliberate and it's not an emotion or a feeling that just happens is critical. Happiness is a choice based on decisions we make in every area of our lives.

Are we working in a job we enjoy? Do we like the people we are around every day? Do I get along with my classmates or co-workers? Am I doing well in school? Am I excelling at work? Is there growth potential for me in my current job? Am I eating right and exercising? Am I comfortable with my weight? Do I love myself? Do I feel pretty today? So many life decisions affect our happiness.

Research shows that happiness affords us better health. Happiness protects our heart helping to keep our blood pressure and heart rate low. I am sure everyone can understand that if we are angry or stressed it can affect our heart and blood pressure adversely. Studies show that happy people run a lower risk of getting sick. Of course, happiness combats how we are affected by stressful situations which we know can lead to serious physical illness. You can take the time to research and see the other health benefits to being happy.

Think about how many people didn't wake up this morning, you evidently have breath and if you are reading this; you have life. How are you going to use it?

Are we going to waste time getting upset over trivial things or things we can't control? Are we going to stay mad at people we love or even worse, waste energy on people we don't even like? Don't allow other people to control your happiness. We all have the ability to choose. We may not be able to control every circumstance but we can always choose how we react to our circumstances and that in itself is power beyond measure. Instant gratification may make us happy for the moment but be devastating in the long term so make wise choices.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness.” Do you prefer to be happy or angry, miserable, frustrated or impatient? I am certain you prefer to be happy! When we are emotional we tend to make irrational decisions. If we take the time to take a deep breath and think about what we want our desired outcome to be and possibly another way of accomplishing that, it will save us the frustration and wasted energy of being angry.

TheBibletells us inProverbs 23“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The mind is more powerful than I think most of us realise. We have the power to change our mindset at any moment. Being grateful is something that helps me to change my mindset. When everything feels like it's going wrong, I stop to think about what's going right. What are the things you have to be thankful for?

At times, I am as equally grateful for the things that go wrong, as well as the things that go right by focusing on the lesson I can learn from a difficult experience. John Maxwell said it best, “Good management of bad experiences leads to great growth.”

Surrounding ourselves with people who motivate, encourage, support and even push us when necessary is a sure way to stay happy and encouraged. Being in a toxic environment is draining and cannot enhance our life in anyway; so avoid toxic situations and people. Surround yourself with people who will edify you, not those who sit around and gossip with nothing productive to contribute.

Choose to do things that enhance your happiness, treat yourself well. I understand that we don't live in a perfect world but if we make a conscious decision to manage our mindsets, control our reactions, choose to do things that enhance our happiness and surround ourselves with the right people, we will be happier people…and a happier society on a whole!

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