THE OPTIMISTS - Nicole McLaren Campbell

Founder, AIM, Educational Services

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?

Optimism is my biggest superpower and I believe one of the most life-altering choices one can make. When I say life-altering I literally mean it — studies show that optimism, that is, the belief that good things will happen in the future, can extend one's life span by almost eight years! I use the word deliberately — we must make the decision to see the glass as half-full, to intercept half-empty thoughts and actively replace them with affirming thoughts about our present and our future. Optimism has improved the quality of my life, and when I catch myself not being optimistic I shift on purpose and I feel much happier, more creative and open to possibility.

I am a self-professed “inspirational quote junkie” and I am so proud! I keep my brain on positive by filling my mind with inspirational quotes every day — quotes on winning, losing and bouncing back, on joy, on peace. I love quotes so much I even made my own inspirational quotesInstagrampage - @nicspire. Quotes give me strength when I need it, encourage me when I don't and I find so many of them, so easily, onInstagram.

Speaking of social media, I am very deliberate in terms of who I follow and don't follow! I find that what we feed our brains affects our mood and energy, which in turn affects our ability to flex our optimism muscles!

Another strategy I use is self-talk, often out loud! People might think I am crazy but you might hear me saying “Nicole, get your mind right”, “Nicole, no weapon formed!!” Or “What's the opportunity here?”. The conversations we have with ourselves are the most important conversations we will ever have! So, I proudly speak to myself daily! I also pray. I thank the Lord for things that have not even happened yet! I pray with a spirit of positive expectancy and focus on all the winning ahead, that I can't even see, because I know for sure that what you focus on does multiply. Music, music, music, is one of the greatest tools that exist and it is essential in my optimism toolkit.Winningby Agent Sasco is one of my favourite songs ever, and when I listen to it I feel super-optimistic! I have a playlist which includes other songs that inspire the same feeling, and I play them when I'm happy and optimistic and I play them when I'm down and fearful or anxious about the future.

I have also been vision-boarding for almost 10 years and it works, it works, it works! I believe so much in its power that I now train companies and individuals on visionboarding, in person and on-line! Thinking carefully about what we want for our lives and putting images to foam boards takes tremendous optimism since the future is not guaranteed, but one must force oneself to “see” one's future, in all its glory as though it has already happened. As I look at my 2018 visionboard in amazement, at all the things that have actually happened, I am so happy that I choose optimism daily.

Building a vision board and choosing to be optimistic are expressions of courage. To believe that great things will happen in our future is to expose ourselves to the possibility that maybe it won't happen, and to the inevitable disappointment that comes with that. But life is happening to everyone and disappointment will come whether we are optimistic or not.

Optimism promotes the production of dopamine, dubbed the “ignition system” in our bodies responsible for making us happy and increasing our motivation and courage! Dopamine is absolutely essential for our wellbeing and success, and choosing optimism is a natural way to put ourselves in the driver's seat of our own lives and success.

The cost of not being optimistic, though — increased susceptibility to depression which elevates the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, compromising our immune systems and leaving us more susceptible to infectious diseases — is simply too high a price to pay for me. So I choose optimism instead.

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