01. February 2021 · Comments Off on How To Rekindle Optimism · Categories: Yoga wisdom

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an optimist by nature, I know I’m incredibly lucky and I do count my blessings. But all too often I hear the platitude ‘think positive’ being rolled out and I wonder, isn’t telling someone to think positive’ sometimes just a polite way of saying shut up and stop whining’?

Perhaps straightforward positive thinking isn’t a self fulfilling prophecy and there’s a more constructive way to rekindle optimism?

Try these practical tools to boost your spirits:

Conscious Breathing

Yogic breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is known to reduce anxiety and lower stress hormones. Lay on your back, one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Inhale slowly through the nose for a comfortable count (say 5) and then increase your exhalation by 2-3 counts (so 7-8). Lengthening your out breath slows your heart rate a little and fully releases the carbon dioxide from the body, prompting the relaxation response. If lengthening your exhalation feels tricky, try humming as you do it. Try it for five minutes – everyone can find five minutes!

Use Your Time Wisely

Make wise choices about how you spend your spare time. Be sensitive to whatever drains your system and, if possible, do less of it. Be ruthless about your time sucks (yes Instagram, I’m talking about you) and bring in something more nurturing. Be clear about the self care that fills you up and do more of it. Set boundaries around it. Make it clear to whoever you share your space with (and to yourself!) that this is important and is not negotiable. By filling yourself up you’re in a better place to give to others.

Get real

Of course we all have to spend time doing stuff we’d really rather not and we need to be realistic about our options. Have practical expectations. Research shows that realists enjoy better long term well being than those who over estimate their outcome.

Be kind

Say yes to rest, to reading, to bunches of bright spring flowers, to excellent chocolate, to cloud watching, to Bridgerton/Lupin/The Great or whatever is floating your boat. Your spare time doesn’t always have to be productive. It’s good to BE and not to DO. There’s enough harshness out there right now and we could all benefit from a little kindness. Start with YOU. A self compassionate mindset will help you feel more optimistic about what’s ahead.

Strip Out The Shoulds

Watch your language. The words that make up your thoughts have a direct effect on your wellbeing. Speak kindly to yourself. Let go of ‘I should’ and replace it with ‘I could’. Swap ‘I’ll try’ for ‘I’ll have a go’ or ‘I’ll do this’.

Pick one of these practical steps to help combat malaise, change your mindset and lift your mood.

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