February 3, 2011
The Optimist’s Path
A friend and I were talking about the concept of good health being related to a positive mental attitude. My view was that a positive outlook is a healthier way to live and can even prevent illness. But he countered with something interesting. He said, “Some of the nastiest, most negative thinking people I’ve known have lived to be very old.” Once I thought about this, I had to agree - I’ve seen this too.
Although we’ve all known a difficult, cantankerous person who lived to old age, I still believe keeping a positive focus is important for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. I like what Dr. Karl Menninger said, a founder of the Menninger Clinic and proponent of blending psychiatry and medicine: “Set up as an ideal the facing of reality as honestly and as cheerfully as possible.”
Why go the opposite route? It’s apparent that many of us choose the path of complaining and misery, but why? About complaining, a wise teacher I once had said, “It’s self-correcting. One eventually sees the futility of one’s own negativity, although this may take many lifetimes.” I found this to be an interesting way to look at it: we are all evolving and one of the roads in our travels is the road of pessimism!
I’d like to think I traveled that road long ago, but things happen and sometimes it just feels really good to get right into the center of the mud pile and complain about everything. If we can be aware of the moment we choose to jump into the mess, and also be a little practiced in how to climb back out and clean off, then once in awhile maybe we can be excused and just indulge. Griping is an indulgence, after all.
Affirmations are one way to help your mind stay focused on the positive and also to help dig yourself out of the mud pile once you’ve had your fun in there. I encourage you to set up your own self-fulfilling prophecies. Listed below are a few you can use to get you on your way.
I make conscious, positive choices
I have the kind of inner fortitude that survives and succeeds through anything
I live in true comfort and joy
I have a healthy vibrant body and mind
I forgive myself for everything
I am open to positive change
I flow easily with change
My own well-being is my top priority
Optimum health is mine now and always
I am fully loved
My body knows how to heal itself
I am completely healthy in every way
Every day I’m feeling happier
I am alive and healed on all levels
I remain in balance, steady, strong, peaceful
I have a lot of options
I have many opportunities
My life is filled with harmony
You can write them out, print and post where you can see them, choose one that resonates with you and put it on your refrigerator, or make a list of your own. Either way, you’re mental focus will be improved and, according to the latest studies on mind-body wellness, you will be healthier and happier.