If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain. – Maya Angelou.
There is a reason mindfulness, the laws of attraction, and all this talk of manifesting one’s desires are hot button topics these days. The reason is simple, because these techniques work. As living and feeling beings, we have a desire to be happy and live fulfilled lives. As clinicians and workers in the human services field, we have people who rely on us for their emotional and spiritual needs to be met. In order for us to “be the change we wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi) we need to sometimes change the things we are doing in our own worlds. By practicing self-care, staying mindful and knowing that things will work out in a positive way, we are able to model this positive nature to our patients. When we are energetic and positive, our patients feel this and are more likely to respond to the interventions we use and the suggestions we offer.
Staying positive can be very challenging at times, but it is integral for the work we do. There are some simple things we can do to remain positive. In our fast-paced and busy worlds, we need to take time for ourselves and this includes some basic restorative activities. Spending one-half hour a day in the sun is proven to increase our feelings of wellbeing. Walking for a half hour a day either during or after work is a great way to boost our natural endorphins and increase our stress tolerance. I know for some of us, this may sound absurd, but before we reach for our morning coffee we should first drink 12 ounces of water, with or without lemon. This is a great way to wake up our organs, improve brain functions, digestion/nutrition absorption and overall physical health benefits.
Finally, staying positive and optimistic is a challenge. Avoiding negativity can prove to be just as, if not more, challenging than staying positive. Self-reflection is one way we can avoid falling into the trappings of negativity. Studies have shown the effectiveness of gratitude and the value a daily practice can have. By waking up and writing down five things we are grateful for each day, we can actually become happier, more energetic and resilient to the negativity of our surroundings. When we are grateful, we are more likely to be supportive of those around us and when we live in the solution, everyone benefits.
Author: Dave Ferraro, MSW, CADC – Primary Counselor, Footprints to Recovery