Our regular columnist, Stephen Smith, from Merewether Fitness Studio, discusses the misconception that a ‘cup half full’ person is like burying your head in the sand.
As difficult as my last column was to write, it certainly generated some healthy discussion on what it truly means to go through life with a positive attitude.
It also led to several people asking me the question: If one does decide to go from being a ‘cup half empty’ person to a ‘cup half full’, how do they go about it?
For me, there are three key areas:
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Sounds simple enough, but this one small step can be life changing.
- Our Physiology. Our posture and the way we move, as well as the way we breathe, have a huge impact on our mental state. I’m sure anyone who is married or in a relationship can attest to the fact you can tell what sort of emotional state your partner is in just by looking at them. In fact, isn’t it also possible to judge a stranger’s mood by their body language? Of course, the best way to improve how you use your body is exercise.
- Our Vocabulary. This refers to both verbally and our self-talk. A few years ago, I, alongside a friend who hosted a radio show, did a little social experiment. We had people who recognised themselves as the ‘negative’ or ‘cup half full’ person in their workplace, volunteer to use only positive words for 48 hours. The results were amazing. Not only did the volunteers themselves feel better, but it changed the whole vibe of their workplace.
There is a misconception that going through life as a positive, cup half full person is like burying your head in the sand, so to speak, and ignoring the negative things going on around you.
This could not be further from the truth and is a recipe for disaster.
Just because somebody is happy and laughs a lot doesn’t mean their life is easy. These positive, happy people choose to move on, and dwell only as long as is required on the negatives in their lives.
A simple way to look at it is to use the metaphor of a garden, which represents our mental state. A garden takes work.
We have to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water and fertilise on a regular basis and, every now and then, pull out the weeds. The weeds represent the problems we face in everyday life.
You cannot ignore them, or they will take over. You deal with them and get back to focusing on the positive part of the garden, the plants.
We also keep watch over our garden bed, looking out for pests or disease. By doing so, we know when we need to spray, fertilise or water if required.
So, too, we must keep an eye on our mental state. This way we can recognise when we need to give ourselves the positive nourishment that we need.
This is especially important during this pandemic and the challenges it poses.
Some simple ways to do this are: Watch an inspirational Ted Talk on YouTube; catch up with a positive friend; do some exercise or go for a walk; perform a random act of kindness for someone; or read an uplifting book.
Or maybe, just maybe, stop watching the news?
Personally, over the last few weeks, there have been times when my glass has felt ‘half empty’ for various reasons.
I recognised I was not feeling my usual self and, in doing so, acknowledged that it was justified considering what I had been through.
I allowed myself a period of hibernation before following my own advice and emerging back to my default mode of a ‘glass half full’.
I leave you this week with a challenge. For the next 48 hours (at least), adopt an attitude of gratitude. Stand up straight, breathe deeply and smile.
Use only positive words. Last, but not least, nourish your mind with some positive activity.
Warning: The above activities have been shown to cause feelings of happiness, positivity and contentment.
If symptoms persist, continue with treatment.
Until next time,
Health & Happiness,