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Running on Optimum

 

Last post I talked about the very real health benefits of optimism. But it is not always easy to be optimistic, especially during hard times like the economic recession we are in right now.

Or is it? 

Optimism can be learned. Dr. Martin Seligman, a leader in this field,  has done extensive scientific research that proves optimism can be learned. I am not going to go into the research. If you want more information on the research you can Google it, or start here or at Dr. Seligman’s website. Dr. Seligman also has an easy to read book that you can get at your local bookstore or at the library, Learned Optimism.

I want to concentrate on just a few things to get you started.

What is Self Talk

Whether we are an optimist or a pessimist depends a lot on self-talk.

Self talk is simply the constant internal things we say or think inside our own head. It is an internal dialogue, a running commentary with yourself. It is never ending. It is often loud. It is usually highly critical.  Life Matters says that self talk “… never lets anything go by with out some comment, remark or evaluation.”

Life Matters goes on to say:

You’ll recognize these thoughts because you have heard them all your life; I’m not smart enough, something is wrong, I can’t do it, I never finish anything, this is too hard, change takes too long, etc. You may have initially formed these negative ideas about yourself from things you heard initially from a parent, teacher or someone who was in authority over you or they were decisions you made in reaction to some event. Now, as an adult you have incorporated them into your own personality. In effect you don’t need those people to tell you what to do anymore, they are living inside your own head!!!

Research tells us that we talk to ourselves at the speed of 100-150 WPM. That totals up to about 45,000-51,000 thoughts per day.

You can beat yourself up all day. Or you can lift yourself up. The choice is all yours.

The Good News – You Can Change Self Talk

The good news is that Dr. Seligman has proven we can change our internal dialogue to a more positive one. And as we discussed yesterday there are positive physical and mental health benefits to being optimistic.

Did you know many successful athletes use positive self talk to hone their physical skills. It is part of their training.  “Self-talk for sport is about being mentally positive, realistic, calm, and focused when things get tough.”  Also see here and here.

If it is good enough for professional athletes, it is good enough for me. 

One of the things about self talk is that we tend to blame ourselves for things that are totally and completely beyond our control. Sounds irrational, I know. But it happens everyday.

You Are Not Your Self Talk

Following are a few ideas to help you turn negative thoughts into positive ones and start reaping the health benefits of optimism.

STOP. Listen to yourself. Most of us are not really aware of how often we say negative things in our heads. So start listening to yourself. Become aware of the internal dialogue in your own head. When you notice something negative say, “Stop,” out loud. Then………

JUST SAY NO. Just because your mind thinks it doesn’t make it so. Eliminate negative self talk. Be your own best friend. Be supportive, not condemning of yourself. Give positive reinforcement to yourself as you would to a friend who was down. Positive affirmations can help.

REPLACE NEGATIVE WORDS TO MORE NEUTRAL TERMS. Ever notice how doctors and nurses, especially in hospitals, seldom mention the word “pain?”  Just using that word can make you experience more of it. So medical personnel have been taught to use the milder word,” discomfort.”

FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS & SUCCESSES.

PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE.

FOCUS ON TODAY.

TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME.

CHANGE SELF-LIMITING STARTEMENTS INTO QUESTIONS. For instance, instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” ask yourself, “Is there any way I can do this?” or  “Is there a way I can get through this?” Subtle change. But makes all the difference in the world.

BE THANKFUL. A gratitude journal helps with this. I wrote about living in gratitude here.

GIVE IT TIME. Learning to be more optimistic will take time. And expect lapses. Learning to be optimistic is a life long process.

And last but not least, focusing on the postive does not mean ignoring reality. It does not mean having no contigent plans. It means taking proactive steps to make the best of every situation and stay goal focused rather than slide into depression.

Going To Fly Now

      

 Featured Recipe    Apples with Triple Sec

The name says it all. I almost always include this on any buffet table I make. More people like this than even like the Curried Cheese Olive Spread I shared a short while back. It deserves all the kudos, too.

It is simplicity personified.

It is deliciousness personified. 

It is better than bobbing for apples. 

It is better than trick or treating.

It is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

This is what you will need:

A couple of apples

Some Triple Sec

Here is what you do:

Wash the apples.

Cut the apples into slices.

Place apples in a bowl and pour some Triple Sec over the apples. 

Then arrange nicely on a serving platter.

Oh you of little faith!!! 

I am crushed.

You did not believe me!!!!

See.

It really is easy.

For Christmas you can use red and green apples like I did.

For Halloween use orangey colored apples and/or Golden Delicious.

You can make a double or triple layer of apples.

You can add a holiday specific motif like the ghost above.

Or for a more sophisticated look use a candle. In the picture below you can also see a double layer of apples.

Health Alert

If you eat enough slices to equal 1 whole apple it counts as 1 full serving of fruits & vegetables for the day. That’s my story and I’m a ‘stickin to it!!!

Cost 

4 Apples         $3.12

Triple Sec      $0.64 

Total cost = $3.76 
Cost per person = ????

Depends on how many people are at your shindig and how many slices they partake.

Bon Appetit!!!

Quote of the Day:   Courage does not roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’   Mary Anne Radmacher

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8 comments to Running on Optimum

  • This looks great. Of course, I love anything with apples! I wouldn’t have thought of pairing them with triple sec, though – great job.

    And with what happened in Chile last night, I think optimism has to become easier. To watch a man who’s been buried alive for 69 days step out into the arms of his wife was beautiful.

  • I used to practice a wonderful type of bodywork (Rosen Method) that works with emotions stored in the body – often since childhood – as muscle tension. There’s a wonderful book I often recommended to clients called Soul without Shame, A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within by Byron Brown.

    It says many of the same things you say here. When we’re criticized – whether it happens in real time or it’s a playback of an old tape — it takes us back to our childhood. Our reaction comes from feeling like a relatively helpless child. By pausing and recognizing what’s going on – that our reaction may have helped us behave and act appropriately as a child, but that’s not necessary now — we can change how we react. What I especially like about this book is that it uses a spiritual – though not religious – approach as a source of motivation for change.

  • […] Watch your self talk; that is the things you say to yourself internally. Many times we beat up on our self with our self talk. ( “I shouldn’t have said that.” “They must think I am so dumb.” “How could I have been so stupid.”) Just because we think it doesn’t make it so. Monitor what you say to yourself about your self in your mind. Keep those thoughts positive. I did an entire post on Self Talk last October. You can read it by clicking this link:  Running On Optimum. […]

  • […] Blah for me. Good wine can be expensive. I almost always have Triple Sec on hand because of these delightful morsels. So I use Tripe Sec and a few other delicious ingredients in my Raspberry […]

  • Dawn

    Such great advice Roberta. It’s a good reminder to pay attention to our thoughts, they’re so powerful. Thanks for sharing…

    • Roberta

      I know I forget to pay attention to my thoughts and be positive sometimes myself, especially when I am stressed. It is so easy to forget. Blessings, Dawn.