One of the things I have tried to do during retirement transition is to stay positive about the changes happening. I have to admit, I am more a pessimist by nature and yes, I defiantly have RBF (for those new to that term….resting bitch face).
During my work career, my pessimism showed up in my great critical thinking skills. I could quickly see what might be wrong with a model, a prototype, or an idea and find ways to make it better/stronger. I could think three steps forward and avoid project pitfalls. I always expected the best of myself and of others. I would “tell it like it is” which was usually hard-hitting. Of course, I had a manager who told me I would “never be happy” because I always saw the issues with things. And I’ve often been told the way to be happier is to just lower my expectations.
So in retirement, I’ve decided to (try &) be a glass-half-full girl. All the research indicates that being positive is just better – for you and for those around you. One of my seven mantras from day one of retirement was “keep a positive attitude”!
Since this a learning curve, I am using a number of tools to help me be positive:
- Practice gratitude. I regularly list in my journal what I am grateful for. I did a list of 10 for Thanksgiving and then again 10 for the New Year. Perhaps I should make it a weekly topic – like Janis’s blog over at retirementallychallenged and her Gratitude-Tuesday.
- Jolts of Joy. Way back I created a 31 jolts of joy list – little things that just bring a smile to my face – one for each day of the month. I’ve brought many of those elements into my daily life. It’s little things – like getting new, fluffy, mint green towels for the bathroom. Every time I step out of the shower, they bring a smile to my face! One woman I met had pink champagne on her list. Now that is her “go-to” drink because, why not!
- I have created positive mantras for myself, and I use them daily. Everything from “I am being joyfully creative” to “I am balanced with less work, more play”. I even gave myself a new morning coffee mug which states “Find Joy in Each Day”.
- Reframing Life Satisfaction. During my Retirement Options Life Coach training, I personally scored low on life satisfaction. What I realized is I am still being glass-half-empty here. I think I am low in life satisfaction because I am (still) struggling with articulating my Life Purpose! Luckily, the training has a great exercise to help you more deeply understand life satisfaction. If I look at all the elements of life – Career/Work, Family Life/Lifestyle, Relationship & Connections, Health & Wellness, Self Development, and Leisure Diversions – in every one of them I am quite satisfied. I either have a plan in activation, or it’s in the 2-3 year plan timing. This deeper analysis helped me reframe life satisfaction away from just a life purpose articulation. And now I am actively saying, I am satisfied with my life today!
- Emotion Monitoring. At a seminar recently, I got a list of emotions, repurposed from Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. (Yes, I bought the book to read more!) This list was encouraged to be used to recognize your emotions throughout the day. I’ve been able to identify when my emotions are more negative – discouragement, unworthiness and doubt seem to be my most dominant negatives. Which comes back to thinking of some additional affirmations I’ve added to my day – it’s OK to be a beginner. Believe in yourself. And I to look to my jolts of joy list for inspiration in the moment!
Am I the most positive person out there? I don’t think I will ever radiate positivity like some people I know do. But I am curtailing some of my innate pessimistic thinking. And life is definitely more enjoyable this way.
What do you do to stay positive?
Picture credit: Pixabay