We made a slight deviation this week from our usual coffee talk and decided to grab ice-cream sundae’s instead. For those living in Oklahoma you know how hot it’s been so we stopped into Kaiser’s in Midtown for our sweet treat.
E: With classes beginning right around the corner, I always feel it necessary to garner as much positive energy and motivation before the semester begins and my course and research load undoubtedly causes me to make numerous withdrawals from my bank of positive thoughts and motivation.
I’ve put together a small list of steps and changes I have made (and still trying to implement) in my day to day life and way of thinking that have helped me immensely and thought I would share.
- Cultivate optimism in your own life and take responsibility for the energy you release into the world
Cultivate optimism. What does that even mean? In my experience, this has involved relying on myself and my ability (which is still in the very early stages) to create my own happiness and positive thoughts and energy. I am constantly reminding myself to seek a bigger meaning or message in situations that don’t always go my way. I used to truly believe that not everything held some kind of “alternate” or “deeper” meaning and that sometimes, crappy things just happened and that was it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that these “deeper or alternate” messages are ones that we can seek and determine ourselves and learn from, if we choose to make the effort.
Creating your own happiness, I believe, is key to cultivating optimism in your life. And for me, this starts with the little things: a great cup of coffee, purchasing new school supplies (like my new Moleskine notebooks and Paper and Rifle Co. agenda), a long walk in the evening to regroup, freezing cold La Croixs….these are all seemingly inconsequential things, however appreciating the little things that make you happy can contribute to your happiness overall.
“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.”
“Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.”
2. Don’t procrastinate with goals and visions that are important to you, commit to your goals.
Reaching milestones and goals that I’ve set for myself always gives me a boost in self-confidence and gives me additional motivation to press forward and stay the course towards my long term goals.
I really love this article that lists four “steps to unshakable commitment to any goal,” this is a really good read if you have difficulty self-starting projects or have a tendency to lose motivation in pursuit of your goals.
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
3. Surround yourself with people who love you and see the worth and value that you inherently possess
“You are the company you keep,” “birds of a feather flock together,” no doubt you’ve heard these old adages and they contain a lot of truth. According to entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Rohn’s insight highlights the importance of surrounding yourself with people who will inspire you to chase your goals and empower to you create the changes in your life necessary to reach them. Additionally, Rohn compiled a list of several questions to ask yourself about the people within your inner circle:
- Do they make you feel like you have what it takes to reach your goals?
- Do they support you?
- Do they make you feel attractive?
- Do you feel happy and energized after spending time with them?
“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” -Edmund Lee
4. Exercise kindness and respect towards other people, share the positive energy that you are actively cultivating in your own life
Studies show that exercising kindness to other has a profound effect on our own happiness. According to Sonja Lyubomirksy, Ph.D and professor of psychology at the University of California, “people who engage in kind acts become happier over time.” According to this article good deeds and acts of kindness can:
- Decreases stress
- Increases life-expectancy
- Promotes mental health
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Mother Teresa
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return but because of who you are.” Mother Teresa
“If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it.” Ruthie Lindsey
“Watch carefully, the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.” Atticus, To Kill a Mockingbird
5. Don’t be the source of your own negativity.
Positive thinking focuses on expecting positive results and actively anticipating happiness and success. This contributes not only to our overall happiness and well-being but can undoubtedly influence the way in which we approach projects, school, research projects etc.
To begin utilizing positive thinking in your daily life try using positive words in your inner dialogues and in your interactions with others. Be aware of negative thoughts the second they enter your mind and try to replace it with a constructive thought.
“She quietly expected great things to happen to her and no doubt that’s one of the reasons why they did.” – Velda Fitzgerald
6. Forgive and know when to remove people from your inner circle
When you let go of people who are no longer contributing to your well being you create room for new, positive relationships to blossom. We are uniquely gifted with the ability to choose who we surround ourselves with and what kind of behavior we will accept and tolerate from those we decide to be with, choose wisely!
“Give up freely what is no longer serving me. Release it to create space for what inspires you.”
“You need to associate with people that inspire you, people that challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better. Don’t waste your valuable time with people that are not adding to your growth. Your destiny is too important.”
“Let go of people who have already gone.”
“Invest in people who invest in you.”
Now go forth and prepare for the oncoming semester with happy thoughts!