By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Do you ever wonder if the world you live in is normal? Given the vitriolic political scene where everyone is made out to be a bad guy, corrupt office and business politics, insane drivers and Coronado bridge jumpers, yet another massacre—this one in Colorado and with its very own San Diego ties, the economy flowing downhill (or is it?—depends on whether you listen to MSNBC or Fox News, I guess) and value clashes at fast food restaurants, you have to wonder how anyone can stay positive these days.
I have some answers, and no, exercise or protein shakes are not necessarily at the top of the list, though they do lots of good and will always head you in a healthy, happy direction.
First, remember that as a member of The Sporting Club, you have already expressed hopefulness that life can be better. The team of trainers, sports medicine staff, and spa professionals—everyone who works here—is focused on helping you find the positivity and well-being that you sought when you joined.
So here’s my take on what you can do to build positivity in today’s not-so-positive world—ask me again a month from now and I might offer you a number of different answers, all with the same goal—living a healthier, better life, fit and happy. That’s what positivity is all about.
1. Change your mindset, use a different word, make a subtle change in your physical environment and researchers tell us it can improve your health and well-being. Positivity comes from embracing the “psychology of possibility.”
2. Find beauty in the people that fill your life and your days will be filled with grace and kindness. It’s reciprocal. Smile at everyone you see on the second floor of the club and ignore everyone on the third floor. Which floor “seems happier and friendlier” to you? Hmmm. Wonder why? Maybe it’s what YOU radiate. Want positivity in your life? Radiate a positive feeling of compassion, love and beauty and see what you are offered in return? Will it work every time? Probably not. But it will work enough to leave you not particularly caring when it doesn’t.
3. Along the same lines, keep smiling. Research tells us that during brief stressors, grinning and bearing it, holding a smile for a moment or two, helps to reduce the level of your body’s physical reaction to stress, get this, even if you don’t feel “happy.”
4. Corny, but enjoy the gift of nature. That sunlight vitamin D relationship has lots going on for it. The positive outlook you begin being aware of is not a coincidence of taking a walk along the beach, it’s the consequence of it. Stare our of the window of the Sporting Club between sets and appreciate the beauty that surrounds this club.
5. Be mindful that there is no “no.” Regardless of what happens in your life, traffic, flat tires, loss of money, wrong choices, bad decisions, work and relationship problems or worse—understand there is a reason, and always a good one, for the “seeming NO.” Fact is, there is a “yes” but as in all of life, it’s a matter of time and place—when and where will you find the “yes”? Just keep looking for it and understanding that what seems like a “no” is really just a message that will lead to the “yes” you are looking for.
6. Exercise your heart and lungs, stretch and build your muscles, feed them well and you’ll move along the health, fitness and performance continuum of fitness just fine.