I just read a fascinating book: Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson. The first part is a bit dry as she details the multitude of research on feeling positive. Instead of focusing on what we’re doing wrong, positivity looks at what we’re doing right. It’s a great approach!
She explains how people who are more positive live longer, are more restful, have greater optimism for the future, are more resilient to change, and overcome bad things more readily. Plus, people who are more positive also are more open about life and are able to find joy in numerous areas of their lives.
The good news is that we can learn how to embrace the positives in our life.
Instead of reminding yourself of all the things you did wrong today, why not make a list of everything that’s been going great?
Spending a few minutes outside, enjoying the trees, blue sky, grass, and the feeling of the sun on your skin can increase your positive outlook.
According to Fredrickson, positivity is joy, gratitutude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. How many of these emotions have you experienced today?
I used to love to eat cereal for breakfast. In fact, I probably had cereal every day of my life during my school-age years, and on through college as well. I was never a big fan of eggs, pancakes or waffles, but I loved cereal.
Starting a few years ago, however, I got away from eating cereal. It never seemed to keep me full, so I started eating peanut butter on whole wheat toast with a glass of milk and a piece of fruit.
Now I’ve gone back to my childhood years and starting eating cereal again. Not just any cereal; Kashi GoLean is my new favorite. My husband laughs at the description on the front label: “Naturally sweetened fiber twigs”. Believe me - fiber twigs are tasty! One cup of GoLean has only 140 calories, and those calories are packed with 13 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber to keep me full and satisfied longer, with only 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of sugar. An added bonus: the sodium content is only 85mg, a measly 4% of the daily value.
All Kashi products are made from whole grains, which is my first criteria in bread, crackers and of course cereal. I routinely encourage my clients to eat a variety of different foods - and now with another breakfast choice, I can join them!
My alarm went off at 5am Wednesday morning. For a minute I thought: I really don’t want to run today. It’s raining, it’s cool outside, I’m tired. My back hurts, my legs are sore, and I really want more sleep.
Then I got out of bed, ate breakfast, got dressed, stretched, and headed out for what turned out to be a fantastic run. Maybe even the perfect run.
Instead of rain, I ran through a fine mist. My wool long-sleeve shirt and glow-in-the-dark water repellant vest kept me warm and dry. After a warm-up walk/jog up my dirt road, I found my stride on the pavement. My goal was a tempo run: hitting a faster pace for a solid 7 miles to build endurance and speed. My last couple of tempo runs have been difficult and slower than I’d like.
This time, running was effortless. I loved striding through the early morning light, listening to the birds and watching the mist over the mountains. The air smelled cool and fresh, with a hint of lilacs. Running back up the hills on East Manchester Road I felt strong and energetic. I kept looking at my watch, thinking I can’t be running this well, this fast.
As I finished up the run down my familar dirt road, I thought how glad I was that I got myself out of bed that morning. Had I stayed in bed, I would have missed the rain, the birds, the feeling of effortless running. How often do we take the easy way out; how much joy do we miss?
I’m setting my alarm for early tomorrow morning, if nothing else to capture another joyful late-spring Vermont morning.