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Garfield,Thinking Positive and Toxic Positivity

 

 

(Davis, Jim “Garfield” 10/19/21 ArcaMax https://www.arcamax.com/)

 

First off full disclosure, I actually started this on October 19th of this week but I was running late for school.  My plan was to finish it that night but it has just been a crazy week year and I am kind of drowning.  That being said, when I read this comic that morning, I LOVED it, because I am all about finding the bright side, but sometimes in the moment, there is no bright side.  Garfield, my furry feline friend, when the damn bursts, that’s the time to evacuate!  There are no ifs, ands or buts about that.  You get out and you get out now.

As an educator, I am no stranger to toxic positivity.  It abounds in educational settings, and it is slowly sucking the life out of every teacher I know.  We’re supposed to look on the bright side and push through in untenable circumstances. Toxic positivity is an obsession with positive thinking.  The belief that we should deny or invalidate any negativity or negative thoughts.

Well that is NOT what I, or Think Positive 30 is about.  If you lose your job, that sucks.  You get to be mad, angry afraid and resentful.  You get to have those feeling and own those feelings.  The problem for me is when you continue to let those feelings overtake your life and that is all you can focus on.  That’s when you need to start looking on the bright side.  It will probably be hard, and feel so fake at first, but in my opinion this is where you need to push through and look for good things.  You have skills you learned on the job, etc.

So I caution people to think that there is good in everything. It is important to have an open, healthy and realistic outlook on what is going on in your life.  If crap happens, acknowledge it – take some time to process what is going on, but do not let it consume your every waking thought.  That is just as unhealthy as toxic positivity.  So we can laugh at Garfield because hey, he’s just a cartoon, but if your dam breaks, don’t assume that the onslaught of water is going to clean your kitchen. Gather your loved ones, your important documents and get out of Dodge.

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

Quill

Who Are You?

You are only destined to become one person – the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to be when I grow up, which is odd, considering the fact that I’m older than dirt.  But it’s something that actually requires a lot of thought.  See, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.  I absolutely love being a teacher.  I don’t love all the crap I have to deal with, but I love being a teacher.  But the other day I was thinking about growing up and wanting to be a teacher.

I was born in the mid sixties, and did a lot of my growing up in the 70’s.  The era of woman’s lib, and hearing that a woman could do anything she wanted.  But in school, they didn’t push girls to do anything other than what girls had been doing in school for years.  Sure I could have taken a shop class if I wanted, but I didn’t want.  I just played barbies, and rode bikes like all the other kids that I knew, and in high school, I just took all the classes everybody else was taking.  Sure I could do whatever I wanted, but nobody ever helped me figure out what that was, or what my options were.

My parents didn’t push me to attend college, and in fact encouraged my to take things like typing and shorthand in school.  They weren’t discouraging my from trying other things, they just encouraged me to do what they already knew.  My senior year of high school, I tried a computer class, but everything was programming and basic, and I do NOT think that way, so that was an epic fail.  I literally had no idea who the person was I was going to be.

I’d always worked with kids growing up (read babysitting) and I was good at it, so going to school to get a job to work with kids seemed like a good fit.  I did it, and I loved it – I still do, but I kind of just fell into it.  So now, I’m wondering who I’m going to decide to be.  I may stay a teacher forever, but I will also continue to write.  But you know what, I can do anything.  You can do anything  – we just have to decide who we are.

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

Quill

True Friends

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. – Alice Walker

Do you remember when you were a kid, some adult in your life telling you that you are judged by the company you keep?  Well, that was true, and it is also true that people tend to take on the characteristics of the people with whom they spend the most time.

I am blessed to have a plethora of wonderful people in my life, and these people all have different characteristics.  Some are incredibly happy-go-lucky, others are extremely driven, some are very athletic and physical, and some are more relaxed.  I have friends who are focused on money, and friends who barely get by, friends that are very analytical and friends who are more creative.  I also have friends who are incredibly happy and enjoy life, and friends who are angry at the world.

I’m sure when you look at your friends, you’ll find that the characteristics that make up your friends are equally as varied as the character traits that make up the wonderful person that is you!  It’s funny, when I spend time with my outdoorsy athletic friends, we usually do something outdoors, go figure.  And when I spend time with my more creative friends, we focus on more creative activities.

This is where it gets interesting.  When I spend time with my friends who are angry at the world, or who are chronically unhappy, I find myself being angry and unhappy too.  Those are not moods I wish to explore frequently, nor are they moods anybody should explore frequently. But do you want to avoid those friends and not hang out with them?  If you say yes, that is your choice, but I love all my friends and want to spend time with them.

Years ago, when I started Think Positive 30, I spent a lot of time on the platform LiveJournal.  It was a great platform for blogging, as well as bitching and complaining.  I swear nobody every posted cheerful thoughts, it was always what was going wrong in their life.  That’s not a bad thing.  It’s always good to get things out and not keep them bottled up inside.  However, when you spend all your free time reading how bummed, or angry or upset people are, it starts to wear on you.

My wonderful friend Patty decided she was going to post one positive thing each day in her LJ and I followed suit and that’s how Think Positive 30 was born.  You can do the same.  When you are spending time with people you know are kind of mopey or always complaining pregame some positivity.  Listen to some cheerful music or read or watch something that makes you feel good inside.

Recognize that it is not your job to change your friends or to fix them. You are responsible for yourself.  When you are hanging out and they are complaining because the rain ruined your beach day, agree, but point out that maybe the rain was needed, and come up with something different to do.  Just deflect their negative thinking and you’ll be better off. And make sure to schedule time with the happy, feel good friends too!

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

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Excellence Takes Time

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. – Colin Powell

 

I was thinking about excellence today.  When you set out to do something, you want to do it to the best of your ability.  But when you start doing something, your ability level is usually nowhere near excellence.  I decided to start knitting last year while we were out on remote learning.  I figured it would be nice to have something to do with my hands while I sat in endless zoom meetings and the kids had their cameras off.  Yeah remote teaching is SOOO fun.

Now I had some experience with knitting.  My Grams had taught me how to cast on, and do the knit stitch, and years later a friend showed me how to do the purl stitch.  So there I was, primed with “all my experience,” ready to go.  Pretty much I was going to go nowhere fast, so I did what everybody else does when they don’t know how to do something.  I googled it.  I found a very use friendly site called Sheep and Stitch and I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials they had posted and I was ready to go.  Bam, instant excellence, right?  WRONG!

I made a scarf for my daughter.  I was so proud of that scarf.  However, it wasn’t very good because I hadn’t developed good knitting habits yet.  My daughter uses the scarf to cover her eyes when she is snoozing in our big giant recliner in the living room.  It’s okay, I’m not offended, because it really wasn’t very good.  I then knit the same scarf for a friend and it was better, but it still wasn’t good.  I was still working on those little habits.

Then, I decided to get crazy and knit an infinity scarf for my daughter – a new pattern ladies and gentlemen, and a different style of knitting because I was knitting in the round.  So while parts of it were a little better because I was starting to develop those habits in the little matters, it was still pretty much a cluster.  And the one I made for my sister was even worse because I deviated from the pattern.  Pro tip, when you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do that!

So it’s been almost a year since I started knitting.  Am I excellent?  Nope, not even close, and that’s okay.  I’m getting better.   I’m practicing, and I’m learning.  One huge thing I’m learning is that I should probably take an in person class at some point if this pandemic ever goes away.  YouTube is helpful, Sheep and Stitch is great, but I learn better in person.  But until I can take that class, I’m going to keep practicing the little things, like tension and reading patterns.  I will start to master these things and as I do, I will be one more step closer to excellence.  It’s not going to happen today, and it’s not going to happen tomorrow, and that’s okay.  And if I never become a master knitter, that’s okay too, because in the end, what matters is that I am having fun.  Excellence is great, but it means nothing if you aren’t enjoying what you do!

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

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Once Upon a Time, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Well not Once Upon a Time, but Once Before Covid, and not in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, but in my own personal galaxy, I came up with an idea.  I had been working, kind of sort of, on a young adult novel, when I was struck by an idea.  I wanted to write a companion book to my book Thinking Positive: Take the Journey into Positivity.  Then covid struck and my life was turned upside down.  I foolishly thought, as a teacher who was now working from home, that I would have PLENTY of time to write.  I was wrong, so, so wrong.   I worked more hours than I could ever imagine recreating curriculum, and reaching out to kids trying to help, begging them to do work and just making sure they were okay.  Summer brought more of the same.  Things changed a little bit in the fall.  We were still remote, but it was more structured, and I found that I did have more time, but something had happened.  It was a not good something.  I started listening to the voices in my head.  You know those voices, the ones that tell you your too fat, or stupid, or ugly, or what you just said or did was foolish.  THOSE voices.  Gotta say, I’m not a fan of those guys.  Anyhow, those voices were telling me I was wasting my time, that nobody wanted to read anything I was writing, and that I couldn’t write.  Well, I’m actually not going to disagree with those statements.  But you know what?  I didn’t write my book for anybody else I wrote it for ME!  If people liked it, that was great, but I never once in a million years thought I  was going to sell a million copies.  But I started listening to the voices and they convinced me that I couldn’t do it.  That I couldn’t write.  Logically, I know that is not true.  I can write, I may not write well, but I can write, and I have 39 short stories, and novel length works to my pseudonym – and what’s more, people actually like them.

My new companion to my Thinking Positive book was going so well when I started.  I was literally flying through it – and then I got to the chapter on re-framing your thoughts, and I could not write that chapter.  At all.  It wasn’t writers block, it was worse.  It was that pesky voice in my head, it kept droning on, louder and louder, and it talked over any writing related thoughts I was having.  And it was ironic because I should have been re-framing those very loud thoughts and used it to my advantage.  And honestly, that realization just came to me this weekend, along with a few others which may be blog topics for another day.  My point in all this rambling is those negative voices in our heads only have power if we listen to them.  As hard as it is, and I KNOW it’s hard, you have to be louder than them.  When they start, tell them to stop.  Seriously, say stop in a loud firm voice, or clear, or let go.  I’m going to try and work on my book tomorrow, and when those voices start telling me  I can’t, I’m going to tell them I can, because I can, and so can you.

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

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Gratitude Rocks – Help Spread the Message

Have you ever seen the cute, hand painted rocks with inspirational messages outside?  People are encouraged to pick up a rock that speaks to them.  Well those rocks have to come from somewhere, right?  They do, people make them and leave them in places for other people to find. I’m here to ask a favor if you are a crafty individual who paints rocks like this.  On the ones I make, I add the url to Think Positive 30 – www.thinkpositive30.com.  Why?  My goal is to spread positivity wherever I can – to share the message that I deliver here daily.  If you do decorate rocks like this and leave them out and about for others to find, would you consider adding the url to Think Positive 30 every once in a while.  With your help, we can spread the message of positivity and positive thinking farther than ever!

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

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How to Make Your Wellness a Priority 

 

After a grueling year finding our way through the pandemic, things are slowly but surely returning to some sense of normalcy. But with all the stress that we experienced from COVID-19, you may have found it tough to keep up with your normal healthy habits and routines. If you feel like your wellness has taken a seat on the back burner, you aren’t alone—and it’s never too late to pick up where you left off!

 

If the thought of returning to your pre-pandemic habits and routines makes you want to crawl into bed and hide, don’t fret. With the help of the right tools and strategies, you can remove the overwhelm and ease your way back into the process.

Assess Your Wellbeing

Before you can make any concrete goals, it’s important to take some time to assess where you are now and what areas of life you’d most like to focus on. Maybe your sleep hygiene flew out the window, or you stopped taking your daily walks. Wherever you currently stand, what matters is you analyze what parts of your life matter most to you.

 

You might find that your list of goals is miles long and there’s a lot you want to tackle. While there’s nothing wrong with that, an important step to setting achievable goals is narrowing down your priorities to only the most important items, and leaving the rest for another time. If you try to go after too much at once, you could end up stretched beyond capacity and ultimately burn out quickly. To avoid this, try honing in on just three to five goals that are the most important to your wellbeing.

Be Kind to Yourself

Getting back to our goals after taking a long break can be challenging, and this is especially true when it comes to returning to our pre-pandemic lives after so much disruption. A critical part of the process is to remember to give yourself grace and kindness along the way. It can be easy to feel frustrated or discouraged if we aren’t exactly where we want to be. You might feel shame, frustration, or fear of whether or not you can measure up. That’s natural! That said, you don’t want to let these feelings debilitate you from getting back on track.

 

To combat this, make it a point to speak lovingly to yourself at all times, and to remember that so much of your ability and confidence to achieve your goals is a direct result of how you think about yourself and support yourself along the way. Avoid falling into the trap of speaking negatively to yourself or doubting capability, and instead try to be your own biggest cheerleader. It might feel tough at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it will become!

Track Your Progress

It can be tough to reach our goals if we don’t track them in some way. One tracking method called visualization can do wonders for your motivation and commitment to the process. When you visually track your goals, you’re able to apply structure and clarity to your efforts. This helps you stay on track, see how far you’ve come, and give you a source of encouragement when you’re feeling down.

 

While the thought of getting back to your own health and wellness after a long period of time can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. If you remember to give yourself grace and keep in mind the fact that you deserve to feel your best, you will be better equipped to show up for yourself day in and day out. And to help you get started with visual goal tracking, these printable habit trackers are the perfect way to get going with your goals.

 

Remember, it’s never too late to make yourself a priority!

Click on the picture to download your own copy of the Wellness Wheel

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

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I Manifested one of my Biggest Dreams

A few years ago, I manifested something.  I am a huge believer in the Law of Attraction, I have vision boards, and I truly believe in the concept of Ask, Believe, Receive.  One of my huge dreams/goals/vision board items was to be a published author.  Now here’s the thing, the law of attraction wasn’t going to write a book for me, edit it, design a cover and submit it for publication.  And I think that’s an important thing to remember.   If you want to manifest a healthy body – you are still the one that is going to have to eat better and exercise.  The Law of Attraction will maybe be bringing you the will power to do it.

So as I said, one of my biggest life dreams was to write a book and I did it.  The Law of Attraction helped me to find my muse.  Led me to and editor, helped me find someone to do the kindle formatting and helped me upload it to Amazon Direct Publishing and voila – book on kindle.

In the interim, I took a couple of writing classes and that brought me other options.  I learned about an amazing resource called Draft 2 Digital.   By using Draft 2 Digital, I was able to upload my book to sites other than Amazon, including Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo.  Am I raking in the bucks?  No of course not, and that’s okay.  Fulfilling a dream isn’t necessarily about getting rich.

I will be honest, I have since started two other books, one was a companion to my original book, Thinking Positive:  Take the Journey into Positivity . That book is almost a third of the way done on the first draft. The other is a work of fiction, and several chapters are written. I was making steady progress on both, when covid happened.

Now most people would think that being forced to stay home would mean plenty of time to write.  Oh how I wish that were true.  I’m a teacher so last spring was spent trying to figure out how to teach online and worse, trying to figure out how to make kids want to learn online.   That was hard and literally sucked the life out of me and every other teacher I know!  I spent my summer participating in trainings to learn how to be a better teacher both online and off and then boom, we were back in school.  First we were remote, then teachers were in school and kids were home, then we were remote.  Then we were back and some kids were back.  Then we were remote, then we were back and slowly phasing kids in for hybrid learning.   Now we are back in hybrid model, a group of kids in  on Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday is remote for all, and a different group of kids in Thursday/Friday.  It is EXHAUSTING and leaves very little time for anything else, least of all, writing.

A friend of mine who is not a fan of the Law of Attraction  felt that this lack of writing for me was proof that the Law of Attraction was nothing but bull.  But to me, it’s the exact opposite because my ideas are still there, and the desire is still there, and best of all, the time will be there, when the time is right.

Hold fast to your dreams.  Ask the universe for what you want, and believe it will happen – and most important, be open to the different ways it CAN happen.

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.

Quill

Don’t Let COVID-19 Keep You from Your Yoga Practice

Today’s guest post is from Sheila Johnson, author and founder at Well Sheila.  Read her amazing post and be sure and check out her great website!

 

Don’t Let COVID-19 Keep You from Your Yoga Practice

 

If you’ve been self-isolating for some time, you may have found that many of your normal routines have gone out the window. But your yoga habits are not something you should toss so easily. Practicing yoga is a great way to stay healthy and sane in what is ostensibly the most stressful time in our lives as a whole since 2001. Unfortunately, online classes cost money, and if your hours have been cut or you’ve experienced layoffs, that might be in short supply.

 

Never fear, however, because there are plenty of ways to fit your yoga routine into your day without watching your savings dwindle away. Here’s how:

 

Get comfortable.

 

The most important aspect of your at-home yoga practice is having the right space. This doesn’t have to be an entire room, and even a small corner is enough if you set it up correctly. One thing you do need is peace and quiet. This can be tough if you have a house full of children or your spouse is also working from home. In this case, it might be best to think outside of the proverbial box and outfit your garage or shed with your yoga gear.

 

Gear up.

 

Speaking of yoga gear, now is the perfect time to review what you do and don’t have. An effective home yoga studio should have at least a mat, as well as props like blocks and a yoga strap. You’ll also want to check the closet to ensure that you have comfortable, form-fitting clothing so you don’t feel constricted. Even if you don’t have any of this handy, everybody’s favorite store, Target, of course, has everything you need to get started without breaking the bank. And, if you are still uncomfortable going out into the public, Target offers free shipping on $35 or more purchases. What’s more, according to these Target savings tips, you can also save money by shopping Top Deals and browsing through their weekly sales.

 

Learn to meditate.

 

Meditation and yoga go hand in hand, and as Think Positive 30 explains, there are many health benefits. But the former is often more difficult to master than the latter. Surprisingly, although meditation is a time when you’re supposed to disconnect, technology may actually be your greatest ally here. You can use free or inexpensive meditation apps – Women’s Health likes HeadSpace, Calm, and a handful of others – to get yourself in the right mindset to relax.

 

Know how to stay safe.

 

Keeping yourself safe when doing yoga outside of the classroom setting means listening to your body. Don’t overdo it, and, if you haven’t practiced in a while, be gentle with yourself. While you should certainly try to give yourself new challenges each day, if you get to a point where you feel worse after than you did before, you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good. When your goal is to save money, the last thing you want is to have to pay for expensive doctor visits because you threw your back out trying to progress too fast without guidance.

 

Becoming the master of your own yoga domain is empowering to say the least. And it’s an excellent opportunity to break away from the monotony of quarantine. Don’t buy into the notion that you have to funnel hundreds of dollars and countless hours into designing your own home studio. All you really need is a quiet corner and the willingness to ease into a new routine and treat your mind and body with respect.

Image via Pexels

Originally published at Think Positive 30. You can comment here or there.