The Power of Optimism

For all of you Pre-L's in the waiting game here are a few thoughts inspired by my body + soul magazine. Say you spill your coffee on day #1, day one has been wonderful, you've had a date with your sweetie and your currently chatting it up with your best friend on the phone. Compare this to spilling your coffee on day #2, day two has been dreadful, you've been pulled in a million different directions and your coffee was the one good thing going for you this afternoon. The accident was the same, but your response to it will probably be different.

Research shows that you have the power to create your own moods. The article is based on the research of John Selby a cognitive psychologist who is the coauthor of Take Charge of Your Mind. I found some of the insights particularly relevant for those of us in the waiting game dance with law schools. Basically you can take steps to gradually change your mindset and mood. Suggestions include:

  • Waking up - Come to attention and become aware of your sensory situation. Focusing on your physical being, your breath, helps you shift your attention from internal monologue to sensory experiences.
  • Go deeper - Now that you've halted your downward spiral of negativism you should then become more aware. Concentrate on your breath through your nose as well as through your head, chest, and belly. Focusing on two or more sensations at the same time will help you refocus your mind on something other than negative thoughts.
  • Open your heart - Now become aware of the feelings in your heart, not just your negative thoughts. For me this is also a time to listen to my spirit and see what the promptings of my heart are, they usually are hard to listen to when I'm clamoring with hypotheticals and worries, it is much easier to listen when I have consciously quieted their voices.
  • Expand your joy - This is where you make the conscious decision to regain a sense of joy and empowerment. Be in the present and let your well-being create your mood.

Practicing the above has really helped me listen to the non-logical side of my brain and stop stressing. It has made me a more spiritual person as meditation and prayer are usually things that end up being interrupted by little pestering thoughts. Focusing on the physical, the breath, and then the mental has really helped me take control of my self-doubt and worry. Now if only I could restart my yoga practice I could get rid of my back pain too. Now that would be nirvana. A stress free mental and physical being. Elle Woods would be proud, she always seemed so perky and stress free. I bet she did yoga.