When you wake up before your alarm, there's no traffic, your loved ones are getting along, and your boss loved an idea you pitched, it's easy to feel happy. You might notice that your body feels comfortable, your heartbeat is regular and you may even start to feel a little strain on your cheeks because you are smiling so much. On the other hand, when things are not so smooth, you get a parking ticket, are dealing with the stress of family care giving or even find out you need to unexpectedly move, you may notice tense muscles, twitching eyes, numbness in your limbs, headache, fatigue and the list goes on.
Life can be wild and often unpredictable and yet we seem to forget that even billionaires put their pants on one leg at a time. Expecting things to remain constant and comfortable is a thing of dreams, yet so many of us overreact out of fear and confusion when things don't go totally our way. It's all about two major choices you can make when you are confronted with either supreme elation or despair.
1. How you come into the situation; how your gut reacts to the things that happen to you. Much of this comes from your temperament, or your general sense of positive or negative. These initial thoughts are much of the pre-programmed attributes you inherit from your parents with a touch of your life experience peppered in as well. It is even thought that your personality is up to 80% genetic. If you are inherently a “glass half empty” person – fear not, with some hard work and intentional refocusing of your attitude, you can become more confident in your positivism. So when these tricky situations arise, go with your gut – and remember that there is a lesson in everything you do.
2. How we choose to view and react to what life throws (and I mean THROWS) at us at times. If you determine/establish/choose/allow early on during a stressful situation that you are a victim – you will be a victim. It takes conscious effort to look at a situation that you may be going through, and establish that you are not defined by these outside forces. True, you will be shaped by your experiences, especially the bad ones, but this purposeful determination that you are simply going through an experience makes all the difference in the world. Our bodies and brains were programmed to use fear and anxiety to stay alive during hunting and defensive situations in the past, otherwise known as fight-or-flight instincts. Allow your mind to prevent this devolution by choosing a more positive and rational view.
Keeping your chin up, and a smile on your face can be most difficult when you are dealing with the health of a loved one. Watching a slow and gradual deterioration of the person you once knew is painful and can often feel unbearable. Make the choice to see the glass half full – Make the determination that you will come through a better person – Make this life the best version that you can – Make the choice to be happy.
By: Amanda Marshall
Welcome to Cre8ive Senior Solutions! I'm Amanda Andrade and I'm a gerontologist, a teacher, and an innovator around all things "wellness." I absolutely love creating new and unique solutions geared toward happiness and engagement for those affected by Alzheimer's or related dementias. Working to solve the individualized and complex problems seniors, and their families face is what inspires me and renews my hope for the future. I hope you join me on this journey, and share your family stories along the way!