Anxiety and worry are at an all-time high with the outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19, political unrest, and numerous natural disasters. How do some retirees push through these challenges with a smile while others feel dread?
It takes just a moment to change a negative thought into a positive attitude. One of my clients, Jan, handled this well. Her new adult stepchildren and their young ones wanted to visit the Friday before Easter. She fretted over their visit, wanting everything to be perfect. Jan prepared a wonderful roast beef dinner for their arrival.
Before mealtime, Jan felt terrible when her stepson announced, “I don’t eat meat, only fish. I’m going to run and pick something up.” He and his wife came back three hours later, delaying dinner for everyone.
The following day Jan drug her feet to the kitchen to find a sink full of breakfast dishes. No one offered to help; instead, they watched TV all day, leaving snacks and drinks everywhere. On Easter morning, she called me in a rage to ask how she should handle her unpleasant situation. I inquired if she was grateful to have a new husband, good health, and a lovely home to accommodate company. We talked about how we allow others to treat us and came up with a plan for her to set boundaries.
Jan finished our conversation with an optimistic tone. Optimism does wonders to keep us calm in troublesome times. It’s uncomfortable to worry over what will happen next. Standing in hope allows us to have a healthier way to live.
But how do we set aside the sense of dread and anxiety with challenging situations or people? I find it calming to find a quiet place, take a deep breath, and lift a serenity prayer: God, I’m grateful I can give you my burdens. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I need courage to change the things I can and your wisdom to know the difference. Amen
The power of prayer helps me stay in the positive lane. Here are four other ways I maintain positive thinking.
Throughout the day, I journal the things I’m thankful for. Counting my blessings is an easy way to remember the good things in life.
Each person seeks peace in their own way. Calmness releases a spirit of heaviness. When I’m out of sorts, I play my favorite Christian music while taking a long hot shower.
Boost your energy and mood by doing something active. Try dancing in the kitchen for the joy of it all. Engage in a new hobby. Occasionally, I make a date with my neighbors to walk our dogs together.
Our well-being is essential for quality of life in retirement. Take time to invest in yourself and others. You are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, words, actions, and health. I retreat to a day off each week to relax and regroup. I also treat myself to something special like a movie or a manicure.
Not every challenge has a happy ending but thinking positive lightens stress. The most valuable thing you have in life is your time and energy. When life gets difficult, please don’t waste it WORRYING about things you cannot change. Take a breather and pursue serenity.
Choose one of the four ideas above and commit to taking steps this week to stay calm during troublesome times.