The most overwhelming reaction to any of my columns was when I asked my most optimist friend Jen for her insights and advice on staying positive. At the time she was undergoing treatment for cancer. She shared her personal thoughts on positivity, which, after publication, went viral and inspired many other people worldwide. I am sharing them again in her honour, as she passed away last week after fighting her illness with courage every step of the way. Many people face incredible challenges in their careers and private lives, and by knowing that sometimes we cannot change our circumstances, the one thing in our power to change, is our minds.
Here are Jen’s tips for staying positive in the face of adversity:
- Learn to be an optimist – there is always good in every situation however horrendous it may seem; you just need to look for it.
- Develop a strong belief that there is a reason for what is happening (we often don’t find out why) but believe that it crosses your path to teach you something from the experience. Nothing happens by chance! Embrace it and work with it rather than fight it.
- One always has choices in life. Refuse to live a life based on fear, choose to live a life filled with love and openness to new experiences.
- We are never alone! There is a greater force out there – God, Universe, Buddha -whatever you choose to believe in. Draw strength from it and you will be amazed at the peace, calm and inner strength you are given.
- It is crucial to have some outside physical release to cope with stress. The endorphins released when you exercise leave one with a “good feeling” which can result in a change of one’s perspective on the issue at stake.
- Being a victim attracts negative energy. Choosing to remain positive will ultimately attract more positive experiences into your life. Surround yourself with happy friends who inspire and uplift you.
- Be mindful of your thoughts. A negative thought is fear based so when it arises recognise it for what it is, let it go and don’t give it substance.
- Start each day with giving thanks for what you have and not focusing on what you don’t have. Choose to fill your day with love and joy.
What a privilege it was to know a woman of such positivity and strength.