8 Ways To Conquer A Bad Day

You know those days…when you forget to hit “save” and lose your work or when that elderly lady scratches your car in traffic on the way home? Whatever the case may be, some days are just not as good as others. Worry not, #PositivityFilter is to the rescue! 

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Photo credit: Mia Domenico

1. Laugh it off..with Youtube.

There are countless funny video compilations available to take your pick from. Whether it is someone falling or accidentally messing up on national news, someone else’s bad day can make yours much better.

2. Vent it out to that one friend.

To the one that doesn’t take life too seriously and knows how to make light of any situation…even if his analogies are so ridiculous and you end up laughing at their stupidity. Hey, you still get to the end result.

3. Pet something cute.

I said something, not someone. (I suppose if that can help too, whatever works.) Did you know that therapists utilize this as a healing method? It’s called equine therapy. Works like magic.

4. Get steamy.

A hot shower is a simple remedy to those stressed tense muscles and if you are need of some extra pampering, a little lavender salt never hurt nobody! 😉

5. Take a walk…barefoot.

“Also known as earthing, with a number of remarkable health advantages, such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.” (Read more here)

6. Take a deep breath while you jam.

Sometimes, when I need to reset, I put one of my favorite songs on, close my eyes, and concentrate on nothing but my breath. It has a soothing effect of getting lost in musical pleasure as well as getting you in sync with your body.

7. Wine, not whine.

No explanation needed. 

8) Be there for someone else.

When you refocus your energy on helping someone else, it not only gets your mind off what may be holding you down, but also the effect of making someone else’s day can have an uplifting impact on yours.

9. Punch and sweat.

Boxing class is one of my favorite stress-relievers…it’s a productive way of releasing the frustration built up within you while toning your body. After the endorphin surge, that petty problem may just not matter anymore.

10. If all else fails, just go to bed.

It will be a new day tomorrow and it is okay to simply clock out early tonight.

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Certainty and Letting Go

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(Photo Credit: Todd Quackenbush)

   What is this obsession we have with certainty? We are itching to know what we will be doing in ten years, the car we will be driving, and we even go as far to plan out every step between today and then to ensure that we receive that picture in our head….that certainty. Another instance, for example, we go on a date. Eventually, our minds take a detour and we catch ourselves wondering…what will this be labeled as? Is he/she even ready for something serious? If not, what are their intentions? We can even apply this infatuation with certainty to our professional life, whether we are applying for a job or starting a company. What good does it do to expend an immeasurable amount of energy unnecessarily worrying or analyzing different possible scenarios? Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have a plan or some direction that shows what is important to you.

Why am I rambling about certainty? 

Because I believe we all can be better in just letting go and embracing the unknown in life. When I had graduated college a few years ago, I was surrounded by unknown in every direction. I was faced with multiple options career-wise…one entailed pursuing an MPH program in my home state, another was taking up an offer with one of the best companies in Pharmaceuticals but that was located in a state where I originally could not point on a map, and the last option was with a small consulting firm on the west coast. At the time, all I could think about was my independence and drive to earn for myself…so I chose Pharma and landed in the tundra, also known as, Minnesota. If you had told me in school that I would be residing in one of the coldest states in the country, I would have scoffed at you and left the room. But, this is uncertainty at its finest. Trust me, it was quite the ride. I did not know a soul in the state and had to essentially start from scratch. Fast foward, two and half years later, I may be wearing twenty layers and cursing the ice 5 months out of the year…however, I am truly happy. My job is one I can wake up and look forward to every day where I have been blessed with superiors who truly care about my growth and also take the time to recognize/commend when I lead innovatively and create opportunities. I also have the the greatest of friends that I can rely on, be completely blunt with, and enjoy the adventures life has to offer with.

So, my point is that certainty would be nice sometimes…we have all been there where we want to rip our hair out because of the urge to just have answers or clarity. One thing we forget is that the journey to get to those answers can be a different kind of exciting and fulfilling in its own way, that it should not be overlooked. Okay, you’re thinking…how cliche, it is the “Life is a journey not a destination” reference again…here we go.

Well, think of it this way: did you appreciate something that you received instantly as opposed to something that took a bit longer, was filled with endless amounts of hard work, and a few sleepless nights? Would you value someone more if you hadn’t gone on all those wretched and awkward dates with other individuals? More importantly, would you be ready or prepared for what you received today if you had not experienced what you did yesterday? 

At the end of the day, this is just my personal perspective to share with you. I believe if we can all let go a bit more and enjoy the process, we would be much happier and grateful in what today has placed at our feet. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.
-Henry Miller

Be With Someone That Makes You Feel Nothing Short of Amazing

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brené Brown

(Photo credit: Charlie Foster)

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I often find fear is the root cause in terms of what makes people settle…fear that we will not come across something better than the status quo and therefore we succumb to lounging in misery and even convince ourselves that we are content with it. Brene Brown, an acclaimed researcher who examines issues like vulnerability, has previously been featured in TED talks and brought up an interesting point. In efforts to not take away from her brilliance, I will briefly summarize. She points out that we take quite a bit of time (in my case 25 years) to truly accept and love ourselves. We are our own toughest critics and the journey to joyfully accepting our flaws and weaknesses looks very different for everyone. For example, some of my flaws are that I can over think things, can be impatient, am an email hoarder, and tend to have hosting anxiety before throwing any sort of event…which by the way I believe I inherited from my mother. If it takes you 25 years to be able to dump all your flaws on the table and truly laugh about it, why would you throw away all that hard work you invested in yourself to settle with someone that would love you any less? Also, we have great expectations from our closest friends and family, so why does the bar suddenly get lowered for a significant other?

I am not making a naive conclusion and declaring that every passing moment will be rainbows and butterflies…however there needs to be a few fundamentals that are not up for debate. That individual should empower you and believe in your vision. They should appreciate you and may not have to like every little quirk, but they should love the overall package as is. Love is not a project- you should not be someone’s task nor should you take up any tasks thinking you are Mr. or Miss Fix-it. If that habit really gets under your skin now, it will later. Is that something you can accept? I speak from experience where I once thought…oh, my love can change this person, it can soften them to open up, it can heal them, and they will communicate in the way I find is most nurturing and effective. The truth of the matter is change and happiness are two things that come from within. Ultimately, every individual must take the first step on their own will. And so, you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does this person align with my dreams, hopes, and goals?
  2. Are the certain things I am not a fan of deal breakers?
  3. Do they respect, appreciate, and make me feel valued?
  4. Are they supportive? 
  5. Do we create an open environment that encourages communication even at the most uncomfortable times for each other?
  6. Do we resolve conflicts or brush them under the table?
  7. And most importantly, does this person enhance my happiness? (Notice, I said enhance…)

I chose to write this post because I hear too much of “Well, it’s just that one thing that really bugs me, but everything else about him/her is so great!” Yet, that “one thing” consumes and upsets us causing a strain on any remaining positive attributes. So, maybe we should be more attentive to that “one thing”, listen to that tugging voice in the back of our head, and not dismiss our gut. We have put in so much time to finally believe that we are incredible people so why not hold others to believing that too?

Because my fears are smaller than my dreams and yours should be too,

-S

Positivity In The Workplace: Meet Jenny Strickland

Name: Jenny Strickland, M.S., ACEJenny Headshot

Age: 25

City: Anywhere the world takes us; currently Flagstaff, AZ

Profession: Campus Recreation Professional, Higher Education

What inspires or motivates you?

My motivation and my inspiration come from people and their energy.  I choose to surround myself with people who are positive and full of energy.  I believe that energy is infectious! People say that you become a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with; this is why I eliminate negative people from my circle.  My inspiration comes from people that allow me to feel supported and successful in whatever I am doing. Also my partner; my loving husband Jordan! He believes in me and has enough faith in me that encourages me to feel that I can accomplish anything.

How do you approach challenges?

Head-on! I love to find my spirituality above all else when it comes to a challenge.  Personally, I give up all of my worries to God in prayer; it has dramatically enhanced my life and my purpose.  Spirituality is part of comprehensive wellbeing. In my day-to-day, I have a “Never say no” rule.  When it comes to making someone’s day, or making someone happy, hearing the word “no” is such a bummer.  Find a way to frame whatever the situation is with some options!  When a patron at our work asks for something, we work together to come up with different options or ideas we can offer them, so they still feel valued for whatever they requested.  This will change your life! Making people feel valued is not only great for them, but will be so rewarding for you, also! 

How do you deal with or manage your stress?

SWEAT.  I love to lift heavy things, run, dance, or do yoga.

“Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. & Happy people just don’t kill their husbands!” –Elle from Legally Blonde

Even taking a walk stimulates a release of neurotransmitters that physically tricks your body into being in a better mood. 

What is your personal motto or philosophy when it comes to your career?

My personal philosophy is that everyone can play!  In our society, it is so important to embrace others.  Sexual orientation, culture, physical appearance, gender identity; all of these pieces put together the wonderful puzzle of humans!  It is my joy and my responsibility to create programs that are inclusive of all; culturally competent, and adaptable, all done in an environment that facilitates inclusion.  No matter who you are, where you come from, or what ever your ability or disability may be; YOU CAN PLAY.

What do you feel is the most important characteristic to possess to be successful? (Or one piece of advice you wish someone gave you as a 20-something?)

Ever heard of Kid President? He and I totally connect.  His motto is always, “Make someone’s day awesome!”  I believe that 100%.  If I could go back to college all over again, I would focus way more on other people and all of my relationships.  The way you make people feel will make or break you.  Remember that next time you’re in an interview!  I’ll leave you with the words of Maya Angelou to soak into…”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never ever forget how you made them feel.”

What We Can Do For The Best 2015

As we count down the days to the sparkly night where we clink our champagne 
glasses and lip-lock our loved ones, resolutions are stirring in the back of 
our minds creating chaotic contemplation. What can we do better? What should we stop doing? What do we need to do more of? So, from me to you, here’s some 
food for thought!

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1) Stop comparing.

I read something along the lines of don’t go comparing your chapter 4 to someone else’s chapter 20 or another’s highlight reel to your behind-the-scenes. It is especially easy to be guilty of this with Facebook or Instagram at the tips of your fingers while you scroll through your feed questioning what the heck you are doing with your life. Breathe, you are doing just fine. We don’t know what all is entailed in one’s journey, so let’s break the toxic habit of fooling ourselves with a skewed perception.

2. Stop blaming yourself.

“He/She didn’t call…maybe I opened up too much…”  This is where I want to shake my friends! Why do we project someone else’s insecurity or hesitation onto ourselves? Please do not ever apologize for being you or pause for validation. Hold yourself in dignity and grace and set the standard for the respect you want to welcome into your life. Start by showing yourself more of it.

3) Just do it.

(Thank you geniuses of Nike marketing.) Stop asking yourself if you should. Stop saying you will tomorrow. Stop the if-then hypotheses. As they say, procrastination is fear cloaked in nonchalance.

4) Be present.

We all would like to deceive ourselves into thinking we can multitask…but science has shown we are actually doing things in rapid succession. When you are there, get off your phone. Make eye contact and actively listen. Be in the moment instead of merely existing…whether it’s at a social gathering or in front of your clients. You have a lot to offer to the people around you and you never know what you might pick up on when you are fully there.

5) Be accountable.

Reflect on your actions and apologize when you are in the wrong. At the end of it, you will be far more respected and admired for your sincerity as well as less scrutinized for your mistakes. We are all human after all. 

“Apology is only egotism wrong side out.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

6) Discuss ideas.

Catch the Eleanor Roosevelt reference? It is time to tune out the petty background noise in your life and invest your energy and talents in your ideas. Tomorrow, the he said, she said dialogues will not hold any weight but the time you spent on your dreams most certainly will.

7) Scare yourself regularly and laugh at yourself too.

No, not the horror film kind of scare. The push your limits to soar kind. And when you stumble, don’t take yourself too seriously. It only causes wrinkles…and not the cute crinkly kind.

8) Most importantly, be positive!

One word. Neuroplasticity. Briefly summarized, the word encompasses the ability of your thoughts to rewire how your brain works. Seems complex, but you have all the power in the palm of your hand…or mind rather. It’s unfortunate that positivity often gets quickly dismissed as a cliche or too soft of a term to be taken seriously. However, multiple studies have shown the power of positive thinking in ALL arenas of life. Want to live longer? Want less stress? Want to be more solution-oriented? Want to be successful? Want to have more meaningful relationships? Want to be happy? Let’s spread the positivity and let’s start with ourselves.

Cheers! And as always, thank you for visiting #PositivityFilter,

-S

5 Things Writers Don’t Tell You About Writing

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Growing up, I had this idea that the writer's life was suave, glamorous, and a never-ending joy. While some of these may be true at times, I am here to 
disclose the reality of what we truly experience when we write.

1. Inspiration sometimes comes at the most inconvenient times.

There was a time where I was on a bus in the city and I got a great idea for some song lyrics only to discover I had nowhere to jot that perfect verse down. So, what did I do? I convinced (okay, maybe slightly threatened ) the 8-year old dressed in her Dora dress next to me that she let me borrow her crayon and a page of her coloring book so I wouldn’t lose that brilliance.

However, it does not end there…I cannot tell you how many times I will be laying wide-eyed in my bed when I have a meeting early morning the next day.  Suddenly, I jump out of bed because an idea came to mind for my blog or whatever I may be working on at the moment. Fast forward an hour later, I am rejuvenated and at the same time exhausted because midnight inspiration on a weekday isn’t usually the most accommodating thing.

2. Inspiration can be a split-second thought.

You hear a line in a song, you read an excerpt of a book, or a comment someone makes to you in conversation resonates with you….and suddenly, BOOM. It surges through your brain lighting up all your neural connections. Crazy, right? Sometimes, all it takes is one little thing to provoke that domino effect and then writer’s block is no more.

3. The creative process is an emotional roller coaster.

Okay, maybe that is a tad bit dramatic. However, let me explain. As I became more public with my writing, this is how the process went. Initially, you’re on this high and you have an adrenaline rush…your fingers are moving at an ungodly speed and all these scattered thoughts and ideas are suddenly organizing themselves and going to paper (or screen) while also coming to life. Those intangible concepts are developed into a concrete thing and that’s a different kind of amazing. Then, you edit, edit some more, try to add in more imagery and overuse thesaurus.com because you feel that though you are comical, you need to appease to the eloquent crowd as well. After that intense concentration, you hit the “Publish” button. Ah! Complete! Now what? Well, now, you wait. The waiting game is where all the insanity stems from. In the beginning, you feel proud that you have created this piece of art essentially and then as you obsessively check your stats, you begin to wonder. Wait, is this really even that good? Oh my gosh, it’s absolute crap…no one has even liked it. Fast forward a half hour later…oh yes, 37 views! Maybe, this isn’t that bad! To sum it up, we undergo exhilaration then pride then impatience proceeding to doubting our capabilities to being reassured and finally to feeling confident. It is the menstrual cycle on steroids pretty much.

4) That being said, we DO care what you think.

Honestly, let’s be blunt with ourselves. If we didn’t love writing, we wouldn’t do it. Nonetheless, we do care what our readers think. We do not think it is strange that we haven’t spoke to you in ten years and that you read our blog. For goodness sake, it is public for a reason!  We have opened up a portion of our lives to you as it is an outlet for us. At the same time, we would like to think that a pair of eyes out there can relate to us. We also are curious as to what your thoughts are! So, reach out, give feedback, and share if you like our work. You are important to our evolution as writers while you continually motivate, challenge, and improve us.

5. Sometimes, small, intimate details from our life can be sewn into the blanket of fiction…and other times, it is JUST PLAIN FICTION.

Many people have this misconception that there is a bit of personal truth in every fictional story from an author’s life. This may be true; on the contrary, I can profess that I have created songs and short stories that are completely derived from my vivid (and sometimes overactive) imagination as well as my wildest dreams. Therefore, what may strike a heart chord may not have necessarily occurred to the mastermind behind the art. And now you know!

Hope you enjoyed this post of Positivity Filter,

-S

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(Photo credit: S. Charles)
Positivity In The Workplace serves to connect 20-somethings of all professional backgrounds on their inspirations and individual approaches on confronting challenges while building a successful future. If you would like to share your two cents or would like to recommend an individual for this ongoing series, please email submissions to postivityfilter@gmail.com. Happy Reading!

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Name: Devin Patel

Age: 24

City: Orlando, FL

Profession: Wealth Management

What inspires or motivates you?

“Being able to help others that are feeling confused, isolated, and powerless by giving them direction, confidence, and capabilities through leadership, relationships, and creativity.”

How do you approach challenges?

“By focusing on solutions not problems.”

How do you deal with or manage your stress?

“I enjoy working out, playing golf, or reading. Mainly, I live a stress free lifestyle by understanding there is always something great out of every opportunity we have, whether you choose to believe it or not, there is always something you can learn and grow from.”

What is your personal philosophy when it comes to your career?

“My philosophy is that no matter what can happen positive or negative, there is always something you can learn from the situation. It may not always be what we want but it is what we must do to persevere.”

What do you feel is the most important characteristic to possess in order to be successful?

“I think it’s very important to look at every situation with a positive attitude; this allows you to make the most of it and take the best from it. Having gratitude is a very important characteristic you need to be successful; this is needed to continually progress with the challenges we face on a daily basis and as an entrepreneur. Also, having gratitude for the opportunities you are given and the ones you can create is a must.”