Finding the Silver Lining: 8 Tips for Being Positive from MAP
A special feature from Homewood Health, the Ontario legal profession’s Member Assistance Program (MAP).
Did you know, your mental outlook can have a profound effect on your long-term health? Recent medical and scientific studies have found that optimistic people are happier, more resilient and less stressed than pessimistic persons1. Findings also indicate that people who approach life in a positive manner, lead longer, healthier and more productive lives2.
As legal professionals, it may be difficult to find and approach everyday life in a positive manner. Working within the legal profession, we are often required to interact and face some of the darkest parts of humanity. Dealing with these scenarios day in day out can impact your outlook on life, and may negatively impact your relationships with friends, family and colleagues.
Here are a few simple approaches you can practice to improve your outlook, bringing more positivity and happiness into your life:
- Be grateful. Rather than focusing on the negative, turn your attention to all the things for which you are grateful – your health, your partner, your children, your friends, etc.
- Change your perspective. You may not be able to change the world, but you can change how you see it. Let go of any thoughts that bring you down and focus on the good things happening in your life.
- Don’t dwell on the past. We all experience painful times, use those scenarios as learning opportunities, and look to a future full of possibilities. Having a positive outlook will help you feel more in control of your environment and your life.
- Practice positive self-talk. There is a good rule of thumb for developing healthy self-esteem: Don’t say anything to or about yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be kind and respectful to yourself.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Optimism is contagious, try to surround yourself with positive people. Walk away and avoid negative talk, gossip or complaints.
- Help others. An act of kindness helps us by reducing our sense of social isolation and lifts our spirits. Giving a helping hand to someone in need or less fortunate takes the focus away from ourselves and boosts our gratitude and appreciation for the good things in our life.
- Smile, laugh and giggle. It’s hard to think negatively when you’re laughing. Laughing and smiling makes you feel good and reduces stress through the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins.
- Look after yourself. What you eat has a direct effect on your attitude, as does exercise – remember those endorphins? Eat a varied diet rich in fresh foods and reduce your consumption of processed meals or fast food. Try to establish a regular exercise routine – a brisk evening walk will do.
Look for and find the things that bring you joy. Engage in activities you enjoy, be it sports, dancing, listening or playing music, reading a book, or spending time with family and friends. It’s easy to find the silver lining when you’re doing things that nurture mind and body.
Homewood Health™ provides the Member Assistance Program (MAP) for Ontario lawyers, paralegals, judges, students at Ontario law schools and accredited paralegal colleges, licensing-process candidates and their families. MAP is a confidential service funded by and fully independent of The Law Society of Upper Canada and LawPRO. To learn more about the MAP, please visit myassistplan.com or call 1-855-403-8922.
- Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk. (2017, February 18). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950 \
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Optimistic people have healthier hearts, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150109123502.htm