By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
When Chamber Board President Robyn Snyder chose “Be Positive, Do Positive” as the Chamber theme for 2020, she had no idea what was in store for our community, our state, or our nation. She simply wanted to share the message that being positive can have a huge impact on everyone, personally and professionally.
Many could argue that the challenges imposed this year by a pandemic, such as forced closures, stay-at-home orders, layoffs, loss of revenue, health concerns for self and loved ones, and so many others simply make it impossible to be positive. Regardless of all those very good reasons, each one of us still has the ability to be positive. We simply need to find things we are thankful for and keep being thankful for them. Allowing negativity to overtake us will only drag us further down the rabbit hole.
Usually when we are at the bottom, nothing is more annoying that someone saying, “Just be positive! Smile! Chin up!” Sometimes we just want to give in to negativity. We’ve all been there. But that’s not what’s best for us, or our family, or our employer/employees, or our community for that matter. Numerous studies show there is a direct correlation between good health and a positive attitude. The good news is that even faking a positive attitude helps!
A University of Kansas study found that smiling – even fake smiling – reduces heart rate and blood pressure during times of stress. Reframing things is another great way to keep perspective. Instead of allowing traffic to stress you out, appreciate the fact that you can afford a car and get to spend a few extra minutes listening to music or talking to the person riding with you. Build resiliency by focusing on the things you can control. Learn to adapt to stressful situations by maintaining good relationships with family and friends, accepting that change is part of life, and taking action to change your circumstances when you can.
Like so many things in life, it comes down to how much you actually want to change things for the better. It’s easy to compare this idea with weight loss. A person is born with a predisposition for a certain body style, like they are born with a certain personality. Keeping off excess weight is simply easier for some people than it is for others, just like having a positive outlook comes more naturally for some than it does for others.
In both cases, you have the power to do something about it. So give it a try. Nothing drains a person more than a negative outlook. Start looking at things in a different way, get your smile on (even if you have to fake it for awhile) and find ways to adapt to the things life tosses your way.