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LORI IVEY COLUMN: Trying to stay positive

Contributed

Being healthy is something many of us strive for, but often we focus on changing or making improvements in one area such as what we eat.

Being healthy is a combination of what we eat, how we move our bodies and how we take care of our emotional health or our minds.

Lori Ivey

I recently offered a program developed by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service for our Extension and Community Association clubs, “Grade Under Pressure: Dealing with Difficult People.”

This leader lesson focused on different kinds of people from “floor hogs” to “nit pickers” to “negative Nancies.”

It helped us identify these different types of personalities, but it also had members to look within and see if some of the traits of these types of people were traits they mimicked.

It’s always so much easier to point out faults in others than for us to recognize our own faults.

It really made me think about how I react to situations and how I might make self-improvements.

Do you tend to focus on the negative?

Some of the suggestions for improvement were to count to three before responding.

Ask yourself is your contribution helpful?

Can you frame your comment so that it is conveyed in a positive way? If not, you might consider staying out of the conversation.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily tasks and before we realize it, we are focusing on the negatives.

Maybe it’s a package that was delivered to the wrong mailbox. Instead of getting upset immediately, consider it might be a new mail carrier or just maybe the mail carrier was simply having a bad day.

Was it really the end of the world for you?

How can you respond so it is helpful without being hurtful?

In a world where reality shows are common, being kind and positive seem to be left behind.

A recent article I read about holding grudges explains how it can be more hurtful to harbor resentment than the original negative incident — whether it was an insult, you felt demeaned by someone, you were cheated on, etc.

This resentment may cause higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The effects can not only cause emotional harm, but can also be harmful to your physical health.

It’s difficult to be a “glass half-full” kind of person when you’re surrounded by a sea of negativity.

Whether it’s showing mercy to those that have wronged us or just giving a positive comment to a friend or stranger, you might just find that it’s just what you needed to be happy.

Our ECA Club Collect by Mary Stewart has wise words for club members, but also others wanting to find happiness. Instead of focusing on your own or other’s faults, focus on the good in life.

Instead of being hasty in judgement, be deliberate and generous to others.
Surround yourself with positive people and don’t forget to be kind.

These simple acts of kindness make the world a better place to live in, but they might also be one of the keys to your happiness and good health.

Lori Ivey is the director of Stanly County office of N.C. Cooperative Extension. Call 704-983-3987 or lori_ivey@ ncsu.edu.