Spring beam

September is the month of bright flowers, fresh scents and new beginnings and the chance to smile, by Howard Feldman

Social media is packed full of helpful and profound insights, often wrapped around gorgeous people who smile as if cares have passed them by. From Instagram to Facebook, a ten-minute swipe will offer you all the wisdom you need to live a conscious, mindful, kale-filled life. If only human beings could live their feeds.  But we can’t. And we shouldn’t. Because it is the hardship and the sorrow that define our ability to recognise the joy and the success, and the admin and tax returns still have to be done, no matter how important it is to live today as if it were your last. As spring emerges after a cold, hard winter, now is the perfect time to take stock of where you are and to look forward to what September can offer. It is time to put, as they say, some spring in your step.

Optimism and positivity are not impossible goals that only a few achieve. Anyone can become an optimist and look at life with positivity, you just have to learn how. It’s not simple and doesn’t require early mornings – or kale – it asks that you focus on what optimism and positivity mean to you and then that you steadfastly focus on these goals through both the good and the bad times. You need realistic and relevant tolls that help you to embed a positive mindset into your daily life.

The truth is that everybody wants to rise up with confidence and become an optimist. Health research shows that optimistic people live longer, have happier relationships, make more money and generally enjoy life a lot more. These are goals that everyone would like to achieve and this spring you are about to do it following some very simple steps.

First, own the fact that there’s no secret formula or magic drink. Optimism, positivity and happiness are hard won. You need to build up personal resilience, recognising the moments when pessimism or negativity are taking hold and refusing to allow them a part in your life. Of course, you’re allowed to feel bleak or have a bad day, that’s the wonder of life, but instead of letting a big piece of bad news shape your mindset, you need to learn how to shape it to your life.

Consider a moment when you took a negative experience or moment and you changed your approach through your own thought processes. What did you do? Focus on these and repeat them – you’re setting the foundations for a positive future. Another great trick is to think about the time of day when you feel as if the future is filled with infinite possibility, when your heart soars at the idea of ‘what if’. For some people that could be in the morning, for others it could be at night or perhaps when they’re driving. Those moments are the ones you should catch hold of and use to bolster your mood and open yourself up to opportunity. Let it knock, then answer the door.

Everyone has something that they are good at. You may have heard your mom whisper that you are a genius in your ear or proudly announce it at dinner. Perhaps a colleague noticed something you did – a sketch, a proposal, a team leadership achievement. You should be proud of this part of you. So often people are taught to downplay their gifts. Don’t. Own it, nurture it, give it a chance to grow. You never know where it will take you from the moment you plant it this spring to when you look back next winter. The only thing you know for sure, is that if you don’t nurture it, then it will stay the same. Out of nothing, grows nothing.

It is far easier to reject the idea of positivity and optimism, especially if your life isn’t the humdrum of daily problems and challenges. What if you have cancer, or someone you love is dying? Finding positivity in this can feel an unsurmountable task. But if you can look for the joy in each good thing and allow those to grow around you, over the pain and the difficulties, then you are building a storehouse of positivity and humour and courage that will allow you to stand firm in the hardest of times.

This spring, don’t clean your house or your garden. Give the time to your inner optimist and let the opportunity to be positive grow. In a year, you will have built something that you can use when times get cold, tough and dark.