Through our communication with others and with ourselves, we create reality. Does that sound a little new age to you? Think about it. Everyone has a friend whose negative attitude makes them difficult to be around because you in turn start to feel more pessimistic. Or, on the other end of the scale, there are enthusiastic people who leave us feeling more energized. It’s a basic fact that the people around us influence what we think and feel. And this is true not just for our friends and family, but for ourselves as well. What we think and say to ourselves can change our lives.
Examine your own thoughts about caring for your loved one. If you say to yourself, “This is a hard situation” you’ll experience it as being unpleasant. Try telling yourself, “This situation is a challenge” instead. Can you see how that might change how you look at things a little? Challenge implies that this is something you can overcome, and that will make you stronger as you deal with it. Watch how you discuss the events in your life, both what you tell others and what you tell yourself. Our words not only describe our feelings, but also create what we feel.
Here are a few other tips for keeping a positive attitude:
- Express thanks at the end of each day. Take some time to look back over your day and think about the things that went right. Even if you had a truly lousy day, you probably still have a roof over your head, food to eat, friends and family members you love, and a life in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. You can always find something to be grateful for.
- Commit a random act of kindness. This can be one of the best ways to make yourself feel better and adjust your mood. Try bringing your mother flowers, giving a neighbor a small present, or paying for the person behind you in the drive-through. We usually think that to feel good we need to do things for ourselves, but doing things for others can have a powerful impact.
- Take a minute to appreciate nature. Even if it’s just a small park or your backyard garden, there’s probably some place close by where you can go for a few minutes to clear your head and be in the moment. You don’t need to hike out into the wilderness. Just take a few minutes to admire the beauty of the world around you. Consider it a mini-vacation.
All of the above isn’t to say that you should never complain – to keep your frustrations bottled up inside clearly isn’t healthy. But be careful not to get carried away when you do indulge in venting. You may want to set a time limit for airing your greivances, and then when you’re done make a point of reminding yourself of the big picture. Caring for your loved one can be aggravating, but you are doing your best to make sure that they’re healthy and comfortable. Revisit your reasons for taking on these responsibilities in the first place. In this way you can connect to the deeper meaning of caring for someone you love, which is a deeper happiness that goes beyond day-to-day annoyances.