Roger Federer is a bit of a hero of mine for his performance on the tennis court as well as off the court with his philanthropy. I first picked up a racquet 10 years ago. At that time, I decided to learn to hit a one handed backhanded having watched in awe as Roger hit his. Now in the later stages of his illustrious career Roger offered some insight in a recent article about what he has learned about enjoying the ride!
However, Roger has not arrived at where he is without some bumps along the way. For each of us, bumps and potholes comes in many different shapes and sizes. Whether it relates to family, work, school, sports, a relationship, parenting, friendship, or other we all have our challenges. As we encounter hardship our stress level goes up and we experience a decline in cognitive functioning. How we choose to deal with those stressors makes all the difference. Make it a job or make it fun?
A helpful approach to reduce stress is to look at the following four categories and answer the question, "How am I doing at self-care in each?"
First, sit down and brainstorm some ideas for each (HINT: this is where you can inject some fun!). Next, start small. Select an area and pick one thing to do for a week. Track how it goes. Set a goal to add a second. The focus is on remaining positive. One important step to build up positivity is through gratitude. The Harvard Medical School reports:
“a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power”
How do you practice gratitude to foster positivity? Journal ten things you are grateful for each day. Post something new each day in your locker. Turn to scripture or prayer and offer up thanks. Write it on the inside of your baseball hat. Post it on the bathroom mirror. The key is make it a routine. Make it a habit.
An article on the study of positive psychology states, two stages of gratitude comprise the recognition first of the goodness in our lives, and then of the source of that goodness that lies outside of ourselves. By this process, we recognize everything and everyone that makes us who we are in our best moments.
What I often discover with the individuals, families, and children I work with is a habit of negative thinking. I am not talking about 24/7 pessimism. For some, yes. However, for many the negative habit flies low enough on the radar screen as to go unnoticed. It rears it's head subtlety or in the key moments and sabotages us experiencing joy. So as you work on all these things, remember...think positive!
So all of this to say hit pause, unclench your jaw, drop your shoulders, take a deep breath...and have fun!!! Remember that life is short, and your health is an important part of enjoying it. As for me I think I'll hit the courts to work on that one-handed backhand some more and have fun :)