There is no shortage of information on the power of positive thinking. Many books have been written on the subject and many people have been quoted on their statements of positivity. Optimism is a way of life for some and you can always tell who they are. Optimistic people stand out from the crowd, they radiate positivity, and make things happen. Many are leaders in today’s world. If there is so much information available on the subject, why is it so difficult for us to remain positive? Our attitude easily falls prey to the daily struggles we all face. We then become part of a stream of negativity that works its way from one person to the next. It is like a toxic river flowing through the land, poisoning each thing it touches. This week we will celebrate positivity at my workplace to remind us of the power of a positive attitude and how it can make a difference in our day.
My boss is always using the term “constant vigilance” to remind us to keep our eyes out for issues that would cause us to get a tag in a state survey. Once a year, the nursing home must undergo a state survey, where a team of surveyors come into the facility and check on all our systems. It is a stressful time, but if we always do our jobs in accordance with the rules, then we know there will be no worries when survey comes. Constant vigilance is needed year round to ensure that the needs of our residents are being met and that we are operating under proper procedure. It is also needed in our personal lives to ensure that we are making choices in accordance with our values and what we want for our future.
You and I have a lot to say. We want to share our experiences, our stories, with others. Sometimes we feel our story is so important we forget to listen. When we start telling our story we expect everyone will pay attention. The problem is that the other person in the room feels the same. They hear your story and cannot wait to tell theirs. What happens next is there are two speakers and no listeners. Their stories are lost to each other, they cannot be shared. When they walk away from each other, they are not aware of what just happened because they are still living the feeling of their stories. They don’t realize they were not heard.
With each New Year many people like to make resolutions or set goals they would like to accomplish. Resolutions are when you resolve to make a change to a habit or pattern in your life, i.e. I resolve to eat better this year. Goals are measurable and have an end. Last year, I set some goals at the beginning of the year and set others as the year went by. I recently took a look at those goals and evaluated myself on how I did. I gave myself an A+ with one and with another, I earned an incomplete. That’s okay with me. I don’t beat myself up about things. What I need to do is take an honest look at what is keeping me from accomplishing that goal. We can always learn a lot from the things that we don’t do as much as with the ones we do.
As we approach the year’s end, I find myself thinking about the past twelve months and what I would like to have in my life for the next twelve. I always feel introspective at this time of year. The darkness that descends in late afternoon helps me feel grounded and makes it easier for me to think. I know most people don’t like it when we lose sunlight earlier because it makes them feel more confined but it gives me a sense of feeling tucked in and cozy. This morning I wrote down some notes about what I’d like to work on in the upcoming year. Some of the changes are internal and some are external, but will require some internal work to accomplish them. I will spend some time over the next couple weeks working on an action plan. Having one will break down the tasks into more manageable steps that will keep me focused and prevent me from becoming overwhelmed. I look forward to making some changes, after all, change is good, right?
It’s that time again. The holidays are here. The hustle and bustle of the season is notably present each time I leave my home to do any kind of errand or shopping. I hear people talking about all the things they have to do to prepare. They carry lists on paper and in their minds. I notice all the beautiful decorations growing around the town where I live and I love all the lights displayed on the houses and businesses. The lights are my favorite part of the holiday. When I was young, my Dad used to pile us all in the big yellow station wagon and drive us through neighboring towns so we could look at all the lights. I did the same with my kids when they were young except we did it in a big orange Volkswagen Vanagon. It is those memories that make the holiday time special to me.
November is the month we have to sign up for our health insurance benefits at work. My employer has made some changes to our benefits package which will change the way I manage my health. Even with these changes, I am so grateful to have a job that offers health and dental insurance. I know that many people do not have what I do. One of the new additions to our insurance is something called a Health Savings Account or HSA. An HSA allows you to save an elected amount of money to use to pay for some of your health related expenses. Having this account really makes me think about some of the choices I make regarding my health. It also has me thinking more about the entire healthcare system and the mindset of most of the consumers of that system.