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Ester Marsh: The power of focusing on positive things

With Easter here, it’s a great time to reflect whether you are a believer or not. As we all know, in these days many have lost their way and in many cases their mind.

Shootings are ramped up. We all know people who have died or were related to someone we know who fell to drugs and of course COVID-19. And then depression and suicides skyrocketed and racism seems out of control. Turning on the news has been a huge challenge for me because most what they cover is the “bad” and/or one sided stuff that puts fear and panic in people’s minds. I don’t know about you but I prefer to hear about all the great stuff that’s going on. There are so many things we can be thankful for even during this pandemic and times of trouble.

That doesn’t mean that I close my mind to the real world. It means that I have chosen to open my mind to the positive things that are going on right now. It’s easier for some people to look at a cup half full. Genetic makeup has a lot to do with it, along with the environment where you grew up. However, studies have found proof that you can rewire your brain to think more positively. It doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t give up!

“The mind is everything. What you think you become” — Buddha

With us being “on” all the time, it’s hard to relax, especially our minds. We are connected via phones, computers, TVs, gaming, social media —you name it and it’s 24/7 if you let it.

When you google power of positivity, so many resources are available to help rewire your brain.

Here are some to get you started:

• Embrace a positive lifestyle. Sign up for daily uplifting quotes or read the Bible daily. Express gratitude, and when a negative thought enters your mind, try to switch it out with a positive one. For example, don’t say, “Darn it’s raining!” Instead, say, “Thank goodness it’s raining, the plants and trees and pastures sure can use water today.” (I know this is hard with all the rain we’ve had, but drought would be worse.)

• Monitor self-talk. If you continue having negative thoughts, you truly will become a pessimist or as I like to say “Captain Cranky pants.” And when you think positive, you will be or become an optimist. Or as I like to say, someone most people like to be around!

• Visualize your goals and aspirations. Jack Canfield, the  world-renowned author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” states that daily practices of visualizing your dreams as already complete can drastically quicken your realization of your dreams.

• Take actions that support your goal. You can think it, but also do it. Watch your mouth, but  your body language can tell so much more than what the mouth can say.

• Know your purpose. Live life to the fullest (even during a pandemic). Many people are “lost” because they have lost their purpose in life. Finding it will help you find happiness. I know for me, making someone else joyful and helping them find purpose gives me happiness.

• Know that your brain can be changed. Don’t be a grump and think that this is how it has to be. Studies have shown that the brain can be “rewired.” Much praise for author Dr Daniel Amen on his book “Change your Brain, Change your Mind.”

• Know that anything is possible. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Many people will tell you it can’t be done or you will fail. But you should try, and visualize success. Be kind to the earth, mankind and animals. Your hearts will be full and your lives will be hopeful, successful and most of all happy. The power of positivity can change your mind, even when times are tough. Happy Easter!

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.

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