Ester Marsh column: It’s all about the attitude

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2022

A positive attitude has a lot the do with the choices you make. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help if you feel life is too overwhelming! That would be a great choice. It is very difficult to stay positive through hard times such as the last few years dealing with COVID and everything that comes with it.

I am a positive person by nature. I believe exercise has a huge part to do with that but it is also who I am. Each morning when you get up out of bed, you have a new day. It is your choice to make it a good day or to let issues make it a bad day. Don’t get me wrong — I have bad days too, but I continue to fight to make it a better day. Does it always happen? No, it doesn’t, but most of the time I can turn it around and make it a good day.

When I get very stressed about work, life, “mandates” or finances, a good workout will make my day. The endorphins which are released while working out function as a natural anti-depressant. Lots of people think they can’t make choices, but we make choices all the time. Even when you don’t think you can, it can start with words — how are they communicated to you, and how you communicate them to others.

I was in the grocery store the other day, where most people still practice social distancing of six feet apart. It was a pretty long waiting line, and someone steps right in front of me, plenty of space due to social distancing. Initially I wanted to say “what the h…!” But I chose the benefit of the doubt and nicely told the person that there was a line and that we were social distancing. The person responded apologetically and moved the end of the line.

I look at how I like to be communicated to and try hard to do the same to others. The other day, someone flipped me the finger in the car and yelled obscenities through the car window while peeling away. Would she have done that if she would have stood in front of me? I don’t think so, I smiled and I waved back at her. There are so many choices throughout the day that we have control over, it is just hard to make it the right one. Another choice you have to help make your day brighter is to smile at people and acknowledge them. You will be surprised how many smile and responses you get back. I know it helps my day become a better day! The mask has definitely affected this but I have found that we can smile with our eyes!

I mentioned that exercise helps me deal with stress. When I need exercise because I am stressed, upset or overwhelmed, I need peace. Which means I don’t like to talk (I know that is hard to believe), I don’t like interruptions, I love to work extra hard and I like to listen to my favorite music (which changes what mood I am in). After that workout, I feel I can conquer the world, including my issues.

The first step is the hardest one of all. It will get easier each time, and through my experience, I have seen people’s attitudes change in front of my eyes. If it is hard to do this on your own, check with your YMCA or local gym for programs or classes to help you make that first step to a better health, physically, mentally and emotionally. For now, chin up!

Ester Marsh is health and fitness director of the JF Hurley Family YMCA.