The sun continues to scorch our state. Our once luscious green grass fields are now brown and look as though they’ll never recover. The deciduous trees native to our state are beginning to show some distress. The leaves are beginning to wither. The water levels in our rivers and lakes are way below normal. The sun is beating down upon us all with a vengeance. And despite the inability to keep the sweat from dripping, I was so relieved yesterday.
I yelled to myself, “It’s only 89°F today!
“What?” you may be asking. Well, we have been suffering through temperatures above 90° and into the 100°’s. There are many many places in the states and across the world which are suffering from much higher temperatures. But, we’re not used to this here. Yes, it does creep up on us every year in the month of August. However, it normally lasts for only a couple of weeks and then we wait until next year. And so we forget to be prepared. Thus, when our high temperature was only 89°F yesterday, I was relieved (it’s supposed to be 105°F again in a couple of days).
I soon realized that my reaction to our (cough, cough) cooler day is similar to the unforeseen events in my life.
I think it’s safe to assume we have all been asked the epic question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” Without any conscious effort, I was able to see the glass half full. Right now, I am able to recognize that there isn’t a lot of difference between 89° and 100°. Wikipedia explains this concept as:
“used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty), or as a general litmus test to simply determine an individual’s worldview. The purpose of the question is to demonstrate that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on one’s point of view and that there may be opportunity in the situation as well as trouble.”
This hasn’t always been very easy for me. It has taken counseling, introspection and years of practice to learn how to approach events in my life this way. And in no way am I stating or even implying that I do this all of the time and to every situation. I am human. My wish is that you might find one of my tools or concepts useful.
What I do to see the glass half full.
For me, the very first step is to acknowledge and accept whatever is happening. Normally, these types of situations aren’t anything I have control over. The more I fight my current plight the more stressed I feel and the more anxiety I experience. Then, the end result is utter hopelessness. Feeling hopeless is like drowning in that half empty glass of water even though I can touch the bottom.
Still, there is more than just accepting it. This tends to approach the mental and emotional side of myself. And even though that is the necessary first step, I really have to embrace it and live it. This is the physical or “doing” part of my life. I’m referring to whatever it is that I need to stop doing or start doing. Continuing with the concept of the half empty glass, this is where I stand up in the water rather than allowing myself to drown.
Often times I find myself entrenched in anxiety and/or depression. It is during these times that I really benefit from slowing down. I remind myself to stop and breathe. I know, I’m already breathing. I’m referring to slow breathing exercises to keep myself from hyperventilating. Learning how to relax and “unwind” helps me to stay focused and move forward (rather than backward or just staying still).
It is pointless to struggle against what I can not change. Obviously, I have no control over the weather. But, there are things that are within my control. I can choose what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to do throughout the day and where I can stay to remain cool and comfortable. If I have to be outside in the heat, then I focus on what I can do to keep myself cool. This, in turn, allows me to stay focused and positive.
I like to reward myself for a job well done. This may sound a bit strange or even juvenile, but it helps me a lot. When I’m able to stay aware and remain positive through the day, my entire life improves. I give myself a lot of pats on the back for overcoming obstacles. I may spend a small amount of money on something I normally don’t do. A rewarding pedicure or a scrumptious banana split sounds good right about now.
What do you do to see your glass as half full?