I will never forget years ago when all six of us were in the car. I was thinking about various clichés (yes, my thoughts can be random) and I asked my oldest son if he thought a glass was half empty or half full.
He was about 11 at the time, and I assumed he had not heard the expression before. Knowing full well his character and personality type, I guessed which answer he would come up with.
Sensing it was some sort of test, he thought about it for several minutes. He was quite analytical, and I knew he wanted to guess correctly. He confidently answered that the glass was half empty.
My husband laughed. Like father, like son is especially applicable in their case.
I’ve always been a glass half-full type of person. I try to always look for the good, even when it is a stretch to do so.
When it rains for days, I tell everybody it is a good excuse to stay inside and read or watch old movies. Also, living here, we almost always need the rain. We should all be happy Lake Lanier is filling up.
When our team loses, I tell the kids the main reason to play sports is to have a good time, not just to win. Of course, that was pretty difficult last Sunday when the Falcons lost. My glass felt pretty empty after that.
Glass half-empty people tend to be hard on themselves. This isn’t to say they are always negative; they just have high expectations, both for themselves and others.
Over the years, I have developed some strategies for when I’m feeling negative or get a case of the blues. Here are some things that work for me, and I hope you will find them helpful if you have a case of the half-empties.
• Count your blessings.
Nothing cheers you up faster and changes your focus from your problems faster than when you think about the blessings in your life. Your spouse, children, friends, pets, home, car, job, food in your kitchen … just a few things to remind you of the good in your life.
Try writing these down and elaborating on why you are thankful for them. Before you know it, you will feel your glass filling up.
• Take a walk.
Getting your body moving goes a long way toward lifting your spirits. Serotonin begins to release in your brain and fresh air circulates in your body; before you know it, you physically and mentally get a boost. If it is too cold for you to walk outside, head to one of our awesome recreation centers and walk around the indoor track.
• Cook a meal for loved ones.
You probably knew I was going to mention food. Even if you are not a fanatical cook, breaking bread with loved ones is always a mood booster.
If your children are no longer at home, invite over friends or other family members. If cooking stresses you out, just pop a frozen lasagna into the oven. The company will surely cheer you up.
• Meet a friend for lunch or coffee.
I guess if you’re a man I would say meet a friend for a beer. Either way, making that human connection with someone who cares about you is always a positive experience.
• Volunteer in the community.
Nothing warms your heart faster than when you are helping others. There are so many wonderful nonprofit agencies in our area, you can decide who you want to help and take your pick of where to get plugged in.
Do you love animals? Check out the Humane Society.
Love children? There are a plethora of organizations that assist children. Mentor Me, The Bald Ridge Boys Lodge, Jesse’s House, CASA, just to name a few.
As I write this the weather is cold and gray, and that’s probably why this topic came to mind. I’m not a winter person and if ever I am feeling down, it is most likely during the colder months.
Whether you are a mother at home all day with young children, or a father working 70 hours a week to provide for his family, it is completely normal to have down days. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t experience stress and feelings of being overwhelmed on occasion.
Hopefully my strategies can help you get your glass back up to half full. Remember, spring will be here before we know it, and so will a new season of Falcons football.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.