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Adversity and Optimism

I hope you've had a great start to 2018. I apologise for the couple of quiet months but I confess it's been a challenging start for me.

I didn't want to gloss over it, pretend my life is golden and perpetuate a myth, so I hope you will excuse me for my self-indulgence.


Rather than go into the issues the beginning of the year has brought for me, I wanted to tell you a little about what I've learnt about myself and dealing with the tough stuff.

Firstly, it's okay to wallow a little; to feel sad, bad and, at times, angry. It's ok to hide away as long as you see it like a short term retreat. Giving yourself permission to have some time out is really important and actually enables you to see it as finite.


I used that time to think, to reflect and to rebuild my strength. I thought a great deal about optimism and what it takes to build the resilience and the perspective that goes with it. Here are the seven thoughts that have helped me move from adversity and reignite my optimism for what comes next:


· Be grateful for the things you take for granted; be explicit about it. The sounds of nature, the unconditional love of your family, music or just the comfort of knowing that you have the ability to go again.


· Never stop being generous with your time and energy; even if you're finding things tough, by helping others you are able to contextualise but also still feel useful and of value.


· Don't lock yourself away; being around others, hearing about their lives and sharing the stories where they have overcome challenges can be so energising. Too often, we isolate ourselves when it all hits the fan!


· Make sure you connect with the most optimistic people you know, see them, and speak to them; absorb their energy. Don't slip into the trap of resenting people who are going through a good time.


· Remember there are some people who feed off your struggles; it perversely makes them feel better. Don't let them feed or even exacerbate your problems; avoid the 'told you so' brigade.


· Make sure you don't let your angst make you hateful; it is easy when you feel down to project blame onto others and to let negative energy and even jealousy grow. Be at your most forgiving and tolerant when times are tough.


· Trust your chemicals and your radiant smile. Smiling, even forcing yourself to, can have benefits. It draws others in and can create a respite that will help the serotonin out; the hormone that contributes to a feeling of wellbeing.


So, there we are... I feel better for that; thank you!

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© Richard Gerver