07 Dec How to stay positive through it all
The holidays can be an overwhelming and emotional time for anyone, let alone families and educators of children on the autism spectrum.
My grandmother used to say something that has stuck with me through the years. Whenever I came to visit her, she would tell me, “I’ll be right back. I have to go put on my face!” What she actually meant was that she had to go put on her make-up, but over the years, it began to mean so much more to me.
Many people, through good times and bad, wear a smile on their face; nobody knows what, if anything, is ailing them, because they always seem to be so happy. My grandmother was one of those people. She always smiled and seemed to love life and be at peace with all that surrounded her.
I have taken a page from my grandmother’s book, and always wear a smile too. Of course, I also have challenges and obstacles in my life, but I constantly try to see the good in it all. For some, this may seem exhausting. However, for me, this positivity keeps me going.
Seeing the best in every situation and in all people enables me to be of service to hundreds of people year after year. Constantly trying to see the bright side of things really helps me when I am working with families, teachers, and children. I realize this way of thinking is not for everyone, but I thought I would share some of my Positivity Strategies with you. I hope that you will practice these techniques, share them with others, and pass them onto your beloved children.
1. Find something positive in every situation.
When a challenge comes your way, it is easy to get caught up in all of the negative emotions. When you find yourself going down this emotional spiral, stop yourself and think, What is one positive thing that I can learn from this situation? Perhaps it is something as simple as learning patience, or maybe it helps you to connect more to yourself. The more you practice this strategy, the easier it will be to find positivity in your challenges.
Don’t forget to breathe! How often have you heard someone remind you of this throughout your life? Think about all the times when you felt frustrated, as if you were suffocating, or had to stop just to catch your breath. Now, think about situations when someone said to you, “Take a deep breath.” Breathing can make us feel good, yet it is something we often forget to do. When I am focused on my breath, I don’t have time to think about anything else.
I encourage you to take time every day, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, simply to breathe. Take five deep breaths and only focus on the air coming in and out of your lungs. Breathe in fresh air, and breathe out your stress.
3. Find humor. Laugh.
Start compiling a list of things that make you smile and laugh. When you are feeling down, refer to your list. Your list can consist of jokes, silly pictures, websites that have funny content, or even YouTube videos that make you giggle. If all else fails, stand in front of the mirror and smile. Look at yourself for as long as it takes until you start laughing!
4. Know that tomorrow is a new day.
As I mentioned earlier, I have gone through some very challenging things in my life, including losing my brother when I was just 15 years old. When going through a huge challenge, whether it is the loss of a loved one, or the autism diagnosis of your child, remember that tomorrow is a new day. I often tell parents, “What goes up, must come down.” Even if your child is in meltdown-mode, he will eventually calm down. Tomorrow is a new day, a better day, a day where you get to see the sunrise, and a day when you will be able to find the positivity in what happened yesterday.
5. Live each moment in the here and now.
While it is important to recognize that tomorrow is a new day, I also like to focus on the here and now. Life is so precious. I often hear people say things like, “I can’t wait until Friday,” or “My vacation can’t get here soon enough.” I love planning awesome vacations and fun activities for the weekends; I think it is great to think about the future. However, it is also important and most beneficial to focus on the moments that are here and now. The only thing that is guaranteed in this life is this very second.
So whether you “put on your face” to feel happy, or find something positive in every challenge you meet, I encourage you to embrace each day of this holiday season. Hug your children, smile often, and have an incredible start to your new year—right now—in this very moment!
Much love to all of you,
Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed.