Resilience, Realistic Positivity, and 60 Kindness Ideas
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
I’m not gonna lie…. this week has really challenged my kindness mindset. I’ve been glued, riveted, unable to stop looking and listening to the terrible things happening in Ukraine. I feel and fear for those people.
But as I watched the resolve of the Ukrainian people unfold, I also started to see the kindness that is rising up from all over the world. People in Poland, Romania and Slovakia welcoming refugees with food and places to stay. Organizations collaborating to send medical supplies and water. Even Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, is sheltering fleeing Ukrainians.
In what seems like another lifetime…. In 2017 the Ukrainian Government sponsored the creation of Ukraine’s Book of Kindness…. stories of love and hope written by Ukrainians and compiled into a ‘living’ book. I hope these stories of kindness live beyond the life of turmoil that Ukraine is experiencing today.
All of this got me to thinking about the importance of positivity. Not the over-the-top, overly optimistic, everything-will-turn-out-if we-just-believe kind of positivity.
I’m talking about Realistic Positivity. Ok, I made that term up, but trust me, there’s scientific proof to back me up.
A 2017 study of more than 70,000 women over 8 years proved that the women who were more optimistic were less likely to die from things like cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and stroke.
The researchers found that being positive also makes you more resilient, and that can help you be healthier and live longer.
"There is a huge mind-body connection, so in many ways, when we believe that we can do something, we are putting ourselves in a better place to actually do it," says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Smart Health Psychology.
Three additional studies show that people who approach challenging issues with a positive attitude are more capable of creating healthy coping skills and they are more resilient.
There’s another study, a British one from 2020, that says that realists are happier than optimists. It’s this study that helped me coin the term ‘Realistic Optimists’. In my opinion, this study paints all optimists as the over-the-top kind I mentioned earlier.
But I think the most successful optimists are those who balance a positive attitude with reality. While they recognize and face reality, they choose to approach the reality of life in a positive way. I believe that the other studies clearly demonstrate that positive people not only are healthier, but they also are more capable of handling the challenges of life, no matter how difficult. Positive people remain determined and focused on positive outcomes.
So…. back to Ukraine…. and Poland and Romania, Slovakia and Moldova. Now I see the power of positivity at work. People rallying behind a belief. People rallying for each other. People who are resilient. People who are realistically positive.
There’s no better time than now for you to remain positive and to be kind, both to yourself and to others. If you need a little help coming up with kindness ideas, here’s a downloadable/printable flyer with 30 free kindness ideas you can do for others and 30 free kindness ideas you can do for yourself. (If you have trouble downloading the pdf, just reply to this email and let me know and I’ll send it to you.)
Call for comments: What are your thoughts on the resiliency of the people of Ukraine?
May your week be filled with kindness. 💜
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I love 'Realistic Positivity'! I need to practice it more often, and hopefully I will, now that I know what it's called. LOL.
I think part of the Ukrainian success so far is just that--realistic positivity. They know the odds but they know themselves. They know Putin's massive firepower might go against them, but Putin will never win the war. They'll never quit fighting him or any of the puppets he so foolishly thinks he can put in place. It won't happen.
Thank you for this, Heather. I hope it finds a wide audience.
Thanks for the download! Will tack this next to the desktop computer to keep kindness top of mind 👍