#STRONGMIND: Be optimistic – crises are opportunities

Do you train with enthusiasm? This is the strongest and most sustainable motivation that makes your training a sure-fire success – a natural, enriching, energizing part of your life.

For me, this has long been the norm. It doesn’t cost me any effort to move, to be active, to train. For example, I love to throw a few baskets or go for a run in the evening when others are on the couch and watch TV. It feels good!

However, there is also a problem here that nobody really talks about: What do you do when you can’t do what you love, what inspires you? Isn’t that depressing?

Realistically, that is exactly what will happen sooner or later, at least temporarily, and many don’t know how to deal with it.

If, for example, an injury puts you out of the game for a while, when your gym closes, curfews or quarantine restrict your freedom of movement, as will be more the norm than the exception this year – what do you do?

Some indulge in frustration, others may become irritable and aggressive. Many get lost in self-pity.

I know that athletes and fitness enthusiasts in particular (have to) deal with it sooner or later. At the moment it basically affects everyone. When you are in this situation, you quickly feel helpless.

This article may be a light for you in “dark times” and at the same time give you an attitude to life that has probably never been more topical and helpful than these days.

Because I can sum up the right path from the point of view of my own recent experiences with just two words: Stay optimistic.

The Age of Whiners – How to Get Out of the Downward Vortex

Have you noticed? People LOVE compassion.

I was recently incapacitated for a few months due to an injury to my hand. The problem was less the injury itself than the infection of the wound, which required several operations and a strenuous time in the hospital.

What I can say for sure: Compassion is free.

Almost every visitor was full of it. It almost gives the impression that some people draw their strength from the fact that others are worse off.

But even more than pitying others, people love to pity themselves, to see themselves in the role of the innocent victim – and to share it with others in order to reap understanding.

We live in the age of whimpers who are only too happy to complain to the world of their suffering.

The scenario doesn’t really matter. In everyday life it’s the bad bet, the bad boss, the lousy working hours, the lack of free time. Also welcomed in politics, which always messes up anyway, because politicians are 99% really stupid – a long runner who always brings a lot of understanding and nods of the head.

Whining is “in”. But why are there so many whimpers in the world? It’s simple: It’s EASY!

People love self-pity because it releases them from responsibility. It’s always the other, the circumstances, a higher power or whatever – just not yourself.

A liberating feeling, that’s why so many people like to see themselves in the role of the poor victim.

In addition, with this mindset, all thoughts are focused on the problem – but not on possible solutions. And one thing is clear:

It’s a hell of a lot easier to whine about the problem than it is to look for solutions.

Because for the latter you have to take action, think, take responsibility, face hard facts from time to time and make sacrifices.

That can be tough as hell. But it also gives power. Responsibility is power.

There is always something you can do to make the most of your situation – but only if you are looking for solutions.

Only if you take responsibility do you give yourself the power to find and seize opportunities and thus to turn alleged defeats into victories.

Winners find ways – How you can better deal with setbacks

EVERY setback also offers new opportunities. You just have to find it.

What you need for this is flexibility. Those who are stuck in their thought patterns can only walk on well-trodden paths, but not find new ways.

Do you know what I did when I was in the hospital? What does an avid fitness trainer and athlete do when they can’t train? When his everyday life is suddenly turned upside down full of movement – as it now affects almost everyone else?

It was clear to me: under no circumstances become lethargic and let yourself go. There is always something to do, always an opportunity to develop.

In my case, I quickly found three new arenas to compete in while my body recovers from the surgeries and high-dose antibiotics:

  1. breathing. Breathing has a far greater impact on wellbeing and health than many people realize. There is a deep connection between breathing and inner life. Nervous people are usually short of breath without even realizing it. Every form of destructive stress leads to a more superficial and above all more irregular, cramped breathing. Fortunately, this connection also works in the other direction – if you learn to breathe evenly, deeply and relaxed, it has been proven to be more relaxed, healthier and more relaxed.
  2. Read . There are fantastic books on every imaginable subject. Books that can change lives and at the same time are much cheaper than a visit to the discotheque. Reading has always been important to me because it inspires you to take on new perspectives and thus develop yourself instead of falling by the wayside and rusting away. And I inevitably had more time. Why not use it sensibly and enrich yourself instead of being swept away by the mental whistle of the morning program on television? Reading also helps you sleep better.
  3. Meditate. Neither religion nor esotericism tempt me to do this. I do it because it simply makes me a little healthier and happier. Meditation creates order in the head, trains the ability to concentrate, relaxes body and soul equally and ensures a more restful sleep. The positive effectiveness of regular meditation has long been proven by numerous studies. [2,3] In everyday life, meditation is often lost between appointments, even though it would be all the more important then. There are no disadvantages!

As you can see, setbacks offer opportunities that are our sole responsibility to seize.

What YOU do is your business. It’s really only about one thing: You can always do something to improve your situation. ALWAYS. Leave the victim role behind you and start to act. To turn defeats into victories.

Strong inspiration: How to emerge stronger from hard times

We are currently in the greatest crisis since the 2nd World War due to the corona virus. But don’t panic. Nobody denies that it is tough and that it will probably get tougher, that restrictions and losses have to be accepted. But what we do with this situation is up to us. Whether we see it only as a crisis or as an opportunity at the same time.

THIS IS OUR MATURITY TEST! Let’s pass it together.

There will be a number of posts on Simply Progress over the next few months to help you get the most of this situation and seize opportunities that many don’t see for the sheer drama.

The articles appear under 4 headings.

#KriseAlsChance: Articles in this category open your eyes to what is now possible. Boredom is guaranteed, even if you have to stay at home.

#Reading tip: Reading and learning more is definitely one of those opportunities. But what is really worth it? This keyword will give you reading recommendations that can really enrich your life.

#SurvivalFood: Now is the best time to simplify your diet. SurvivalFood presents long-life, nutrient-rich foods so that you can still eat healthily even with limited possibilities (keyword economic crisis).

#StrongMind: How we deal with tough times is above all a question of having the right mindset! StrongMind offers pure inspiration and makes you mentally stronger.

I have seen how this can be done over the past few months. So even after the hospital I was far from thinking about dumbbell training, because the wound had to really heal first.

No problem, a few simple bodyweight exercises instead, long walks if possible and something that has been shown to be healthy for the cardiovascular system, the basic fitness trained excellently, but was a little neglected by me before: Jogging.

I was never a keen runner. But now the opportunity arose and I took it – and I’m out almost every day. My stamina has never been better.

Fantastic things like this only happen to you when you are looking for them. So ask yourself:

When in my life am I all too ready to see myself in the role of victim and to present myself to the outside world? What price do I pay for it, what opportunities are I missing out on?

In other words, whenever a door closes (temporarily) on you: Which other door opens in return?

The Science of Positive Thinking – Why It Really Works

As soon as you start looking specifically for it, you will find that other doors ALWAYS open. It is therefore up to you to change things for the better or at least for the better – that is always possible.

But that also means that there is basically no point in being pessimistic. Just remind yourself: How often did the worst case really happen in your life?

You yourself are living proof that things are usually far less dramatic than assumed.

You collect scrapes and scars, not only physically, but ultimately there will be better times and new opportunities, right?

And one thing must be clear to you: All you have ever earned and will ever earn are opportunities! Opportunities that are in your hands to seize.

The first question for me was not when I could leave the hospital, but whether I would still have all my fingers. It didn’t look like that at first. At least one permanent dysfunction was considered very likely.

Except for some pain-sensitive scar tissue, nothing remained. This morning I’ve done my first pull-ups for a long time. Most wounds heal.

Sure, the doctors did a good job. But ultimately this form of healing of wounds and infections is always based on the self-healing powers of the body and I am convinced that the fact that I was optimistic from the beginning despite the gloomy prognosis has contributed decisively to the healing.

At least I am absolutely certain that discouragement and pessimism have never in human history improved anyone’s situation. How you feel has a huge impact on how your body works!

If you let worries and fears eat you away, sooner or later your immune system will also weaken. That is scientifically proven!

On the other hand, a study published in 2010 on 124 first-year law students showed that optimism strengthens the immune system.

Keep your distance

At this point it should be said: To be optimistic does not mean not to take the current situation seriously and just carry on as before. The situation is serious and action must be taken. Keep your distance as much as possible, this is the only effective preventive measure. BUT: Be optimistic anyway. Why not? Crises pass.

Those who look positively into the future – and this applies to all areas of life – consequently live healthier!

The study situation on this is overwhelmingly clear. Instead of looking for studies that show that optimism is beneficial to our health (there are so many), it makes more sense to look for those that refute this effect.

If you’ve found what you are looking for, let me know, because I couldn’t find nothing like that! Science agrees on this – a rare phenomenon.

But it is not surprising, because if we are to be honest: We have all experienced ourselves that you feel better when you look optimistically about your future.

And I myself have only just experienced the healing powers of positive thinking. In a matter of weeks, “doesn’t look good” became “heals better than expected” and eventually “becomes completely healthy”.

That leads us to the prize question: How do you become an optimist in a world apparently dominated by bad news?

Is the glass half full? This is how you become an optimist

Okay, the metaphor is worn out. But it hits an important point: Those who concentrate on the positive live and age healthier.

This is confirmed (among many others) by a study by the University of Queensland in 2014. There, 50 people between the ages of 65 and 90 were shown a series of positive and negative images that they should remember later. The function of the immune system was checked at different times using blood tests.

The result: Those who could remember the positive pictures more had a stronger immune system! [11]

Which eyes you see the world with is therefore not only decisive for your well-being and happiness, but also for your health and even for your figure.

The latter is confirmed by a study published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2017. It was found there that participants who expected more fat loss (positive expectations = optimism) had actually lost more body fat after one year. [12]

The good news is: You alone can decide with which eyes you look into the future and assess the present.

It is nothing more than a habit and to change a habit the first step is always to recognize the need for a change and then, after the WHY is clarified, to make a conscious decision to do so.

At the beginning of a functioning change there is always an intrinsically motivated decision. This means that the decision can be inspired from outside (e.g. by scientific knowledge or experiences of others), but must be based on inner conviction are based.

When that is done, the task is to establish the new habit. The following steps will help you to bring more optimism into your life:

Optimism Booster # 1: Surround yourself with the right people

I think that was already clear at the beginning of the article: Stay away from energy vampires.

Of bloodsuckers who pull themselves up to make others feel worse. From pessimists, talkers and all those who “only do your best” – that is, want to change you according to their standards and points of view. You want to keep your best, don’t you?

The world offers enough humorous optimists and interesting originals. People who have developed their own point of view. From which one can learn. That spread joy and passion.

Did I mention that emotions are contagious? Incidentally, not only in direct contact, but even via social networks on the Internet, as a study from 2014 found. [13] That is relevant now, when physical contact should be avoided for a while.

Surround yourself as best you can and on all levels of communication with positive, enthusiastic people and you will become yourself Feel better IMMEDIATELY , your energy level will rise rapidly and your motivation will automatically return and grow.

Optimism booster # 2: Follow your vision

Do you have a vision for your life? In which direction do you want to develop, what do you want to achieve, WHO and HOW do you want to be?

I’m not talking about lifeless goals like “I want to lose 5 kg”, but about emotionally stimulating visions that inspire you and give your life a drive .

Those who live without a vision and direction can quickly get lost in everyday life and forget their enthusiasm. Above all, however, things are not going well.

Because to move forward you need a direction. Otherwise you stop and or go back (living in the past).

Just look at it from the perspective of your own experience: advancing, learning, growing and creating takes a lot of energy, doesn’t it?

To mobilize this energy, you have to focus. Or have you ever been able to give your best when you danced at 10 weddings at the same time? Hardly likely.

Again, in order to focus, you have to know what you want!

You see, it’s very simple: You need a vision for your life that you want to follow.

Of course, it is more convenient to always follow the pleasure only short-sightedly. But what is great on vacation (letting yourself go) leads to frustration and depression in the long run. Because everything becomes routine and one of the most important driving forces of humanity, curiosity, is not served.

On the other hand, those who follow their vision and feel the corresponding “drive” are inevitably more optimistic, because looking into the future is exciting instead of fearful.

To be clear, the “live every day like it’s your last” guys are really just insanely afraid of the future. Therefore they avoid looking ahead.

However, to be optimistic means to be able to look forward to the future and that requires inspiring visions to strive for.

But be careful: striving , i.e. converting visions into action, is the decisive part, because otherwise you will become a daydreamer who will eventually be caught by reality.

Optimism booster # 3: Go into nature

… because that’s where people feel most comfortable. The noises, the natural colors (green relaxes the eyes), the fresh air demonstrably reduce our stress level and help to switch off and relax.

A very recent study, published in 2019, found that just 20 minutes in a nature-loving place lead to a significant reduction in your stress level.

The more often you are in nature – in your element, so to speak – the more balanced you are and the better you feel.

That inevitably means more optimism.

Because ultimately the eyes with which we see the world, whether positive or negative, are also a mirror of our current emotional state. Anyone who goes through a hard time, has health, family, financial or other problems, tends to see other things in a negative light.

Optimism booster # 4: Make a note of at least three things that were positive every day

Those who are pessimistic often do not really notice the many positive things in their life and are instead much more receptive to negative experiences.

A vicious cycle distorting reality. In order to break with this, the brain must be reprogrammed and the senses focused on the positive experiences of everyday life.

What lucky coincidences did you experience today? What makes you smile What nice experiences and encounters did you have?

Write down at least three things you liked about your day before you go to bed.

This is not occupational therapy, but an EXERCISE. Means: With repetition comes progress.

At first you may have to ponder for a while, but after a few days the first progress in training can be seen. After a month it will be very easy for you to find MORE than three positive experiences.

Many people cannot even imagine that correctly. “What should be so great on a perfectly normal working day? They’re all the same anyway. ”

If you feel a little addressed by this, it just shows you how badly you need this exercise. Incidentally, this also works if you are in quarantine or subject to a curfew. If we are particularly frustrated with our situation, it works even better!

Optimism booster # 5: Be grateful

Gratitude – at a time when school children on the big world stage accuse “adults” of stealing their childhood, a truly rare commodity.

So that we understand each other correctly, climate protection is important, man-made climate change is verifiably real. But the message gets across badly.

When blaming – especially by children – the vast majority of people immediately switch to passage. How about starting with gratitude instead?

Young people have to thank the generations before them – and especially the generations of their parents and grandparents – an incredible amount.

Because it is precisely these generations that have generated enormous wealth under tough conditions with hard work.

Poverty and hunger are falling at a record pace. Safety, health care, the unemployment rate, individual freedoms and opportunities, equality, education and comfort have reached a level, especially in the western world, that all generations could not have dreamed of before.

Start with gratitude to see the world in a more positive and realistic light – and consequently, of course, to be more optimistic about the future.

I just want to ask you two questions in conclusion.

First: In your opinion, if you look beyond the current Corona crisis, are we not living in the best of times – since the beginning of time?

Unless the world is distorted by depression, there is more than enough evidence to answer YES to this question.

At least we can be pretty sure that every generation before would have loved to swap places with us.

Second, if you answered yes first: How is this answer reflected in your everyday life and your perception of our time?

What I mean is: shouldn’t you consequently be extremely optimistic and grateful?

Many are not because they grew up in prosperity and therefore take all the comforts that our modern life has in store for us for granted.

Would you like an example? Running water, available 24/7 and so clean that you can easily drink it. I bet that 99% of the population take this for granted. The shouting is great, however, if it fails for a few hours.

THAT is LUXURY. Anything but a matter of course. Now that we have to accept some limitations, we may finally realize that again.

Many other examples could be cited at this point, but the message has certainly become clear and I would like to close with that:

Take a little time to be grateful for all you have. Your ancestors would envy you much of this. Despite the crisis, we are living in fantastic times that give us every reason to be optimistic. Be optimistic.


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