Don’t Worry; Don’t Try to be Happy

Commonly, it is said that there are two types of people in the world: those that see the glass as half full, and those that insist on it being half empty.

Life is full of perspectives, military spouse life isn’t any different- we chose our perspective. We chose to look at military life as either an adventure or a series of trials.

The truth is though that those who live more optimistically generally live longer. Pessimism is linked to shorter longevity, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. However, pessimism doesn’t have to be permanent. If we think of optimism and pessimism on a line continuum rarely will you find someone on either end, most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

The world wasn’t created in a day, so realize that attitudes are hard to change. According to one study, it takes longer than two months for a new habit to become automatic. Changing your perspective will take time, but with perseverance automatically becoming optimistic is possible.

Don’t worry, don’t try to be happy. When we are trying to be happy, we are constantly gauging our level of happiness. Which can thereby increase our anxiety levels, and also keep our minds stuck on the obstacle that is challenging our happiness. Instead keep yourself busy, with things that can easily occupy your time. Leaving little time to “obsess” with the naught. So instead of trying to force yourself to be happy about the deployment that separates you from your service member, pick up an activity that you enjoy- and that can easily occupy your time.

Chicken Little, the sky is falling. Another way that we tend to get caught in pessimistic thoughts is by catastrophizing situations. When we PCS, it becomes the end of the world, because we will have to start our lives over again. Instead of catastrophizing try writing down the situation in each way that it could play out. Going back to our previous PCS example: 

  1. We will move and have no friends.
  2. We will move and meet new friends.
  3. We will move and reconnect with “old” friends.

While there is a chance that any of the scenarios may happen, statistically speaking they will not all happen.

One last way that you can become more optimistic is by acknowledging your gratefulness for the positive things that you DO have in your life. Create a gratitude journal, and leave positive quotes throughout the house, where you will find them. (like us on Facebook, we post daily inspirational quotes).

If you aren’t positive by nature, don’t get discouraged- things can turn around, but it will take work on your end to create the positive.

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