The Skill Set: 8 Ways to Keep a Positive Mindset
With Goodness founder and wellness guru Margo Chabot enlightens us.
Margo Chabot started documenting the goodness she found on NYC streets in 2012. Smartphone in hand, she would snap photos of cafe chalkboards that read “More Opportunities to Give,” graffiti that advised to “Protect Your Magic,” stripped paint that was shaped like a heart and other inspirational moments she encountered in her day to day. Her Instagram account and blog With Goodness soon grew into #ProjectGoodness, a community that invited others to share their own inspirations and encouragement. As a registered health coach, yoga teacher and artist, Margo knows a few things about wellness. Below, she lets us pick her uber-positive brain.
The Skill Set: 8 Ways to Keep a Positive Mindset
1. Make negativity your springboard
The more critical the world is, the more we need to share anything goodness-related. It’s our calling. It’s our alarm clock telling us we have to try and focus on the things that lift us up, make us smile and cause us to realize what we’re grateful and thankful for. Skepticism, criticism and negativity is where we jump from. When we’re not happy with how things are going, we can see what we can do or start focusing our attention on what’s going well.
2. Start with you
You can start by looking in yourself, thinking about what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing. What are your strengths? What are your hopes and dreams? Hobbies and passions? That will help promote self-love and acceptance, and boost your confidence. It keeps that self-critical sense at bay. You can also find goodness in the people you care about. What are they good at? What do they do that makes your life better? This can really enhance relationships and give a deeper sense of appreciation for the people in our lives. The third place you can look is in your surroundings. Look at the world and ask, “What have I seen lately that has brought a smile to my face?"
3. Pass it on
A sweet note goes a long way. It can be in the form of a text message, email or Post-it. Write one for yourself, for loved ones or for colleagues, telling them the good you see in them. You never know to what extent you'll change someone’s day by giving them a compliment. It could change the way they interact with all the 100 people they see that day. At the dinner table with your family, ask about the goodness they've noticed in their day and the best things that have happened to them that week.
4. Be present
Breathing is one way to do it. When we are paying attention to our inhales and our exhales, the rise and fall of our bellies, we are instantly brought into the present moment—with our breath as the anchor. If I’m going for a walk, it’s being present with where I am. I take one step, then another and look around me. It’s having my mind in the same place as my body. I think listening is such an important part of being present with others.
5. Confront fear
Fear, for me at least, is attached to worry. When I start to feel worry creeping up, I like to think about something that I can do that would make the situation better. It may seem obvious, but it's not instinctive—in the moment, you just want to rock in the worry rocking chair.
6. Stop to make the go more powerful
The way the world is now, we’re going full-speed all the time. Taking breaks throughout the day gives us clarity and energy. When you’re driving on the highway, there’s a rest stop every certain amount of miles. The parking lots are full. We need to think about where we need to put the rest stops in our lives—whether it’s a minute, ten minutes or half a day. You would never have a highway without breaks. The stops really make the gos more powerful.
7. Express gratitude
Start a gratitude journal and jot down three things you’re grateful for at the beginning or end of the day. I started an email address called “sothisgoodthinghappenedtoday” and I put the date in the subject line and write something good that happened that day in the email. Reading through the account is a very rewarding experience.
8. Be the change and see the change
To find wonder, look at a child. It’s what they live and breathe. They question everything they see and ask how it got there, why and what it’s doing. As we get older, we look for shortcuts and we get used to walking down the same street every day. To cultivate more wonder, pick a specific place where you want to infuse it. It could be a habit you have, a routine or a relationship. Then, either be the change or see the change. To be the change would be to do something different or alter a routine. If you normally have oatmeal for breakfast, cook something special. To see the change would be to focus on something you never paid attention to before. After a trip upstate, I started obsessing over the beauty of branches on my daily commute, even though I was taking the same walk to work that I did before.
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Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Photographer: Kenneth Grzymala