Thinking Positively to Improve Your Health and Your Life Plan
There’s real power in learning to embrace positive thinking. A growing body of research suggests that positivity can boost mental well-being, improve physical health, and help us succeed with career and life goals. A team at Johns Hopkins University even found that people with a positive outlook were one-third less likely to suffer a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems.
Try to incorporate these three mind hacks into your daily wellness routine to improve your perspective and your Return on Life.
When you’re stuck in the middle of a frustrating situation, you probably don’t want to hear about doors closing, windows opening, or turning lemons into lemonade. However, approaching challenges from a slightly more positive perspective can help you appreciate the potential of every moment. Rather than being scared or intimidated by a new experience, focus on what you can learn even if you fail. As tired as new parents may be when their baby cries at 2 A.M., those extra chances for family bonding are precious and will fly by if you don’t seize them.
There’s nothing you can do about the traffic jam that’s making you late for a big meeting. But instead of stewing at other drivers, you could run through your presentation in your head a few extra times. You’ll still be late, but you might be better prepared; you might even come up with a few improvements that impress the rest of your team and transform the project at hand.
2. Build resiliency.
Positivity takes practice, especially if you’re someone who has trouble looking on the bright side. Acknowledging that you must work on being more positive is an essential first step. From there, you can start to become more aware of the thought patterns and physical ticks that manifest when you’re thinking too negatively. Take stock of your thoughts during the day and assign them a value: positive, negative, and neutral. If you slip into the negative zone, try shifting gears and focus on what you can control in a positive way.
Embrace good-natured humor wherever and whenever you can, even if it means chuckling at yourself after making a mistake. And finally, try to be a little kinder to yourself. The voice in the back of your head that’s constantly criticizing and listing your faults can be hard to silence if you let it run wild. Unclench your jaw, loosen your shoulders, and give yourself the pat on the back you deserve as you work through your daily to-do list. Some researchers have even found that the physical act of smiling – even if you’re not happy – can lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and improve your mood.
3. Maintain positive relationships.
There’s another positive thing about smiling: it’s contagious, especially if you regularly surround yourself with other positive people who bring out your best. If your coworkers spend too much time grumbling about the boss, consider going to lunch with someone else. Get the doom-and-gloomers out of your social media feeds – even if you’re related to a few of them. Enlist a spouse, friend, or family member to hold you accountable to a new exercise routine or the online classwork you need to complete to make a major job transition. Mix mood-enhancing physical activity into your social life with team sports, long walks, cycling, camping, or game nights. Get into the habit of sending birthday cards or calling up friends and relatives more often just to say hi. Send out positivity to the people you care about. You’ll be amazed by how much positivity will come back to you.
If you’re feeling down about your money, make an appointment to meet with us and work on or review your life plan. We can help you identify areas where a little more positivity and some expert planning can make a big difference.
This Week’s Favorite Reads
This week’s favorite reads highlight topics such as ways to set your child up for financial success and steps that can help you avoid financial scams. You will also find some great suggestions to help you become a better listener. As always, please schedule a free call if we can help you with any of these issues.
Here are the links to this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each:
Whether you’re a woman facing new beginnings or not, if you have kids, you should want to see them succeed financially. The sooner you can start teaching good financial habits the better. Focus on teaching them to set goals, to work within a budget, and to save for the future. Leading by example also adds considerable value. Remember to take your child’s developmental stage into account as you guide them. The lessons you teach them today can help positively shape their financial journey.
The number of scammers and thieves looking to access your financial accounts continues to grow. They often follow a similar playbook. Fortunately, you can take some steps – 12 according to the article – to protect your accounts. The process starts with securing your account logins. Using a password manager will help you generate long passwords. You can enable two-factor authentication. Set up account alerts, too. Check the article for more tips.
Prior blogs have addressed the financial challenges women face, including the gender pay gap. Unfortunately, the gender gap applies to workplace financial wellness programs, too. More male than female employees are confident about money management. Twice as many men as women consider themselves financially knowledgeable, too. I wonder how much of that can be attributed to overconfidence. Why would I say that? According to studies such as this one, women are disproportionately more likely than men to answer, “I do not know” to a question. While the article says that women may be underutilizing financial advisors, they are more proactive about educating themselves about money. If you would like to work with a financial advisor who enjoys helping you understand the reasons behind their recommendations, please schedule a call.
One of the key points of emphasis in the Kinder Institute’s Life Planning process that Apprise has implemented is listening. In the first course I took in my training to become a Registered Life Planner®, we formed dyads. We were instructed to ask our partner a question. Our other instruction was that we couldn’t talk during the two-to-three minutes they were given to answer. It’s truly amazing how much more you can learn when you let someone speak without interruption. Allowing for quiet while they think adds considerable value to their response. In this article, you will find four bad habits to drop, three skills to build, two listening questions to ask, and one reflection technique. Try them for yourself. If you become a better listener, you will have better conversations. If you have a leadership role, improving your listening skills can also help you advance your career.
When saving for retirement, it’s important to consider how to optimize your 401(k) savings. You also want to avoid making some common mistakes. This article shares four common mistakes you should avoid when saving for retirement.
- Don’t use your 401(k) as your rainy-day fund in an emergency.
- Don’t withdraw your savings too early. Keep them in your 401(k) as long as practical.
- The earlier you start saving the better. But don’t try and tie the market.
- Take advantage of the full match offered by your employer.
Our practice continues to benefit from referrals from our clients and friends. Thank you for your trust and confidence.
If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating your life plan, saving for college, or saving for retirement, please complete our contact form or schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom. We will be in touch.
Please note. We post information about articles we think can help you make better money-related decisions on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Phil Weiss founded Apprise Wealth Management. He started his financial services career in 1987 working as a tax professional for Deloitte & Touche. For the past 25+ years, he has worked extensively in the areas of financial planning and investment management. Phil is both a CFA charterholder and a CPA.
Located just north of Baltimore, Apprise works with clients face-to-face locally and can also work virtually regardless of location.