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President's Weekly Message (06/25/21)

photo from: Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Science knows your answer, Charlie Atkin, 10/02/15, Independent

Hello API Job Corps Centers,

Today’s message is about optimism. There is research that optimism is not a just a “Pollyanna” way of looking at life. It can help us experience a better life. Optimism is a hopeful, positive outlook on the future, yourself, and the world around you. It is a key part of helping us become resilient. We all are not “born optimistic” but we can learn it. We all have the power of choice when it comes to our thinking, our feelings, and our behaviors. If you find yourself saying, “I’ll be happy and more optimistic when…”

· I win the lottery,

· “They” act differently,

· I stop working,

· I get my house fixed up,

· My kids graduate,

· Etc.

…you may never find the happiness you seek. If we choose optimism and positive thinking our minds and our bodies improve. Optimism is believed to reduce health risks and lower stress levels and optimists are believed to have less issues with heart disease, self-esteem, depression, and neuroticism.

According to Drs. Kathleen Romito and Christine R. Maldonado "realistic optimism" can work for you as well. If you are executing realistic optimism, you don't just expect the best and hope that things will go well or expect only the worst. You look at the "big picture," and decide what is realistic to expect, you decide what you can do to make things go as well as possible, and you choose to focus on the positives as you go forward. So how to we train our brain to be more optimistic?

Brianna Steinhilber, an editor for the NBC News Better, speaks of five ways to train our brain to be more optimistic. These have been adapted for our life in Job Corp.

1. Shift your perspective. Ask yourself is there another way to look at things. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of work with virtual enrollees and our students return to center, challenge yourself to think about the positive results of this time period in our lives. We are able to service more students, we are learning new ways of doing things, we still are still employed!

2. Remove yourself from “negative nellies”. If you are around friends or colleagues who constantly complain or gossip, you will find yourself complaining and/or gossiping. Negativity is contagious. Positively is also contagious, so surround yourself with upbeat people and notice with whom you spend the majority of your time.

3. Turn off the news. The news and current state of media and politics can make it very hard for people to be optimistic. Limit your consumption of the news. In fact, turn off ALL the electronics and instead spend time doing activities that help maintain your health and a positive outlook.

4. Journal for a few minutes each day. Researchers define gratitude as the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself. One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that writing in a journal about what you are grateful for was linked to greater feelings of optimism.

5. Be real about what you can and what your cannot control. Positive people are able to adapt and thrive. They are not unrealistic about the facts, but they are able to deal with stress by practicing nutrition, healthy sleep habits, and mindfulness. Being in the present moment can help us remove the past or the future from our thoughts and define what we can or cannot control.

Optimism helps us to be better. We can become a better partner, spouse, teacher, mentor, employee, and Job Corps professional.

Thank you, once again, for your continued professionalism and creatively. Helping our students cope and become more optimistic has been, and will continue to be, your Super Power!!

Dr. Wild

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