In June of 2013 I was called up to my bosses office and told that after 24 years of working at the same company they were canceling my newscast and my services were no longer needed. It came as a shock, unexpected, and I was filled with this incredible loss.
Fortunately for me, I have a loving husband and two teenaged daughters that I get to come home to every night. They were my support system. But before I could go home and break the news to them that day I knew I needed to reach out to my other support system. So I called one of my sisters who lives out of town. She told me to call one of my best friends Kim. She knew Kim would be just the support I needed. I knew Kim would be the perfect shoulder to cry on. Boy, was I wrong.
Now before you jump to conclusions and think I’m going to bad mouth my friend Kim let me tell you how the situation finally played out. I called Kim on my drive home. Kim didn’t answer her phone. I kept calling and she kept not answering. Finally I thought I can’t go home without speaking to her first. So, on that beautiful summer day, I drove straight to Kim’s house only to find her just pulling in her driveway.She immediately got out of the car and saw the horrible look on my face.
Here’s how the conversation went.
Kim:”Oh my gosh! Is everything alright?”
Sylvia:”NO its not.”(fighting back tears trying to hold it before the big explosion of tears are pouring out because I just told my “loving, sympathetic friend.”)
Kim: “What happened?”
Sylvia:”I lost my job today.”
Kim:”Is that all?”
Sylvia:(swallowing back the tears and the lump in my throat realizing there’s no pity to be found here)
Kim:”I thought something horrible happened to your husband or the girls. Thank God everyone’s fine.”
So now you can understand what I mean. This was not the reaction I expected. I expected a hug and the waterworks to flow as one of my “so called best friends” comforted me the way she was supposed to. But Kim’s reaction was exactly what I needed at that very moment. It was as if someone slapped me with a brick for the second time that day. The first time is when I was told I was fired. The second slap came when Kim made me realize losing my job was definitely NOT the worst thing that could happen to me. She was my dose of reality and put everything in perspective.
We now laugh about that day. I tell her I’m still mad at her for not allowing me to cry but so grateful she was there. She told me exactly what I needed to hear.
I tell you this story because it’s one of the foundations for how I now try to live my life every day, being mindful and grateful. That’s why I’ve come up with Sylvia’s 7 Daily Steps to a Happy Healthy Life. Get ready, they may seem a little on the pollyanna side but hey, it’s what works for me. So here you go:
1. Wake up every morning with a smile on your face and tell yourself, “Today is going to be a great day.” Even if you don’t think it is. I may look like a crazy woman to my husband if he ever see’s me do this but I always wake up earlier than he does so thus far I have not been discovered. Studies have shown that smiling does make you feel better. Try it now. Or say the long vowel sound E and hold it for a few seconds. Now say the long vowel sound U and hold that for a few seconds. The U makes your mouth pouty and doesn’t make you feel good. But the long E is like a smile and it warms your whole body.
2.Don’t dwell on the negative. Always see the bright side. There actually is a bright side to every situation whether you believe it or not.
3.Surround yourself with positive people. You can’t always control who you are with 24/7 but when you can control it make sure you surround yourself with people who are uplifting, supportive and encourage you.
4. Cultivate friends. You are never too old to make new friends. If you’re a man try to find other men with like interests. If you’re a woman look for additional new girlfriends. I always say I love my husband and children and they bring me such joy and happiness but there’s nothing like girlfriends to get you through those rough times (hello kim) and to celebrate the good ones.
5.Quit worrying. This is the best gift I have taught myself. Worrying is a waste of time. Take control of what you can and know that whatever is keeping you up at night is going to work itself out. Worrying isn’t going to change things. It won’t make the problem go away, it won’t make you feel better all it does is take precious time away. Life is way too short to waste your time worrying.
6. Quit beating yourself up. Quit calling yourself, too fat, too skinny, too old, too young or not smart enough. Believe in yourself. A healthy diet and exercise can fit in this category. They help to clear your mind and just make you feel better. You don’t have to run a marathon. Just do something. It’s not about being skinny. It’s about eating better as often as you can and not beating yourself up if you don’t. If you mess up just get back on the program.
7.Finally, giving it back and paying it forward. That also makes you feel better. I’m not just talking about being charitable.This one’s for the ladies out there. I really feel if you’re a woman it’s especially important to support other women. Since I left, got fired, oh whatever, from my TV station, I have been amazed at my support network of women. No jealousy, no competition with each other, we just want to help each other out and it feels good. And more importantly let’s teach our daughters to do the same with their girlfriends. They need to know they are not in competition with their friends.
So that’s Sylvia’s 7 Daily Steps to a Happier Healthier Me. Maybe they don’t work for you but try to come up with your own list and make an effort to live by them every single day. Just remember in order to be the healthiest and happiest you can be even in the face of adversity it’s your attitude that makes the difference. You are your biggest cheerleader as trite and as simple or as stupid as it it may sound. Try it. It can’t hurt. You might even find it works.