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Eye of the Optimist-my 8 steps to living positively

Having just passed the sixth month mark of this year and reviewed my successes in that time, I find that positive thinking pays off big dividends. I enjoy a lot about life everyday, and good things keep happening in my life. 

For instance, I received a message inviting me to submit an article to a proper scholastic peer-review journal yesterday. The editorial board wants me to write more about using creative non-fiction as a tool for reflective teaching and social research. Just when I was wondering if I'd have such a chance again in my life, and whether my academic writing had any more to offer, I am told that I do and that it does.

Recently, I again searched  input on positive thinking after reviewing my life this year so far. Yesterday, I read and posted a summary of RVM's six steps to happiness here.  As I was posting those steps, I wondered how similar they were to the eight steps I arrived at by the end of the first quarter of my "Year of Living Positively" blogging. There are some similarities.  I find that my steps, starting from Dorothy Billington's advice, emphasize goal-stetting and problem-solving. I also stress work towards social change and creativity. RVM goes more extensively into attitude changing and constructing a new vision.

To review, here again is the conclusion to the first 120 days of daily positive thinking blogging (wrapping up the first volume of "A Year of Living Postively"), with my eight steps for living positively.

Conclusion (Day 120)
Now, I will review what this blog has achieved. First, I reached the goal of posting blogs every day for 120 days. I have 245 more days of blogging to go.

Second, I had something positive to say every day. Even though, I went through periods of illness, conflict, and frustrations of daily life such as the frustrations of technical problems with electronic communications and scheduling, I was able to speak constructively and maintain a positive outlook all the way.

Third, I developed my own concept of positive thinking. My concept encompasses problem-solving. I say we should accept problems and look for solutions rather than festering, complaining and procrastinating. Education is a key. In fact, my notion advises to adopt an active consciousness by means of critical positive reflection. We have to take account of the negative in order to see what is positive. Without knowing what is negative and investigating why it is negative, it may be harder to see the positive and act more positively. This includes studying and analyzing personal and organizational behavior, relationships, psychology, and other things. I extend this notion to counsel others to extend their community involvement not only by seeking interaction with others around them, and not restricting generosity to sharing, volunteering social service and performing charitable deeds. Rather, I further recommend becoming involved in collective studies and activities to address societal issues, taking any of the full range of issues and participating in any of the full range of actions to address them and make change. There is no shortage of issues or types of activities by which to tackle them, from employing artistic or technical skills, to reading and discussion, to research and reporting, from petitioning and protesting, to advocacy and policy lobbying.

Fourth, I have come up with a list of tips for living positively. Here they are again. By sorting and categorizing them, I have articulated eight steps for positive thinking and identified 40 techniques of living positively.

1.Think positively
-Adopt an outlook of positive thinking and see upside of situations as much as possible.
-Take notice of and remember successes.
-Collect photographs and keepsakes so as to have and hold onto good memories and take stock of your accomplishments
-Appreciate and take pleasure in the simple things such as food, nature, art, music, friends and co-workers, etc.
-Write down your thoughts, plans, visions, and positive memories. Writing a journal, stories, letters to friends and families, and poetry are good ways to do it.
-Keep learning through formal or informal education including reading, travel, alternative and educational media, and discussion
-Think of the kindness, happy moments and achievements that you experience from day to day. Give back what you expect/ hope to receive, too.

2.Build relationships
-Pay more attention to the people that help you, build you up or generally set good examples more than those that under-value others, cause friction or disappoint you, and set bad examples.
-Listen to others, ask questions and only make constructive criticism or offer suggestions or acknowledgement when you don't like what you are hearing.
-Have empathy and act on your compassion and social concerns in whatever ways suit you and are available.
-Reach out to people; don't let yourself get socially isolated. You can still be true to yourself.

3.Tackle problems
-Take an approach of stepping forward to confront and solve problems as much as you can rather than sitting on them, dwelling on them and letting them hold your life up.
-Work at trying to improve on techniques of problem solving
-Accept change and try to create change for the better.
-Focus on the present and what can or might be done.
-Study (get the facts), analyze and take action
-Study the little things in life, for they can contain big things

-Make long and short term life plans.
-Identify yourself, and envision a future you.
-Identify your life priorities.
-Set goals and priorities for each day, week, month and year, and include a plan for how to spend your -free time.
-Manage your time wisely.
-Have a daily routine, but be flexible for yourself and others.

-Save money and budget yourself wisely. Stay committed to the budget.
-Reuse, recycle and reduce excess whenever possible.
-Measure and apportion your consumption according to what you really want and need.
-Invest in what is most useful, necessary and socially and environmentally positive.

6.Get involved in the community
-Be an activist: get involved in collectives to work towards raising common issues of community and society, and working towards solutions. Make positive change happen.
-Do volunteer service.
-Monitor and stay involved in the community.

7.Stay healthy
-Take care of your health maintenance (rest, sleep, recreation, check-ups, nutrition...).
-Exercise regularly to stay fit and slim.
-Take vacations when you can afford to.

8.Be creative
-Bring art into your life, and make what art you can.
-Use humour.
-Add color to your life.
-Try some hobbies and pastimes that give you some pleasure.
-Follow your (healthy and morally grounded) passions .
-Try to do things that lift peoples' spirits from day to day, like having little celebrations, joyful or mirthful moments, incidents of sharing and so on.

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