By Lisa Caplan

The best advice I have ever received was from my grandmother who would always say, “If you don’t keep moving, you don’t keep moving,” and she meant it literally. We stop moving our bodies and our minds and we die. She would take every opportunity she had to get up and go, even as she was aging and slowing down, and all she would ask is, “When do you want me to be ready?”

I really believe that the less we do, the less we want and are motivated to do. Think of the days when you chose to do very little and how difficult it was to maintain energy. Now, think of the days when you wake up and start your day with a positive attitude, exercise, and tasks to accomplish. I believe that a negative attitude equals a negative outcome and a positive attitude equals a positive outcome. So, here are some ideas on how you can have a positive attitude and a plan to keep moving.

  1. Set an intention for your day. Before you get out of bed stretch, take a couple deep breaths, and decide on an intention for the day. For example, “I plan to be productive today.” Setting an intention helps you focus on what is important and empowers you to decide what your day will look like.
  2. Motivate yourself not only by the positive possibilities in your life but by the challenges. Your motivation does not come from external forces; it comes from how you choose to respond to what is going on in your life.
  3. Start exercising. You don’t have to run a marathon to get moving. If you don’t exercise at all, start slowly and set small goals. The more you exercise, the more it will become a lifestyle, and not an activity.
  4. Exercise with a friend or family. Plan a bike ride, hike or weekly walk with someone else. Exercising with someone will help to keep you motivated, and it’s harder to talk yourself out of not exercising if someone else is relying on you.
  5. Challenge yourself to see the positive in things. Become aware of your thoughts and see if you can reframe your negative thoughts to be more positive.
  6. Find a hobby. A hobby is a great way to focus energy and creativity. Giving your mind something different to think about keeps it strong and healthy.
  7. Do community service. Focusing on the needs of others helps us appreciate what we have and to look at the world in a different way.
  8. Limit time spent with people who drag you down emotionally, or let go of them completely. Negative people drain energy. If you can’t get them out of your life, then reframe how you think about them. You have control over how someone makes you feel, not the other way around.
  9. Spend time outside. Sunshine and fresh air help reduce stress and can improve mental health.
  10. Remember, progress is not achieved in a “straight line.” We all encounter bumps in the road, and these bumps empower us to change and grow. Without the difficulties, you wouldn’t have developed the strengths you have, or be where you are today. You have control over how you see these bumps, and the impact they have on your life.

For assistance, please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling. We have a network of counselors throughout Maryland. Jim Quinn, Lawyer Assistance Director, (443) 703-3041, jim@msba.org; Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, Associate Director of the Lawyer Assistance Program, (443) 703-3042, lisa@msba.org. 24/7 Toll Free 1(888) 388-5459.

 

Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C has over 20 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma.