So Get up offa that Thing and Dance—You’ll Feel Better!
Every now and then, I am struck with a conundrum, and whether you believe it or not, so are you. Do I get up? I am not talking about when that annoying alarm goes off in the morning. That’s why they invented the snooze alarm. I am referring to the ability to keep yourself motivated and produce at your top level of performance. To be up or positive is a conscience choice we make, because in a world of social media, news, neighbors, kids, friends who live with a rain cloud over their head, and having cohorts at work, being upbeat and positive would be stinking awesome.
This occurred to me the other day when I got on the elevator in Louisville, Kentucky. It was subtle at first, I mean I almost missed it. I was going back to my room to get a memory stick that has my video introduction on it (I had Nick develop this for me, because it occurred to me that the task of introducing the speaker usually falls on the committee member who wasn’t at the meeting), and I stepped up to the elevator and pushed the up button. The elevator door opened and a synthesized voice (not a human voice) said, “Going up”. The reason it got my attention was because it was obviously a non-human voice, but the inflection was upbeat on the word “up”. I thought it was entertaining and sort of dismissed it, but when I came down the voice said, “Going down,” and the inflection was down on the “down”. Even the synthesized voice was positive about going up. Up is a great direction–the word almost insists you use a positive inflection. It like playing the banjo and singing the blues–not happening.
Of all the comments I get after a presentation or conversation with someone, they always ask, “How do you stay up?” Not motivated, happy, positive, etc… but up. I mean it is the alternative to down! And it has got me to thinking… maybe people really don’t know how to stay up! I have tons of reasons to stay up. I am a speaker, I am healthy, I am happy, I like people, I think the world is a remarkable place, I have people who love me, I have friends, I have a job. But, wait… this does not require me to be or stay “up”. Lots of down people have all those things as well! They have an elevator problem.
It is a question of are you going up or going down, staying up or staying down, positive expectancy or negative expectancy? It’s what you hear! I have wrestled with this for years. Am I a motivational speaker? The answer is no! And therein lies the conundrum. I can not motivate anybody to do anything. The word motivation is not a commanding word; it is an action word. I can motivate myself, but I cannot motivate you. It’s why most people get mad at their physician. They believe doctors make you better when you’re sick. You made yourself sick, and only you can change your habits to make you better. Oh, he or she can cure temporary problems, but long-term health… Well, that’s up to you.
Ok, we had identified a problem. So, what’s the solution? How do we stay up? Remember, like a physician, I can deliver some short-term cures, but the positive heath benefits of up living are—well, they’re “up” to you! If you have poor eyesight, but fail to get glasses and wear them, you won’t understand. So, here are some ideas to get you started down the path of staying up (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH UP PEOPLE WHO BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU.
The company you keep should inspire you, support you, and bring your best self to light. If the people you hang around don’t make you feel loved and respected, it’s time to move up. Focus on people who spread love and a zest for life, not those who perpetuate hate and fear. Remember: a ship’s job is to the keep the water out. It floats in water, but can’t survive with water inside.
- LET YOUR FACE REFLECT THE WAY YOU WANT TO FEEL.
You may not feel you have much to smile about, but even your own heartbeat is reason enough to feel happy. Despite your current circumstances, you can turn your whole life around simply by showing thanks for your blessings. Smile, because you’re alive and you have the power to create greatness, and life will give you even more reasons to feel alive.
- GET AN “UP” PARTNER.
You can lovingly keep each other in check by keeping tabs on each other’s energy, and kindly point out when the other one starts to draw in too much negativity. If you catch your partner watching too many negative programs on TV or listening to mindless music on the radio, making negative posts on social media, call them out on it and suggest some alternatives, such as going outside or reading an uplifting book. Remember what Mama said about comments: if you can’t say something nice, well…
- REMEMBER–NEWS IS NASTY.
In most cases, the news is where they begin with ‘Good evening,’ and then tell you why it isn’t.” Most of the time, the news, radio, latest big-screen movies, and other modern media portray the world in a shallow, depressing, and hostile way. Too much exposure to these programs might awaken anger, anxiety, or depression in you, which will affect your energy levels. Instead of turning on the evening news, read positive articles, or watch some motivational videos. Pretty soon, you will most likely catch yourself craving the positive outlets and keeping the negative ones at bay.
- TRY REPLACEMENT THERAPY.
Just like limiting your contact with negative media, you can easily replace other negative habits in your life with more uplifting practices. Ditch junk food and incorporate more fresh, whole foods into your diet. Just do anything that makes you feel good instead of subjecting yourself to things that make you feel lousy. We were meant to feel vibrant and thrive in this lifetime, so seek out activities and habits that make you feel that way!
- RIDE UP, WALK DOWN.
Many times, we magnify the world’s problems while forgetting about all the positive aspects of life that are right in front of us. When you catch your mind drifting to the darker parts of this world, focus on things that make you feel light instead: families playing at the park, a stranger smiling at you, or the person who complimented you on your outfit. The world is only as dark as we make it out to be.
- LAUGH AND THE WORLD LAFFS WITH YOU CRY – YOUR OWN YOUR OWN!
According to a recent study, children laugh 200 times a day while the average adult only laughs 4. If you haven’t laughed yet today, spend some quality time with your kids, watch funny videos, or do something silly with friends. The world presents plenty of opportunities to laugh, we just must take them!
- DO A PEOPLE AND TELECOMMUNCATIONS DETOX.
Go to a sacred space in the woods or on the coastline where you feel peaceful and closest to the stillness all around you. Turn off your phone for a while, and just meditate, go within, and embrace some solitude. Avoid over-thinking, center yourself, and get away from all of life’s responsibilities for a while.
- ASK FOR MORE HUGS.
If you must, wear a free hugs t-shirt and offer people a warm embrace as they walk into the mall or local grocery store. This will help spread the love revolution and increase your positive energy as well; we may have a lot of violence in the world, but a hug can instantly remind us of our true loving nature.
- REMEMBER TO EAT YOUR VEGETABLES.
Your body is your temple, and it’s vital that you keep it healthy and strong so that it can serve as your haven when life starts to throw you curve balls. If you do encounter negative energy, eating whole, raw, plant-based foods will nourish your body and help you keep calm within the storm.
In a world of people with advice on how to live better, try to make it a self-paced journey. In the immortal words of the great physician, Dr. James Brown, “Get ‘up’ offa that thing and dance, and you’ll feel better!”