On June 21st, people from all over the world will took part in Optimism Day. This day originated in Croatia in 2019, but all are welcome to participate as it has spread across the globe. At its simplest form, Optimism Day is all about tuning out the stress of the outside world and focusing on exuding positivity and hope. It might sound cheesy, but did you know optimism has real health benefits?
According to an article from Heart and Stroke, people who practice optimism cope better with stress than people with a pessimistic attitude and recover from surgery faster. The same article states, “A review of 15 studies with over 200,000 participants found a 35% lower chance of getting heart disease and a 14% lower chance of early death in people who were optimists.”
With that in mind, here are four ways to celebrate optimism every day:
Have a dance party
Put on a catchy playlist and it won’t be long before everyone in your family is grinning from ear to ear! Upbeat music releases dopamine, a chemical known to improve moods and reduce anxiety. You don’t need to go crazy to have a good time (a simple sashay around the kitchen will do), but why not make the most of it? Ideas for a rockin’ dance party include turning on twinkle lights or a disco ball, changing into a fun outfit, creating an official dance floor, and pre-selecting your music selection. Consider bopping to oldies, getting down to popular wedding hits, shuffling to a line dance, or belting out Disney songs. If you have kids, get them involved in selecting the playlist to ensure that everyone has a good time.
Make a donation
One great way to embrace positivity is to give to people or animals in need. Being generous is not only appreciated by the recipient, but it also causes a reaction in the brain that releases several chemicals relating to happiness! Whether you have $10 or $1000 to donate, your dollars can make a difference. Check out this post from Consumer Reports to see suggestions for highly-rated charities (meaning the money you send will actually be going to the cause you care about).
Gather with loved ones
Now that many counties are loosening up on COVID-19 related guidelines, more and more people are reconnecting with their family members and closest friends. Everyone is moving at their own pace, and we encourage you to do what you think is best for your family. An article from Psychology Today says people are happier when they’re interacting with others, whether they’re prone to introversion or extraversion.
If you’re comfortable seeing a small group of people, consider inviting them over on Optimism Day. Enjoy a bonfire outside or watch a projected movie in the backyard. If you’re still staying safe at home and only seeing immediate family members, you can still enjoy quality time together. Play a board game, go for a drive, or have a cooking competition! It doesn’t quite matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it together!
Take a day off social media
If you use your technology to connect with others, you don’t need to completely give it up on Optimism Day. But, try sticking to video calls and texts, and give your social media platforms a rest. Having constant access to people’s opinions and disagreements is a recipe for stress! One study showed that the majority of people polled about social media agreed that taking a break now and then improved their mental health. Try moving your apps to a folder to keep yourself from clicking on them out of habit. If you find yourself tempted to log on, text a friend an encouraging note instead!
Which of these would bring you the most joy on Optimism Day? We hope you have a wonderful time embracing this day of positivity!