*Guest Post by Heather.*
As we head into the new year, everyone has the best of intentions for “new year, new me”. I disagree with this philosophy. Most of the time there isn’t anything wrong with the “you” from the past year. If you look back at all the things you accomplished, there is a lot to be proud of…. heck you made it through the year, that’s an accomplishment!! A better intention for the new year is a new mindset. Focusing on all the things that can be improved without putting yourself down. Being a military spouse is all the more reason to have a positive mindset.
A positive mindset, what does that even mean?
A positive mindset encompasses the tools we can use to have a healthy optimistic outlook on life. It helps us cope better with the everyday stresses that arise. We all know how being a military spouse adds to the everyday stresses such as; those last-minute TDY trips, 6 month-long or more deployments, moves, friends, politics, etc.
There are so many tools available to have a positive mindset, here are my favorites and some science to back them up:
Journaling and Gratitude
Focusing on the good things in life has a profound effect. It has been proven that expressing gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation improves mental, physical and relational wellbeing.
Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. In addition grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. There is so much power and release in getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Good thoughts can become great thoughts and inspire action. Bad thoughts can be released, negative thought patterns changed and re-written.
Meditation is one of my favorite ways to keep up those positive vibes. I enjoy guided meditations and use the Insight Timer app. The benefits of meditation include reducing anxiety and stress, feeling calmer and more balanced, and increased energy.
A review study in 2014 at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good.
You can search for any type of meditation based on how you are feeling that day…. Feeling stressed, search for a calming meditation, feeling anxious, search for one on anxiety. I have yet to find a meditation for when the military is making you crazy, but maybe that is my next creation.
This is one of the best coping mechanisms available. There is no better way to get out of your head then to exercise. Get those endorphins flowing. Get the frustrations out. Clarity usually hits me when I go for a run and life gets put into perspective. If you do not feel like doing a complete workout then a dance party will suffice. Preferably to 90s hip hop. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.  It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you are shaking your groove thing and a sweet dance party is a guaranteed way to keep the vibes up.
Your vibe attracts your tribe. Find the people in your life that light you up and make you happy, those that support you, encourage you and empower you. Being a military spouse can be challenging and finding others in the community who truly understand and can listen, makes a huge difference. Often, we aren’t looking for a solution, we are just looking for someone to say I hear you. When you find the people who hear you and see you for you, stay close to them. A Harvard study examining the lives of almost 3,000 people found that those who gather together to go out to dinner, play cards, go on day trips, vacation with friends, go to the movies… outlive their reclusive peers by an average of two-and-a-half years. Finding your tribe is not only fun, it can also save your life! 
Using a variety of these strategies (or all of them) on a regular basis can raise your vibes, keep that positive mindset and help you handle whatever life throws at you (and let’s be real-a lot will be thrown your way as a military spouse) , but you’ve got this!
© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2019.
Heather is a mom of two, bonus mom of three and a military wife. She enjoys running and traveling. She is currently working on a deployment gratitude journal to be released later this year. Heather enjoys helping others realize their value through soulful, spiritual practice. She knows firsthand what loss, grief and generalized un-fulfillment is and her passion is to guide and empower others to discover their power within. She does this through hosting workshops, one-on-one guidance, and by writing about healing, self-reflection, mindset and oneness.
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