Sisyphus was once the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) in ancient times, known for his eccentricity, his trickiness, and his avarice. As punishment for his self-aggrandizing nature and deceitfulness, the gods punished him with the impossible task of pushing an immense boulder up a hill, only for it to roll down again once it had neared the top. And yet, each day, Sisyphus started anew, determined to get that rock up the hill, no matter what it took.
Life can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Sometimes, no matter what we try, things go wrong, and we are sent back to square one, forced to build ourselves up from the bottom once more. The tragedy of Sisyphus is the perfect metaphor for this seemingly never-ending cycle of disappointment and lack of pay-off. And while it is all too easy to feel defeated every time our boulder rolls back down the hill, we must also remember that – despite it all – Sisyphus never gave up.
Of course, life is not made up of Greek legends and tragedies. None of us are Sisyphus, or Prometheus, or Oedipus. But each of these classic literary figures – heroes, if you will – have some virtues about them which we would all do well to be reminded of from time to time. Sisyphus possessed a remarkable capacity for optimism, which compelled him to keep trying and to never give up. And that is something to admire.
If you would like to instill within yourself that same sense of optimism, then read on. In this article, we are going to highlight the numerous ways in which a positive outlook can benefit your mental, emotional, and even physical health.
First Things First…
Before we proceed, we know that maintaining positivity and optimism can be excruciatingly difficult, to say the least. The manifold ways in which stress can affect us can bring down the mood of even the most chipper of individuals.
That fact can be depressing in and of itself, but once you embrace and accept it, it becomes much easier to deal with. Simply put: stress is an unavoidable part of life. It affects everyone, at any time, without warning. Of course, there are ways in which you can mitigate its effects, but the fact remains that we have all felt the overwhelming pressures of stress at some point or another.
And that is okay.
You do not need to be a meditation master in order to control the impact stress can have on you. The first step is accepting that it can and will affect you at any time – from there, you will be able to deal with it so much better.
The Second Step is Simplicity
Take some time to internalize the idea of stress being a pervading element of your life. Once you feel comfortable enough, you can now start to implement some positive-thinking exercises and attitudes.
The first, and arguably the most crucial, of these, is understanding the power of simplicity. Incorporating simplicity into your life can help to remove blockages and help you to avoid senseless, unnecessary complications, and limitations.
These complications can come in many forms. You could be struggling with an important decision or feel overwhelmed by pressure.
The trick is to allow yourself to unwind. Many people go on walks to “clear their head” only for the solution to their problems to appear somewhere along the way. This is because these types of exercises – like walking, meditating, etc. – have a way of “resetting” you. And because of this, you should focus on incorporating some of these into your daily routine.
We cannot possibly cover all of these methods, so we suggest taking a look at this helpful guide to help you along on your way to achieving simplicity.
The Third Step is Mindfulness
We are sure that by now, you have no doubt already heard of “the power of mindfulness”, so we will not go on about it for too long. In essence, mindfulness means being present, being “in the moment”, and allowing yourself to experience things as they come without worrying about the future or lamenting over the past.
Of course, like anything, being mindful is easier said than done, but there are a couple of ways in which you can develop a mindful attitude. Meditation is arguably the most effective of these methods, and we would highly recommend that you give it a try.
You do not need to have a monk-like level of discipline and inner-peace (though that would certainly help). Start by spending a few minutes every day practicing meditation. Focus solely on your breathing, and if your mind begins to wander, do not be frustrated. It is natural. Instead, simply refocus it back to the task at hand.
Again, we do not have all the answers, but this guide definitely does.
How All of This Benefits You
Staying optimistic – thanks to the practice of mindfulness and the mindset of simplicity – can have numerous positive effects on you. For starters, you will be able to think far more clearly, as well as be able to refocus yourself when stress strikes.
Emotionally, this will help you to better cope with various emotional stressors and handle distressing situations far better than before.
The physical benefits stem directly from the mental and emotional ones. Think about it like this: a sore tooth can negatively impact your mental well-being, and while minor, it can be a stressor all on its own. Luckily, the opposite is true, as well. While you will not develop superhuman healing abilities, you will be able to work through your pain and continue doing what needs to be done.
We hope to have aided you at least somewhat on your journey towards optimism and a positive mindset. Always remember that stress can affect you at any time and that you should not beat yourself up if you cannot avoid it. Learn to live with life’s many pressures. Avert their impact and you will achieve happiness in no time at all.