Last week I shared with you some insights I learned from watching a video seminar by psychologist Dr. Kateri McRae on how we can be more positive, be at peace, and be able to enjoy life more. 

In this column, I would like to continue McRae’s insights and to add some positive aspects that Bishop Shelton Fabre presented to the priests at a virtual convocation. 

Positive people possess these five qualities in their lives: Order, Self-Awareness, Self-Possession, Healthy Relationships and Accountability. Let us look at each of these.

Order: Positive people have a certain balance in their lives. They are not “all over the place.” They take care of all the aspects of their lives – physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. They have direction and purpose and are focused on getting there. They are authentic persons.

Self-Awareness: Self-Awareness is the ability to stop and reflect on what is going on inside us. What is happening in our lives right now? What is driving us to do what we do? What are our dreams and dashing hopes? We need to get in touch with our emotions so we can deal with them. 

Self-Possession: Self-Possessed persons are calm, confident and in control of their emotions. They are self-assured, positive; they have their lives together. When one of these devastating situations arise: Stress, Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (remember SHALT), they stop to consider what is going on inside. Instead of looking for “comfort cravings” to soothe their plight, they ask themselves “what do I really need right now,” and “what is the best way to relieve this situation?”

Healthy Relationships: Positive people have friends with whom they can share their deepest thoughts, feelings, and ambitions; they can receive feedback in a constructive way. These friends are “truth tellers” who are not afraid to express themselves about anything – good or bad.

Accountability: Positive people accept responsibility for their actions whether they are personal or public. All positive individuals must be accountable for their actions and behaviors whether they are good or bad. Accountable also means admitting we have made mistakes.

Our positive emotions broaden our thought-action capabilities. We can do more because we believe we can do more. In contrast, negative emotions can narrow our attention and memory. For example, the more we think we can change, the more we can.

Delayed gratification is very important. The ability to delay the impulse for an immediate reward to receive a more favorable one later is the definition of delayed gratification. An example would be giving up a pleasure trip to be able to put a down payment on a home. Studies have shown that the ability to delay reward is present in highly-positive and successful people.

Studies also show that those who practice delayed gratification had higher SAT scores, were more socially competent, had a higher degree of self-assuredness and self-esteem, had fewer conduct disorders, had lower impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity. These positive people were less likely to have substance abuse problems, to get divorced or to be overweight.

Positive people love what they do. They pour their hearts into whatever they love at every stage of life and they are not worried about fame or fortune. They are constantly challenging themselves to new skill-levels that coincide with their abilities to master their pursuits.

Positive people maintain a sense of wonder and of awe through a spirit of adventure and mindfulness. By practicing mindfulness (a keen awareness of what is), positive people have decreased anxiety, decreased depression, and decreased bodily pain. They live contented lives!

They know how to balance work, love, and play; they maintain a healthy relationship with the Almighty. They stay physically active throughout their lives. Beginning in mid-life, they make contributions to the well-being of future generations. 

Be a positive person! God is!

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