Turn that Frown Upside Down


One of the things I have tried to do during retirement transition is to stay positive about the changes happening.   I have to admit, I am more a pessimist by nature and yes, I defiantly have RBF (for those new to that term….resting bitch face).


During my work career, my pessimism showed up in my great critical thinking skills. I could quickly see what might be wrong with a model, a prototype, or an idea and find ways to make it better/stronger.   I could think three steps forward and avoid project pitfalls. I always expected the best of myself and of others.  I would “tell it like it is” which was usually hard-hitting.   Of course, I had a manager who told me I would “never be happy” because I always saw the issues with things. And I’ve often been told the way to be happier is to just lower my expectations.


So in retirement, I’ve decided to (try &) be a glass-half-full girl.   All the research indicates that being positive is just better – for you and for those around you.   One of my seven mantras from day one of retirement was “keep a positive attitude”!


Since this a learning curve, I am using a number of tools to help me be positive:

  • Practice gratitude. I regularly list in my journal what I am grateful for. I did a list of 10 for Thanksgiving and then again 10 for the New Year.   Perhaps I should make it a weekly topic – like Janis’s blog over at retirementallychallenged and her Gratitude-Tuesday.
  • Jolts of Joy.   Way back I created a 31 jolts of joy list – little things that just bring a smile to my face – one for each day of the month.   I’ve brought many of those elements into my daily life.  It’s little things – like getting new, fluffy, mint green towels for the bathroom.  Every time I step out of the shower, they bring a smile to my face!  One woman I met had pink champagne on her list. Now that is her “go-to” drink because, why not!
  • I have created positive mantras for myself, and I use them daily.  Everything from “I am being joyfully creative” to “I am balanced with less work, more play”.   I even gave myself a new morning coffee mug which states “Find Joy in Each Day”.
  • Reframing Life Satisfaction. During my Retirement Options Life Coach training, I personally scored low on life satisfaction. What I realized is I am still being glass-half-empty here. I think I am low in life satisfaction because I am (still) struggling with articulating my Life Purpose!   Luckily, the training has a great exercise to help you more deeply understand life satisfaction. If I look at all the elements of life – Career/Work, Family Life/Lifestyle, Relationship & Connections, Health & Wellness, Self Development, and Leisure Diversions – in every one of them I am quite satisfied.   I either have a plan in activation, or it’s in the 2-3 year plan timing.   This deeper analysis helped me reframe life satisfaction away from just a life purpose articulation.  And now I am actively saying, I am satisfied with my life today!
  • Emotion Monitoring.  At a seminar recently, I got a list of emotions, repurposed from Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. (Yes, I bought the book to read more!)   This list was encouraged to be used to recognize your emotions throughout the day. I’ve been able to identify when my emotions are more negative – discouragement, unworthiness and doubt seem to be my most dominant negatives. Which comes back to thinking of some additional affirmations I’ve added to my day – it’s OK to be a beginner.  Believe in yourself.  And I to look to my jolts of joy list for inspiration in the moment!

Am I the most positive person out there? I don’t think I will ever radiate positivity like some people I know do.   But I am curtailing some of my innate pessimistic thinking.  And life is definitely more enjoyable this way.

What do you do to stay positive?


Picture credit: Pixabay

15 thoughts on “Turn that Frown Upside Down

  1. Yes Pat, I’ve had to do a major change in attitude since my midlife crisis hit and my life went to shit. I changed my attitude about love first and that led to finally finding the love of my life at age 49. He helps me with my attitude a lot. Feeling so loved and appreciated can really make a difference!


  2. I, too, have a RBF – although I’m generally pretty positive. I sometimes have to remember to put on a happy face when I’m actually just lost in my thoughts. Thanks for the shout out about my GratiTuesday posts… you are welcome to join in! Maybe we can start a trend and have all of us link up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wish I knew how to do a real link to your page. It was an element in Blogging 101 I just could not grasp. Maybe I will try for a GratiTuesday. I’ve never been at the beginning of a trend….I always said if I knew about something, it wasn’t trendy anymore!


  3. I had never heard the term RBF!! I love it! My outlook is usually very positive. I am usually the Susie Sunshine, overly optimistic one, in the family but I do have a face that, in repose, is not especially happy. Now I know what to call it!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, as I told Lynn…steal away. Maybe you can both share your lists so I can steal back some ideas. My theme for this year is Joy and I am truly trying to find joy in each day. Today I made home-made spaghetti sauce … The non-cook that I am! So fun.


  4. Lynn, I wrote a blog post on the jolts of joy way back which I think had a bunch of mine listed…if not all 31! I am a huge believer of steal and reapply! I too collect quotes…I love words! You need to blog your favorite inspirational quotes…so I can steal them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful, joyful post, Pat. Had to LOL – I think my wife would tell you I have my own version of the “RBF.” My public face is usually optimistic and smiley, but in my private and personal moments the self-critical darkness can take over. Over the years I have found relaxation techniques to be helpful, both for relaxing body and mind. Works by contemplatives like Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God), Thomas Merton (Contemplative Prayer), and Thich Nhat Hanh (Miracle of Mindfulness) have been helpful. Most recently, a friend directed me to Headspace, one of many apps available for guided meditation, mindfulness or relaxation – pick your most comfortable term. At the core is what you refer to as emotion monitoring, as well as increased awareness of thought and body.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John for your added insights. This is the second reference to Headspace in 2 days…the universe is telling me something! I will need to check it out. I’ve just begun an exploration into spirituality too, so I’m noting those book titles on my future reading list…you know I am an avid reader when I get into a topic!


  6. Not gonna lie here – I’m going to steal that Jolts of Joy Idea! What a great way to put a lift in your spirits when you’re feeling crappy! I have a digital picture frame on my desk. Instead of having photos on it, I save positive quotes, sayings, etc., then transfer them on to the SD card for the frame, and these little positive pictures scroll through about every minute. I’ll be adding “Jolts of Joy” and positive mantras to the mix!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah, I’m still a novice blogger…my reply to you went to the full blog post. So if you have it set to see reply, you wouldn’t see it…and I gave you a possible task! Let’s see where this reply goes!


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