The metaphorical question, “Is your glass half full or half empty?” gets at whether one is an optimist or a pessimist. The question by itself says nothing about how one keeps their glass full. (More)

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I have developed some personal strategies for keeping my glass on the full side. I share them realizing that your mileage may vary.

1. Turn off the ‘news’ at least periodically. Most of the time the ‘news’ exists to generate conflict or fear. Neither of those add to my optimism quotient. In most cases there is nothing I can do about it anyway and feeling powerless is not the best way to retain optimism. Too often the ‘news’ is just an echo chamber for the latest distraction from the right wing. I give you the Obama handshake with Castro as the latest example.

2. Take the long view. The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act represents change that had been attempted for almost 100 years. It was 1/6th of the U.S. economy. It wasn’t going to be easily implemented even without the web site issues. It isn’t perfect but it is progress. The long view says we can improve it over time. Reacting to every horror story, many of them untrue is a great way to drain my glass.

3. Practice persistence. Try, try and try again. Maybe don’t try the same method that just failed but try something else. Regarding health care, if the website isn’t working, try the telephone. Reacting to horror stories without information is a waste of energy.

4. Make a list. When I have a burst of anxiety after a bit of spinning I resort to making a list. If I see issues written down, they often seem more manageable. I can see which ones would be easy to address and which ones will take longer. Being able to knock a couple items off the list fills my glass and puts things into perspective.

5. Join the Democratic Party. Activism is one of the best ways to fill your glass. You’ll meet great people who share your values and are trying to make change happen. It gives me hope.

6. Help someone else. I just look around and count my blessings. Someone will appear in my looking around that can use my help. You may work at a local food pantry or buy a bag of groceries for your food shelf for a family in need. Someone may need a ride. Some charity in your community could use a volunteer.

7. Laugh. If laughing at politics does it for you, ignore #1 and turn the news back on. There is a certain entertainment value there most days. If I have the news off, I can always laugh at myself and wonder why I thought x, y, or z was a good idea. I have had some spectacularly bad ideas.

If I don’t tend to keeping my glass full, evaporation will get me every time.