Your lifeboat just sprung a leak? Do you sometimes find yourself drowning in the waters of negativity? You may need to challenge those dark thoughts and ask yourself: “Is there a more positive way that I can view this situation?” One of the secrets to a more uplifting outlook is learning to ask yourself helpful questions. What are some of the negative influences in my life?

I know you’re hoping your ship comes in before your dock rots. So how are your eating and sleeping habits as of late? Trust me: It’s a heck of lot easier to think clearly when your belly is full and you’ve had a good night’s sleep. I know, you won’t sleep until you find a cure for insomnia. Invest in rest, sweet friends.

Me? I’m just waiting till midnight, so I can start my calorie count over again. You know how I cut carbs? With a pizza cutter. Oh, and thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories. One thing’s for sure. The truth doesn’t change based on your ability to stomach it.

Sorry, but the handle on your recliner chair does not count as an exercise machine. I actually think that tossing and turning at night should be considered exercise. You know it’s been said: “I’m 99% sure that no one would run marathons if they were not allowed to talk about running marathons.” No more excuses; do a quick work-out and find a friend who will hold you accountable.

Please try to be open-minded about criticism. Sure, you may not want to hear it; who does? But ask yourself: Is there something here that may actually help me? We have a lot more control over our feelings than we think. Granted we are not living inside of a Disney movie. The difference between those happy-go-lucky sorts and some of us is simply their deep underlying belief that they can withstand and overcome the challenges of life. We all know our triggers for sadness and anger. But do you know your triggers for happiness and joy?

Life can seem disordered, disheveled, even deranged at times. Instead of fighting that reality in your mind, accept it. Don’t waste your precious energy wishing and hoping you can change things that you simply cannot. Don’t allow your mind to wallow and dwell on the one bad thing that happened, or on everything that could possibly go wrong today. Conjure up all the pleasurable and precious things that we so easily take for granted. Slow down and savor the good times.

Your feelings don’t just happen to you. Believe it or not, you get to choose them. Choose happiness and don’t forget to keep choosing it every day. Believe me, the lighter your heart and spirit, the more weight you can actually carry.

Some people need drama like oxygen. Stay happy. It will take their breath away. Be aware of “still.” I’m “still” broke. I’m “still” miserable. Do you spend more time thinking about what may go wrong, or what may go right? Be honest. You can’t go wrong by doing what is right.

Make a “To do” list. But make a “Not to do” list, as well. Out of the 60,000 thoughts you had today, how many were the same as yesterday? Nothing to be grateful for this morning? Check your pulse. How many times have you said: “I love you” this very day? Try to see the best in people, even if you have to look awfully hard.

What small step can you take right now to move forward? It’s too big for you? Take a smaller one. Make it a baby step if you need to. Success is a staircase, my friends, not a doorway. Feel strange? No worries. Remember what Dr. Seuss said: You have to be odd to be Number One.

Just because your path may be different from someone else’s does not mean you are lost. But do challenge your thoughts and opinions. How can I test if this idea is valid? Are there exceptions? Is there a missing piece to this puzzle?

How’s your posture? You slouching again? Try some Neckfix. Shoulders back, chin up, please. Stretch those arms out for a few minutes. Don’t you feel more powerful already? Your phone’s low battery warning is the only warning you take seriously? Well, we humans don’t come with batteries, my friends, so please make sure you know when it’s time to recharge. Remember, you are not a helpless passenger in your life. You are driving the car. Speaking of driving; if a Prius drifts, is it called the electric slide? Heh.

Say some “thank yous” in your own head. Thank you for the bright sunshine today, my morning coffee, the friendly cashier. By the way, if you ever hear me order Decaf coffee, I’ve been kidnapped, and I’m trying to signal you.

Most people simply have to pass failure on the way to success, sweet friends. So go stand where it’s shining, and I’ll bet you will see a little light.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at