With the Easter long weekend fast approaching and, hopefully, a well-earned break for busy business owners, it’s the ideal time to practice some active optimism, writes Victor Perton, Chief Optimism Officer at The Centre for Optimism.
As Catholic bishop Arthur Serratelli said, “Easter morning is the birth of Christian optimism.”
The Episcopal bishops Sloan and Marray wrote, “The resurrection joy is the gift to the world of new life; life conquers death and that the love of God is freely gifted to us in a spirit of renewed hope and optimism.”
This was also well expressed by Uniting Church minister the Reverend Ray Atkinson who wrote, “We are optimistic because we look at Him and see the final pattern. To be a Christian means to be an optimist because we know what happened on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion. We know that Jesus’ leap of faith was not in vain, as God raised him up. He trusted enough to outstare the darkness, to wait upon the resurrection of the third day, not to try to create his own resurrection, but to wait upon the resurrection of God.”
Orthodox archbishop Chrysostomos said, “The hopeful message of the resurrection of Christ comes to drive out from our hearts the heavy winter of life’s trials and to bring the coveted spring; to dispel the clouds of pessimism and to inspire us with the messages of optimism for the victory of life over death.”
The fact that death has been conquered by Jesus for Christians should always leave us optimistic about life.
David Burt, Premier of Bermuda wrote, “Easter is the most significant season of the Christian church: a time of renewed hope and optimism, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.”
In one of his sermons, Why I am an optimist, the American evangelist Billy Graham quoted St Peter: “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Billy Graham went on to say, “I am an optimist not because I blindly hope – all evidence to the contrary – that somehow everything will work out all right. Nor am I an optimist because I believe in man’s unlimited ability to solve his problems. I am an optimist ultimately because I believe in God.”
Referring to the same passages, Australian Salvation Army leaders Floyd and Tracy Tidd said Paul reminded the believers in Ephesus that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is the power available to us who believe. It is a power that enables us to live a life of joy, victory, poise, buoyancy and optimism.
There are some who reject optimism in favour of hope. I don’t believe you have to make that choice – the spiritual life and faith enhance optimism and, for me, the Easter lesson of Christ’s death and resurrection is one of hope and optimism.
Optimism exercises at Easter
Meditation and prayer: There is good evidence to show that meditation and, in particular, compassion meditation enhances your optimism and happiness. A prayer is a form of meditation so this is a good time to meditate and pray on the messages of Easter.
Gratitude: Expressing gratitude is a wonderful way to make you and others happy and optimistic. As we gather with family for the Easter celebrations, there’s the perfect opportunity to express thanks for the hospitality of the day and for memories of good times past. A message to those far away is a great idea too.
Singing: Some of the most beautiful music ever written was composed for Easter. Those going to church will have the opportunity to sing, so take the opportunity and sing with vigour. Sing to yourself or sing with others!
Walk and take some deep breaths: Walking in company or on your own is another good way to enhance your feeling of wellbeing and optimism. While on that walk, make sure to take some deep, slow breaths and fill your lungs with the fresh air of Easter, whether your Easter is in spring or autumn.
Use positive language: Don’t just ask, “How are you?” Ask people, “What’s the best thing happening for you?” or whatever variation feels natural for you.
Ask, “What makes you optimistic?”
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