Kim Duban, Westinghouse Supplier Diversity Program manager, has an enviable reputation. “I’ve been called sunshine,” she says. “And I’ve been told many times that I am a positive person. People ask, ‘what do you do to stay so positive?’”
It’s not a surprising question. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that results from an array of studies have found well-being associated with, among other things:
- Self-perceived health
- Healthy behaviors
- Social connectedness
- Mental and physical illness
But in our stressful, hyper-stimulated, high-demand society, a sense of well-being does not come naturally. “It’s easy to go down a negative path,” Duban says. “I’m just like everybody else. But I’m dedicated and focused on being careful on what enters my world.”
Duban has some insight into maintaining a sunny disposition in the face of distractions and stress at home and the office.
Recognize Your Gratitude
For starters, Duban advises to stop and recognize everything you are grateful for — even the small things. She says each of these items are gifts to you and collectively, they outweigh the negative.
“I worked in Brazil for six months,” she says. “Each morning you wake up and see if you have hot water. That hot water was a gift. The other night I was sitting outside with my husband. The firefly display was spectacular. That is a gift.”
Once you train yourself to notice gifts, you become better at finding more of them. When you spend time focusing on the gifts instead of the negatives, it makes a difference in your thoughts.
Find Your Passion
Find something that inspires you. It can be a creative activity such as knitting, art, crafts or crochet. Perhaps you love animals or outdoor activities. Maybe training for races is your thing. Whatever fuels your passion, find it within yourself and spend time on it. Once you know what you truly love, you can make it social.
Aura of Positivity
One way to surround yourself with positive people is to find a group with similar interests. However, that group must pass what Duban calls “the positivity test.” This is making sure the group members are all moving towards a similar purpose doing good things.
Take a running group, for example. Participants may have varying distance and training targets. But the group is sharing a love of running and movement while smiling and making progress toward shared goals of improved health and run times.
“You have to be careful who you’re around,” Duban says. “They will drag you to where they are. You want that direction to be up not down.”
Handle Your Stress
Let’s be crystal clear about this: Handling your stress is not synonymous with sucking it up and ignoring your anxiety. What it means is that you need to put effort and awareness in self-care throughout the day. Join a gym and work your anxiety out through exercise. Take hourly breaks from your computer throughout your day and regulate your use of social media.
Find Your Faith
Duban derives tremendous strength in her faith in God. She is active in her church, the Allegheny Center Alliance Church, where she is part of the ministry and choir. Her daily routines are structured with activities that keep her focused on God. She and her husband, Bill, begin each day by reading devotional texts together and praying.
“It gets our day off on the right foot,” she says. “We pray for what we are going through, difficulties we anticipate. And we also do this when we are being successful.”
Of course, faith comes in many forms. You may find calm and reverence in the natural world, through meditation or other forms of healthy worship. Duban describes faith as your armor to resist the things against you.
Duban is thoughtful. “It takes a certain amount of concentration and dedication to put your burden on faith,” she says. “I know my shortcomings. For me, I give them to God.”
Her last piece of wisdom: “Make sure to laugh a lot!”