There are moments in everyone’s life when your mindset is put to the test. Whether that comes from the daily stress of work deadlines and a hectic family schedule or something more significant, your outlook makes a big difference in how you handle life’s challenges.
For me, the biggest test came on September 10, 2012, when my 16-year-old son, Grant, was the victim of a horrific hit-and-run accident. His injuries were so severe that doctors told us to let him go. We decided to fight for his life instead, beginning months in the pediatric ICU, multiple major surgeries, and lengthy recovery from a serious traumatic brain injury.
Even though we were facing the hardest time of our lives, it was also never more important to stay positive and hopeful. I believe you get what you expect, and I knew it was vital to my son's survival (and my own!) that I not get mired in the what-if's or focus on the negative.
Life doesn’t get easier: you get stronger.
During that time, I came up with a simple routine to stay positive that still serves me today. I’ve seen this same quick, easy tactic work for my weight loss clients and in my business coaching practice, and it comes down to three steps:
1. Stay in gratitude.
I start every morning by journaling about what I’m grateful for. You can begin by listing just three things. No matter how difficult your circumstances, there’s always something to be thankful for, and studies prove that people who show gratitude feel happier and healthier.
2. Compliment others.
The best way to forget your own problems is to be kind to someone else! If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, send your bestie a text letting her know how much she means to you or drop a friendly note in your neighbor’s mailbox. Research shows that lifting others up will always lift you up too!
3. Count your wins.
I finish every night by writing down my wins for the day. When Grant was in the hospital, just him wiggling his fingers or looking in my direction counted as a miracle! Focusing on the little wins we experienced every day helped us stay strong during his long recovery. There’s no better way to fall asleep than focused on all that went right in your day.
Attitude is everything! I’m blessed to say that my son—who surgeons told us would never wake up, speak, or walk again—is now a healthy, active young man. However, our journey together taught me that life doesn’t get easier: you get stronger. Staying positive is one way you can keep the kind of resilient mindset that will see you through all of life’s challenges.
The inspirational story of JJ and her family’s journey is told in full in her new book Miracle Mindset.
JJ Virgin, CNS, BCHN, is a celebrity nutrition and fitness expert who helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food intolerance. A certified nutrition specialist, board certified Holistic Nutritionist, and Certified Exercise Physiologist, she is the author of the New York Times best-sellers The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days and The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight and Feel Better Fast.