If you read the subject line of my email, you might be asking, “What is a refuser?” According to the work of Clark Kegley (look up his journaling videos on YouTube) a refuser is someone who refuses to settle for what life dishes out; instead, a refuser really LIVES. Recently one of my positivity champions from EIS (thank you, Gina!) shared this concept with me and I love it! Not only does this message fall under cultivating optimism, which is an excellent exercise in practicing positivity, it involves journaling. Research shows that journaling improves cognitive functioning. It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses. It counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.
Back to Clark Kegley and the refusers. Kegley posits that we are just one set of actions away from what we want to achieve. He has a favorite number – 32,850. That is the number of days someone lives if they live to be 90 years old. He begins each year with a new journal and a new number. 90 minus his current age, multiplied by 365. For example, my 2020 journal would have the number 15,695 in it. That’s 90 – 47 (my age) = 43. And 43 multiplied by 365 = 15,695. That means I have 15,695 days left (if I live to 90) to make a difference, accomplish my goals, and live my best life!
Next, according to Kegley, is to look at the next 5, 10, 20 years of life and identify what I want to achieve by a certain time. For example, 2032 is when Aria will graduate from high school, in 2039 I’d like to retire, in 2048 my house will be paid off. This approach cultivates optimism. I’m planning based on major milestones and things I’d like to accomplish. When you can visualize something and write it down, your brain starts working to make it happen. You can’t be what you can’t see. Maybe this seems a little farfetched for some of you. I know, “the best laid plans…” Studies regularly show that optimists are more likely to maintain better physical health than pessimists, including a 50% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and greater survival rates when fighting cancer. Dr. Martin Seligman, psychologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed sports teams and found that the more optimistic teams created more positive synergy and performed better than the pessimistic ones.
So, I’m happy to join the refusers. Who’s with me? If you have a journaling tip or story to share, or a way you cultivate optimism, I’d love to hear it!