Meaghan Murphy, Author of Your Fully Charged Life, on Going Into 2021 Proud of Your Accomplishments and Tips on Moving Forward with Positivity
As we entered into a new year (yay!), many of us are asking ourselves how, after one heck of a year and with the pandemic not really over, how do we move forward? And move towards a path with some positivity. We spoke with Meaghan B Murphy, the Editor and Chief of Woman’s Day Magazine and author of the new book (can be preordered now and is out 2/23/21) Your Fully Charged Life, which in a nutshell, shares her story and a guide to how you can work towards energy and happiness. And most importantly, how you can create your own opportunities.
As an editor myself, I have worked with and have known Meaghan for almost two decades (OMG, Meaghan?!). She has pepped talked me out of some low moments — sometimes in the first five minutes of a conversation.
I am excited about this book and personally working towards positive vibes and thankful for this busy mama taking the time to answer a few questions as we go into 2021!
First, why are you so happy?
I trained hard to live happy! The same way I lift weights to tone my biceps or lace up my sneakers to keep my heart strong, I consistently use science-backed strategies from my book Your Fully Charged Life to strengthen my optimism, resilience and positivity muscles. The good news is that anyone can live with an upbeat, can-do mindset and more YAY. I’m proof: My nickname was Grumpy as a kid!
It is a New Year when many of us make resolutions or rethink a direction of a particular part of our life yet we are (still) in the midst of a global pandemic. How can parents find the positive right now?
Every day, every hour, sometimes moment to moment, you can consciously choose to act in a positive way or look for the positive in situations. Making that choice gives you the energy to make more positive and energizing choices, fueling a cycle that keeps your batteries charged. Here’s an example: A few weeks ago we got the dreaded call that a family we had an outdoor dinner with tested positive for COVID. Immediately I went to the bad place as I stared at my children waiting for symptoms. I’m asthmatic. No doubt I’ll need to be hospitalized. There goes the private in-person school we’re paying for thanks to quarantine. And then I checked myself: What’s one positive action I can take? Elderberry smoothies! That led to earlier bedtimes and no alcohol (for me!) to boost immunity. By the end of the 14 days, we were COVID-free, I was down a few pounds and actually enjoying being back in our little bubble doing more puzzles. It just took that one tiny little action step to springboard me onward!
How can moms set up goals for the year?
First of all, I don’t think any of us need to hustle harder or chase a big dream, nor constantly strive for “growth” or some measure of success to find meaning, value and fulfillment in life right now. Most days, surviving is winning! So what if you made the goal to relax, take a deep breath and give yourself permission to pursue energy, positivity and well-being for the sake of feeling your best, within the context of the life you’re already living and the things you’re already doing: spending time with family and friends (together or socially distanced), going to work, raising a family, trying to be a good person and live a good, happy life. That’s enough. You’re enough.
How can one cultivate gratitude?
Having an attitude of gratitude is truly the secret to happiness. The easiest way to cultivate gratitude is to do what scientists would call actively prioritizing positivity. Don’t worry, that’s way easier than it sounds: Just take a hot second daily to recognize what’s good in and about your life and why it’s happenings. That’s it. I call it “finding the yay” and I ask myself and my kids at dinner or before bed: “What made you says YAY today?!” Sometimes it’s the fresh guac (the avocados were ripe!) on Taco Tuesday and other times it’s acing a spelling test. We’re essentially keeping an oral gratitude journal, which feels way more fun and less homework-y than an actual gratitude diary. I even started a @theyaylist Instagram account to virtually share the good.
This is a big one for so many of us, how do we learn to say ‘no’ more?
You have to be stingy with your yeses! The secret is really filling your days and spending your energy ONLY on those things that truly matter to you and give you energy back. It’s not about saying no and doing less, nor saying yes a lot; it’s saying YES to only more of what charges you. If you choose wisely — meaning you’re truthful with yourself about what really matters and gives you energy — you can reap the benefits of being active and busy without also feeling overwhelmed or drained or burned out by it all. I love this quote from Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist, mental health expert and author: “True mental self-care is not chocolate and spa days. It’s making choices each day that create a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.” Make your YESes matter so you don’t need the face mask!
Psst…Looking for positivity? Check out our post on 5 Moms Whose Words and Poems Inspire.