SilverSneakers Master Trainer Sharlyn Green shares her strategies for staying positive—no matter the situation.
Fitness instructors always seem happy, upbeat, and ready to go. That’s no accident.
“People assume that every time the instructor gets up there in front of the class, they want to exercise, but that’s not always the case,” says Sharlyn Green, a SilverSneakers Master Trainer and a certified yoga teacher. “Sometimes we feel more up to it, and some days we have to push ourselves to get up there and exercise, just like everyone else. Our attitude sets the tone for the entire class, so we have to go in with our minds in the right place.”
And just like building muscle and boosting cardio, cultivating positivity and optimism is all about practice, she says. “Even if you don’t have a positive outlook right now, it’s something you can work at and improve.”
To get you started, here are four of Green’s must-follow tips for keeping your mental and emotional health just as strong as your physical health.
1. Practice Gratitude
“Every morning before I get out of bed, I think of one thing I’m grateful for,” says Green, who includes a gratitude meditation in many of her SilverSneakers LIVE mind-body classes. “Sometimes things go awesome and sometimes they don’t, but if I keep going back to that one thing in my mind that I’m grateful for, I always find joy.”
To start a gratitude practice, get out a pen and paper. Each day, write down one to three things for which you’re thankful. It could be your health, your friends and family, a cup of coffee, your pet, a good hair day, or sunny weather—anything.
2. Move Regularly
“Exercise is my biggest coping mechanism,” Green says. For her, that includes doing yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or taking really long walks. “It doesn’t have to be formal exercise. It can just be any form of movement. I feel better as I move more.”
For the most mental benefits from exercise, consistency is key. Try to include some form of intentional movement—a workout, a meditating walk, an energizing yoga flow, or even some simple stretches—in every day.
3. Make Time to Connect
“It’s easy to get busy and not connect with people, but it’s important to me to stay connected with others, like my friends and family,” she says. Right now, that means a lot of FaceTime and Zoom calls.
“I’m also really grateful for the connections I’m building through SilverSneakers LIVE classes,” she says. “Today, I had people from almost every state in my class—someone waiting for a blizzard in Connecticut and another enjoying the sunshine in Florida.”
Take advantage of technology to connect with friends, both old and new. Schedule an online game night with friends, video chat with your grandkids, or sign up for a virtual cooking class or exercise class.
4. Breathe in Mindfulness
“Often, people think that mindfulness is about clearing your mind, but it’s actually about focusing your mind on the present moment,” Green says. “When you’re in the present, you can’t worry about the future or ruminate about the past.”
To plug in to the present, Green recommends a two-minute belly breathing exercise. Place one hand on your stomach, and maximally inflate and deflate your abdomen by breathing in and out through your nose. Try to focus all of your attention on your breath.
“If after 30 seconds, you start thinking about your bills and grocery list, bring your mind back to your breath, and keep at it,” she says.
Take Your Favorite SilverSneakers Classes Online!
SilverSneakers members can access live fitness classes and wellness workshops through SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest schedule and RSVP for classes here.
Not a member? If you have a Medicare Plan, it may include SilverSneakers—at no additional cost. Check your eligibility instantly here.