Do you have a favorite phrase or mantra that helps get you through the day? I remember an episode of “Seinfeld” where George Costanza’s father invoked the phrase, “Serenity now!” several times a day during stressful situations. He was always yelling the words, so I don’t think he understood the concept of serenity.

My family was not big on positive phrases and affirmations. The only phrase I remember my dad saying to me when I was a kid was, “Straighten up and fly right!” but he was referring to my posture. As a young adult, I became aware of those classic sayings—“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” and “See the glass as half full, not half empty.”

Self-help books are big business offering platitudes and advice for all of our modern-day problems. When I see an interesting quote or phrase, I like to write it down or cut it out of a magazine and keep it on my desk. Some of my favorites include “Go where you are celebrated!” “Do what you love and the money will follow” and “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

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Another positive quote that I have on my desk is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Positive mantras can come from unusual places. Watching a segment of the show, “Her Big Idea,” about women business owners in New York, one business owner said that when she and her partner discuss ideas or practices that did not work well they encourage each other by saying “KMF” (Keep Moving Forward).

I shared the KMF concept with my neighbor the other day on our 2-mile walk and talk. Our daily walks have so many benefits. We are exercising outdoors, being social, discussing current events, recommending books, getting feedback on business ideas, personal issues and random thoughts that pop into our heads.

Another phrase that intrigued me recently is attributed to an Arab proverb, “When danger approaches, sing to it.” That is a lovely call to bravery and courage in the face of darkness.

Each night before I drift off to sleep, I am thankful for all of the positive things that I have experienced during the day. I am grateful to still be able to talk with my parents, a sunny day, driving safely, a new writing class opportunity, walking with my neighbor, catching up with friends on the phone, publishing a new article, eating chocolate ice cream, meeting new students, reading a good book, and feeling healthy. I acknowledge the small things, as our daily lives are made up of many positives big and small.

You may not know this, but I think Cross River is a hub of positivity. If you are feeling down or woke up on the wrong side of the bed, just drive over to Cross River.

First, stop into the Shell Station where you will be greeted by the ever-cheerful Adalberto who encourages you to “Create a nice day!” Next, stop by the Cross River Post Office, where people actually hold the door open for you. Follow that with a visit to Chase Bank, where you will be welcomed with smiles and friendly chit-chat about your weekend plans.

Finally, take a few laps around the John Jay track. For years, I used to walk around this track with a friend very early in the morning before work or after work by myself. The track was not purple back then when I did my regular laps. The exercise—walking or running—and the time alone with your thoughts are positive additions to any day. After this positivity pit stop, you will be able to hop back into your car with a feeling of well-being, possibly even serenity!

Kim Kovach makes writing a college application essay a positive experience. If a writing coach can make your high school student’s life less stressful, please visit