Several years ago I was in a very bad place in my life. I was always depresses and didn’t find joy in many things. I was often sick and spent most of my time in bed. I was not happy with myself and my life and it was obvious, but I never really knew how to fix it. I know I probably should have sought out professional help, and by all means I completely recommend that if you are struggling emotionally, but that wasn’t exactly an affordable option for me at the time.
I’m not sure what sparked up inside of me, but one day I simply decided that I was done living this way. There was no need to be in a constant state of unhappiness when there were other people in the world with similar or worse troubles living their lives fulfilling. I believe my exact words were, “I’m going to fix myself.”
Positivity is not about ignoring the bad things that happen in life or ignoring that we have negative emotions. Positivity, at least for me, is keeping a good attitude 90% of the time (everyone is entitled to an off day once in a while). Positivity is about not letting stress overcome you, acknowledging and appreciating small pleasures, and being aware how fortunate you are.
There are several things I do, both on a grand scale and on a day-to-day basis, to keep positivity in my life, but lets begin with positivity on a grand scale.
The first tip I can offer is to surround yourself with other like-minded positive individuals. If your friend group is a sad sack of Negative Nancys it absolutely makes sense that you would be too. I prefer to be around people who are chasing after their dreams and supporting me in my journey to reach mine. I want my friends to lift me out of the dumps on a bad day, not join me in sulking. All of this goes along with romantic relationships as well. If your partner is a downer and unsupportive, either invite them to begin a positive lifestyle with you or more on to someone who is better for you emotionally and spiritually. And, as much as I know this may upset some people, these rules go for your family too. You don’t have to cut your family members out of your life entirely (it’s often impossible anyway), but if they are not contributing positivity to your being then cut down your contact or ask them to evaluate their attitude.
Another thing I find helps me with positivity is surrounding myself with things that make me happy and I mean anything could really work for this – pictures, colorful stuff, fun trinkets. Anything that makes you smile or gives you a little giggle works. For me I find that I always need to decorate a space. Personalization makes me very happy. A very specific example would be that I have heart-shaped pink sticky notes, a Hello Kitty note pad, and One Direction pencils on my desk as work. Is that a little bit silly? Yes! But I absolutely love these things and every time I catch a glance of my Harry Styles pencil I can’t help but giggle. A little bit of personalization – in your cubicle, your car, your room – always makes you feel more comfortable.
My final overall tip for keeping positive is to maintain a mostly healthy diet. The foods and drinks we consume do effect the chemicals in our bodies. These chemical reactions can have important effects on our moods.If you don’t want to feel like crap, don’t eat crap. It’s just like the old saying, “You are what you eat.” With that said you also can’t stress yourself out trying to be a health nut 100% of the time. It’s also good for the soul to treat yourself once in a while. So, if your thing is pizza, then eat some once in a while, just don’t go crazy.
On a day-to-day basis there’s likely an unlimited number of things you can do to build a positive environment not only for yourself, but for others as well. I have four tips for how I like to be positive from day-to-day.
Give yourself a compliments every time you encounter a mirror throughout the day. I know its vain and terrible, but the fact is we all judge ourselves harshly. The best way to take the edge of the judgments and the focus off of the parts of ourselves we don’t care so much for is to begin to acknowledge the parts of ourselves that we think are rockin’. The compliments don’t need to be complex, but they do need to be genuine. Give yourself a compliment on your new shirt, or how pretty your eyes are, or your lovely cheek bones, or how you kicked butt with that impossible liquid eyeliner. I find that the self-complimenting technique is a best way for me to dig myself out of a rut.
The next tip goes along with the previous. Give compliments to other people. Once again they don’t need to be grand poetic gestures, but they do need to be genuine. If you are really having an impossible time making yourself feel good, then make someone else feel good. I promise you seeing the smiles that you helped cause is enough to put a smile on your own face.
Everyone knows that journaling helps to collect the feelings and emotions we may not want to discuss with others. But, journaling, at least for me, can often begin to feel like I’m whining on paper. Because of this I’ve changed the way in which I journal. I like to begin by getting out all my heartache, anger, or frustrations. Once I get all my feelings down on paper I let go of them and move on to detailing a few of the things that are going great in my life so that I don’t leave my journaling session on a negative note.
My final tip for day-to-day positivity is to always make me-time in your day. No matter how hectic your day is you need to have time to pamper yourself, even if it’s just 5 minutes. There are so many things you can do! Paint your nails, give yourself a lotioned hand massage, do a face mask, soak your feet, read a chapter in your current book, look at pictures of cats online. Whatever makes you happy, do it. If you have more than 5 minutes to pamper yourself then do all of it!
I know it’s hard to be happy or even content 24/7. Life happens. But, I promise if you keep a positive attitude about you it makes bouncing back so much easier. Let me know in the comments what you guys do to keep in good spirits.