It’s been pretty easy to feel depressed over the last 18 months. The seemingly endless negative experiences of the Covid 19 pandemic, the climate crisis and war have made it hard to stay buoyant and keep a positive mind. Our loss of freedom, health or even loved ones means that nobody could blame one for struggling to have a positive attitude!
But, have you ever considered that positivity is in fact, a daily choice?
“Write it on your heart, that every day is the best day in the year”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Positivity has been linked to everything from better heart health, boosted immunity, improved social skills and even enabling better learning ability. Positive thinking can actually even change the structure of your brain, so in this lifestyle blog, we’re channelling positivity straight to you, with plenty of great ideas to get you thinking positive for good!
What is Positive Thinking?
We have all met those people who radiate positive energy – they smile and laugh easily, seem able listen without prejudice, and get along with anyone and everyone. As they take it all in their stride, they just seem to enjoy life on an almost authentic level.
So what’s their secret?
To shed some light, the Oxford dictionary definition of positivity is
“The practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude”
But how do you do that? Are people just born like that? Do they come from super positive families where everyone is just… happy?
Positive Thoughts vs Negative Thoughts
A negative thinker is someone who just can’t seem to look on the bright side. Forever seeing the bad, they predict doom and gloom and frankly, can feel like a real energy drain.
Sometimes negativity has an underlying cause such as anxiety or depression, but sometimes it’s simply become habitual.
SIGNS THAT YOU’VE BECOME A NEGATIVE THINKER
- Always anticipating the worst
- Looking for problems
- Worrying to the point where it fear dominates all your thoughts and feelings
- Repeatedly going over the past, feeling deep regret or shame and dwelling on failures and mistakes
- Being unable to complete a conversation without bad mouthing somebody or something
- Irritable and snappy with frown lines and always tense
BY CONTRAST A POSITIVE THINKER WILL:
- Be optimistic about the future and look forward to it
- Be concerned about present issues but keep a balanced mindset
- Look for solutions to problems
- Learn from the past and commit to being better as a result
- Singing the praises of people and sharing good news
- Smile and laugh a lot
Abraham Lincoln pretty much summed it up when he said
“Folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be”
The truth is, a positive mindset, is a specific, mindful choice that we all make, each and every day. Life by its very nature just isn’t perfect but, isn’t that a part of the ride? We are here to experience the lot, good bad and ugly and it all has something to teach us.
When faced with the same set of problems, positive and negative thinkers might handle it in a completely different way.
Accepting that wherever you are – it is what it is – however painful and awful, is part of being able to let go of negativity. Positivity is the key for a positive mental attitude.
I suppose the real question is; can we choose to be a person with a positive attitude, who grows to be better in spite of external influence in our lives?
Positive Thinking Tips
“Today is a good day to have a good day”
Remember, we can choose how we feel about everything, but that’s easier said than done!
EASY WINS TO BECOME MORE POSITIVE
Starting small with daily positivity means micro changes that one can easily start sprinkling into our lives. Remember, it all counts towards your goal of being happier.
Here are some easy peasy ideas to start you off:
- Looking up quotes on positivity
- Reading positive thinking books and articles
- Listen to positivity podcasts
- Make a positivity jar to store small notes on happy memories or experiences, to enjoy at the end of each year
- Downloading positivity apps, for morning positivity in the form of positive thinking meditation or power positivity quotes
- Clear out things you no longer need and give them away
- Grow a plant from seed
- Checking negative thoughts
For instance; instead of seeing a grey rainy day, imagine welly wearing toddlers splashing in puddles, or how the garden will get a good watering, or that it’s good we have such a plentiful water source.
A positive mind has the power to transform almost any situation.
MEDIUM DIFFICULTY POSITIVITY CHALLENGES:
Changing Your Media Influences
If your social media news feed or choice of television programs are filled with negative stories about abuse, war, sadness or the demise of the planet, then it’s going to be difficult to feel positively about the world.
Consider what you’re consuming and subjecting yourself to every day.
Could you remove things that you realise make you feel negatively and subscribe to more positive influences or channels?
Seeing Negative Friends & Family Members Less
If you have a friend or family member that always drags you down by moaning about their lives and problems then maybe it’s time to widen that gap between visits!
Seeing Positive Friends & Family Members More!
Now think of a person you enjoy and love to spend more time with, because they always seem to lift and inspire you? Book them in the diary more often, starting from now!
Try Something New Every Month!
Pushing yourself to experiment is good for the soul and will exhilarate you!
Buy a different type of food you’ve never tried before. Or book something new that you’ve never done before!
Becoming a yes person, means to open doors to new experiences that will help shape and grow you.
See where the experience takes you – you never know, it could be the best thing you’ve ever tried or done!
Simply by smiling your brain releases four chemicals – Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. Once you get a hit of dopamine (the happy hormone) you want more and so you smile more and so on!
Do Things Just For You
Pledge to be your own best friend and spend some time doing exactly as you please! The only condition is that you must NOT feel selfish, instead adapt the attitude that a happier you is a better you.
Do Things Just For Others
Doing things to serve others without expecting anything in return is a wonderful way to boost feelings of self worth and confidence.
There’s nothing like kindness to make the world go around, so see if you can make a difference to someone else’s life.
Volunteering, litter picking, donate to a charity, babysitting or just helping others when you see they need it will lift you up!
Write it Down
Did you know that writing therapy is proven to improve mental health?
With this in mind, write down
- 5 things that make you happy
- 5 things you’re grateful for
- 5 people you adore, imagining their smiling faces as you do it
- 5 things you’re looking forward to (however simple, like eating that chocolate bar, or reading that book, or lunch with your family, or watching a flower grow in the garden, or simply listening to a new song)
Be a Minimalist
Deciding you can go without something can be very liberating! Let go of the notion that stuff will make you happy. It won’t.
Change your mind set and learn to recognise when you’re basing your contentment on acquiring, desiring and wanting more.
Connect to Nature
It’s well documented that spending time in nature not only helps to ground and calm us by reducing cortisol levels (stress hormones), it also makes us feel happier.
Watching wildlife and absorbing all the incredible sights and sounds that nature has to offer is one way of forgetting all our troubles and finding inner peace.
Going for a daily walk in nature, planting flowers in your garden or simply watching the birds from a park bench will definitely help you feel more positively!
BIGGER CHANGES TO DIG DEEP INTO BEING MORE POSITIVE:
Adopt a Pet
Getting a pet is to care for another beings needs and research from the Washington State University found that petting a dog or cat can relieve stress in just 10 minutes.
In fact, stroking a cat or dog actually releases Oxytocin, the happiness hormone! As most dog owners will tell you, there is much to be gained by bonding and showing love to a furry friend.
Begin a Yoga Practice or Exercise Regularly
Practicing Yoga & Exercising really is all-important when it comes to feeling better inside and out. Physically, you’ll get the hit from endorphins which give you vibrant energy and positivity.
Yoga gives you time to stop, reflect and reset. It also allows you to take rest.
By unwinding and really looking at the contents of our thoughts, we can step away from negative emotions like anger, resentment, envy, and hate and teach our minds to be quieter. In this quietness, we can absorb the stillness behind the mind. The place in our subconscious that’s calm, free, still.
Find a local studio to explore this profound practice to really get you into a different habit of thinking (or not thinking!).
Learn to Get Help When You Need Help
If you’re struggling with the cleaning, treat yourself to a cleaner. Got cooking burnout? Get take away.
If you run your own business, then consider outsourcing things like marketing, website management or finances to help lighten the load.
These things might feel like a big investment to begin, but by not spending time doing them yourself, you’re potentially earning more by doing something else, or more importantly getting time back to yourself for a better work-life balance.
Practice Gratitude Every Day
Human’s basic needs are a home, food, the air we breathe, and love. If you have that in your life, then everything else is a bonus, not a necessity! Be thankful.
‘The best things in life are indeed free.’
Developing positive thinking takes time and the most important thing is to be consistent!
Affirmations for positivity will become habit and this time next year you could feel like a completely different version of yourself with a positive mind – positive life!
“You do not find a happy life, you make one” (Camilla Eyring Kimball)