How are you all doing? Hope you’ve had a great week!
Summer’s coming to an end (I’ve spent last Sunday with socks on my feet and a hot cup o’ tea in my hands) – which’s great for me but not so great for many peeps out there -, I’ve been back to reality this week and school/work’s started for many of you so I thought it would be interesting to share a few tips on how to remain positive.
♥ Find the optimistic point of view in a negative situation.
One of the simplest but most effective ways to build a more positive outlook is, in my opinion, to ask more helpful questions as often as possible.
⋅ What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
⋅ What is one opportunity I can get out of this situation?
Doing so is a whole lot better than thinking negatively, because then you tend to tell yourself how much you suck and how things will get even worse. Retrain your brain to stop doing that to yourself. The more you talk negatively to yourself, the more that negativity will become a part of you. Instead, try to practice positive thinking. Any time a negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with a positive one. At some point, this will become more natural as your brain will automatically turn a negative thought into a positive one.
Of course it isn’t easy to start doing so, it takes time and patiente. You’ll need need a bit of time to process the thoughts and feelings that arise in a certain situation before you can do that. Trying to force optimistic thinking when you are still in an emotional turmoil or a bit shocked doesn’t usually work well.
♥ Cultivate and live in a positive environment.
Who you choose to spend your time with and the input you get from things like the TV, the internet and magazines, that all has a huge effect on your outlook.
So, have a positive support group: surround yourself with people that make you feel happy and positive, who don’t bring out the negativity and all the things you don’t like about your personality. To be able to stay positive it is essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you up instead of dragging you down.
Some questions you can ask yourself are:
- Who are the 3 most negative people I spend time with?
- What are the 3 of most negative sources of information I spend time on?
Consider the answers. Then think about how you can start spending less time with one of those people or getting information from those sources, starting now.
♥ Go slowly.
I believe that, when you go too fast, when you try to think, talk, eat and move around your world quickly, things don’t go too well. Stress builds up, negative thoughts just about anything start to well up and you start feeling like your own ‘personal power’ decreases. If you slow down just for a few minutes – even if I have to force it by walking, talking and/or eating slower – then both your mind and your body calm down too. It becomes easier to think things through clearly again and easier to find the optimistic and constructive perspective 🙂
♥ Keep your perspective (don’t exaggerate things).
It’s very easy to lose perspective, especially if you’re stressed and going too fast. Just follow these three easy steps:
⋅ Say stop. In your mind, shout STOP! as soon as the negative thoughts start to spin in your head.
⋅ Breathe. After you have disrupted the thoughts by shouting stop, sit down and just be still for a while. Focus on breathing from your belly and focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a minute or two to calm both your mind and body down.
⋅ Refocus. Question your thoughts by talking to someone close to you and getting a more grounded perspective on the situation by getting his or her input. Or simply ask yourself this to widen your perspective and to chill out: Will this matter in a year? Or even a month?
♥ Don’t let ideals nor vague fears hold you back from doing what you want.
A common mistake people make (me included) is thinking they have to be perfect and do everything perfectly all the time. This traps them and prevents them from being positive.
Changing to a positive attitude can be gradual. While you may slip and stumble, continuing this way over time will strengthen your positive point of view more and more.
But if you set an inhuman standard for yourself and think you have to go from being a pessimist to always being an optimist, then you may find it hard to live up to that. And so you may feel like a failure. You get angry with yourself. And you may even give up on changing this habit and fall back into negative thinking.
So instead, focus on gradual change. If you are optimistic 40% of the time right now, try to improve this to being optimistic 60% of the time. Then, increase that to 80% when you are used to the new standard, then subsequently 100% if you can. This focus on gradual improvement is far more sustainable and likely to bring long-term success than trying to reach an inhuman standard grounded in perfection.
Sometimes you may want to take a chance in life. Start a new habit that feels unfamiliar, your own business on the side or ask someone out for a date. A common trap when you want to do one of those things is to get lost in vague fears about what could happen if you actually took action. And so the mind runs wild, fueled by fear and creating nightmar-ish scenarios.
A good trick is to ask yourself: honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
When you figure that out, spend a bit of time trying to figure out what you could do if that that (often pretty unlikely thing) happens. Most times, you’ll see that the worst thing that could realistically happen isn’t usually as scary as what you thought it would be. Finding clarity in this way doesn’t take much time or effort 😉
♥ Add value and positivity to someone else’s life.
Basically, Karma! Often, what you give to others and how you treat them is what you’ll get back. And they way you treat others and think of them also tends to have a big effect on how you treat and think about yourself.
So give value and spread the positivity by, for example:
⋅ Helping out. Lend a hand when moving. Give a friend a ride in your car. Or if he or she needs information then help out by checking it up on Google or asking a friend of yours.It’s the small things, really.
⋅ Just listening. Sometimes people don’t want any direct help. They just want someone to be there fully and listening as they vent for a little while.
⋅ Boosting the mood. Smile. Give hugs when appropriate. Play uplifting music when hanging out with a friend or suggest an inspiring movie for your movie night. Or encourage when someone has had a bad day or are going through a tough time.
Seriously, you’ll see the difference it makes on how you feel when you treat others better 🙂
♥ Exercise regularly and eat and sleep well.
This’s a bit of an obvious one. As for me, count me in for eating and sleeping, just not for exercising 😛 I just don’t like it. I love walking and I much prefer walking somewhere than taking the train or the bus. And I like swimming and playing basketball and badminton, but I don’t practise.
A good night’s sleep and a nice meal (and a good workout, I hear, since working out releases those natural endorphins in our brains that make us feel better) can make a huge difference on your mindset and perspective on things. Also, if you work out or simply start to move around a lot, it will improve your ability to focus and keep your body in better shape, which will, consequently, improve your self-esteem!
♥ Learn to take criticism in a healthy way.
This is crucial since one of the most common fears is the fear of criticism. It can hold people back from doing what they want in life, since having negativity flowing out of someone’s mouth or email and it being about you can hurt. And being rejected can sting quite a bit!
But, let’s face it: criticism is pretty much unavoidable. So the key here is learning to handle it in a healthier way.
Here are a few steps you can follow when you’re being criticised:
⋅ Don’t reply straight away. When you are angry, upset or riled up it’s best to calm down a bit before you reply. Take at least a couple of deep breaths or a little time to process the message before you respond. Take this time to get your mind off of it, do something that pleases you and lives you in a good mindset.
⋅ Really listen to the criticism. Try to remain open and level-headed and figure out how this message can help you. Ask yourself: Is there anything I can learn from this criticism? Is there something here that I may not want to hear but could actually be helpful?
⋅ Remember that the criticism isn’t always about you. Some criticism’s helpful. Some’s simply meaningless attacks or someone lashing out because they are having bad day, year or job themselves. To lessen the sting of such criticism, try to be understanding. Try to think about what the person who’s criticising you might be going through.
⋅ Reply or let go. No matter the content of the criticism, try to keep your reply level-headed and kind. You can choose to add a question or two to get more specific feedback, which can be advantageous for you. And if they don’t reply or you simply get another nasty attack, then it’s time to delete it and let go of that situation.
♥ Start your day in a positive way.
How you start your day usually sets the tone for how the rest of your day goes. If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles in your mind then the stress, perceived loss of power of over your life and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.
If, on the other hand, you start your day by moving slowly, by having an uplifting conversation with your family or friend, or spend some time reading or listening to inspiring and helpful articles, podcasts or music over breakfast or during your bus ride to work, then that can make a big difference for how your whole day will go.
♥ Mindfully move through your day.
When you spend your time in the present moment then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions and to stay practical about what you can actually do about something in your life.
When you get lost in the past or future (like I’m sure so many of us have spent a lot of time doing), then worries very easily become bigger. And failures and mistakes from the past being replayed over and over in your mind drag you down into pessimism.
By moving slowly through your morning (and hopefully throughout the rest of your day), it becomes easier to mindfully stay in the moment you are in.
Another simple way to reconnect with the moment in you are in and to put your full attention there again is to focus just on what’s going on around you right then and there for a minute or two, with all your senses. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, rain or cold wind on your skin. It might sound like a small and insignificant thing to do but this simple reconnection with the moment can have a very positive effect on the rest of your day.
♥ Express what you’re grateful for.
Even in the worst of times, most of us realize that we still have things in our lives for which we are grateful. Voice them. Talk about the things you are grateful for with your closest friends, your support group. Keep a gratitude journal to capture the thankfulness you feel for what you have on a daily basis. Actively acknowledging what you’re grateful for will help you to always have a grateful mind and heart, even when bad things happen.
♥ Accept what’s happened and find a solution.
Many of us are resistant to changes in our lives. What we must do is to learn to accept that change will always happen, no matter what. As people say, ‘the only constant in life is change’. We continually go through changes, whether good or bad, throughout our daily lives. Accepting that changes are a part of life can help us to relax and be more accepting.
Try to look for the positive aspect. For example, if you’re in a bad job situation, what do you do? Accept it and try to make it better? Possibly. Or maybe this is the chance to make a change for yourself and look for that job you really want.
More tragic changes, such as death, will throw us off even worse, but when our brains are practised on how to stay positive in negative situations, even tragedy won’t destroy us. With the power of positive thinking, we can learn to put negative situations in perspective … and to deal with them as they arise.
That’s it for this post, guys! Sorry for it being so text-heavy but I feel like there’s nothing I could’ve left out.
Are you more ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’? What are your tricks for remaining positive?