It has been a rough few years worldwide. The external pressure of the current state of the world, our jobs, and our families can all place a tremendous amount of strain on us. It is easy to let this pressure compound and sink in, causing negativity and negative thoughts to take hold. We all do this, and it is entirely human.
What is important is to emphasize trying to be more positive and make a conscious effort to work each day towards living a life of positivity, even when it is difficult. Fortunately, there are some easy and effective strategies below that you can implement every day to help you bring your positivity to light. These can improve your physical, spiritual, and mental well-being and, in turn, extend to all the relationships in your life.
#1 Take the Negative in Stride
First and foremost, it is important to understand that life is not always perfect, or easy. No one expects you to put a smile on every day. It is ok to have bad days and negative thoughts. These hard times will pass. The trick is to work to flip the perspective on the negative. If you fail at something, that attempt was a failure, but you are not a failure. This is a fundamental distinction.
You’re supposed to make lemonade when life hands you lemons, right? That means that when you experience a negative emotion, try to look at the positive outcome that may result from it. If a relationship, job, or something new you try doesn’t work out, take time to grieve the loss or failure but then look at what the experience taught you. It may mean the next job is the dream job, the subsequent relationship is the happily ever after, or the next business venture is the one that succeeds.
#2 Practice Gratefulness & Build Contentment
Practicing gratefulness and being thankful is a decisive shift in mindset. It is all about contentment. Now contentment doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing dreams and goals. What contentment does mean is that you focus on being grateful for all you currently have in the present. It’s not about thinking less about yourself, but about thinking about yourself less often.
Take time every day to make a list of five things you are grateful for. This can be in the morning with your cup of coffee or at night before you go to bed. Write them down in a list or an ongoing note on your phone. Before you list your five daily, look back at your old entries. You will be amazed at all the incredible things you have to be thankful for.
#3 Learn to Be Present in the Now
It has been said that anxiety is worrying about the future, depression is dwelling on the past, and the present is sitting in peace. This isn’t to say that the past is not necessary for shaping who we are. If there are others in your past you have truly hurt, it is part of the healing process to make amends. It is beneficial for both of your hearts.
Being focused on the present allows you to take care of your current state of being. This means emotionally, physically, and spiritually. An excellent way to work on peace in the present is with mantras. Find a few that speak to this season in your life and put them on repeat. Write them on sticky notes and plaster them all over your house, mirrors, and car dashboard. Let them pronounce the place you live in presently. Let them say, “I am strong!”, “I am enough!” and “I am worthy!” Because you are. Now take that positivity in the present, and conquer your future.
#4 Put It All Down On Paper
When you feel anxious, negative, stressed, or sad, it can feel as if your brain is full of trapped thoughts and does not have an outlet. That is where journaling can be incredibly therapeutic. The focus does not have to be on the ideas being coherent to anyone else but you. So grab a notebook and just let the thoughts flow.
If you are someone who finds it helpful to go back and reread those thoughts at a later date to help process complex feelings and situations, then, by all means, keep them. If the cathartic process of getting it out of your head and onto paper was all you needed, then shred those pages after you write. You will be surprised by the weight of negativity lifted off your shoulders after writing and how your brain has room for all the positive thoughts.
#5 Build a Positivity Tribe
We are the sum of the people we surround ourselves with and the daily information we intake. So it makes sense that if you surround yourself with negative people, media, and news, you will feel bogged down, anxious, and angry. So it’s time for a purge of the negative messages around you.
Unfollow all the negative accounts on your social media and replace them with accounts that make you smile, spread positive messages, and push you to be a better, more upbeat person. Make sure your closest friends are energy givers and not energy takers in real life. Energy givers make those around them better and will help raise your confidence and positivity levels exponentially. Avoid energy takers who zap your good vibes. There is no room for them in your life.
#6 Achieve Mindfulness in Meditation
Meditation at its very core is a clearing of the mind, usually done by focusing on the breath. It is meant to allow thoughts to drift in and out but never to concentrate on a singular thought. You are meant to simply let it pass by like cars do in traffic. The focus always comes back to the breath and the body. There are as many as seven different types of meditation, and choosing one that works for you can immensely increase your positivity.
Meditation after consistent practice gives you a sense of calm, balance, and peace that benefits your overall health. It allows you to move more calmly through your day with a more profound sense of understanding and a higher level of positivity.
#7 Find Your Mind-Body Connection
There is a strong connection between our minds and our bodies. Clinical studies have linked positive thinking to reduced rates of increased immunity, lower rates of depression, and metabolic or cardiovascular diseases.
Our brain creates serotonin as a response to our positive emotions. Stable serotonin levels allow you to feel calm, less anxious, and more focused. The serotonin released is similar to what you experience with runner’s high. The increase in serotonin also correlates to the decrease in cortisol. High levels of cortisol slow down your brain coordination, hinder creativity, and negatively affects your mood.
#8 Move Your Body!
If you’ve ever been someone who runs or engages in other exercises, then you know the clearing of your mind that comes from it. There are many reasons for this and so many benefits of regular exercise. It helps control weight, boosts your energy and your mood, and promotes sleep, which means you wake up ready to attack the day with a positive attitude.
You don’t have to train for a marathon or take intense spinning classes to get the benefits of exercise to build your positivity muscle. You can start with small choices like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk with your dog, friend, or significant other after dinner, even throwing on some music and dancing while doing your household chores.
These eight strategies to be a more positive individual can have a tremendous impact on your daily life and, in return, on the lives of those around you. So when you have a bad day, as we all do, try to keep this list in mind. Focus on being thankful, being present, and showing yourself grace when negative thoughts creep in. Take time to meditate, journal, exercise, and surround yourself with positivity. For more information on living a more bright and positive life, check out www.thebrilliantculture.com.