Positivity is the frequent state of pleasant emotions such as happiness, gratitude, and hope. We all go through difficult periods in our life, they may last a day, a month, or seem even more constant than that. The more we focus on our struggles the more we experience negativity, a state of unpleasant emotions which may result in feeling pessimistic rather than hopeful about the future.
Being positive doesn’t mean projecting a perfect life for others to see or to try and convince yourself of. Instead, being positive involves trying to see the good in yourself, others and the world. It can mean encouraging others and remaining hopeful about the future. This is not always an easy task, especially if this is an atypical way of thinking for you, so here are some tips for adding even a bit of optimism to your life!
- Listen to music that matches the mood you want to be in. Music can be incredibly powerful and can shift your mood quickly and unconsciously. Think about what music you’re listening to and what feelings it evokes in you. This is often a great thing to consider in the morning while making breakfast to start off your day in a positive way! (Tip: for any country lovers I recommend Humble and Kind- Tim McGraw).
- Eat foods that you enjoy. Having a few go to foods that you enjoy and that are packed with nutrients can boost your mood and outlook. This happens from tasting great food and feeling content (rather than guilty) with what you eat.
- Start a journal or box of keepsakes that represent positive aspects of your life. Write down and/or collect physical memories that you can review when you’re feeling down (e.g., pictures with friends, screen shots of nice texts). They are a reminder of a positive past and can help you maintain hope for the future even if the present seems difficult.
- Surround yourself with positive influences. Spend time with those who are important to you and have a similar outlook on life. Move on from those who bring you down.
- Choose a positive filter. Everyone brings their own perspective to a situation. When this view is consistently negative in a variety of situations you may need to try shifting your filter. The more you try to weave a positive view into your life the more this will become more natural.
- Keep your goals in mind. Having goals to work towards can allow us to keep things in perspective and motivate us to move towards our goals. Start small, seemingly minor accomplishments can be meaningful if you let them be.
- Smile. Even if it seems unnatural, smile! Whether alone or with others, smiling has been shown to naturally lift our mood even if it’s a ‘fake’ smile.
- Share your struggles. Sometimes we just need to talk it out. Sharing your difficulties with a friend or writing them down on paper can be a helpful way to feel as though you’re more prepared to move past certain difficulties in your life. (Tip: If you reach out to share your difficulties with someone it can be very effective to let them know ahead of time your reason for telling them your situation. For example, if you’re just looking to vent and get your thoughts out, let them know! This way your friend won’t feel they need to problem solve).
- Make your home/office or wherever you spend your time a positive place to be. If you find you instantly feel negative when you arrive to work, consider sprucing up your cubicle or office space. This can make for a more visually pleasing environment and help maintain a positive start to your day.
- Encourage others. Others happiness can make us happy. Building positive relationships, motivating others and engaging in small acts of kindness can make for an improved day for both you, and others. When we improve our own relationships we feel good about ourselves and build confidence.