“Have a positive attitude.”
We hear phrases and quotes all the time encouraging us to be more positive. Deep down inside, we know that being positive is always better for our soul, actions and outcomes, but sometimes it’s very hard to keep an upbeat demeanor.
I was recently asked, “How can I be positive when so many bad things are happening in my life?” To which I answered that being positive doesn’t mean that you constantly have a huge, fake clown smile on your face or are bounding with enthusiasm when you don’t feel it in your heart. Rather, it means you have a genuine feeling of optimism and block as much negativity from your experiences as possible. Heading in this direction invites positivity, in people, in conversation, in results and more, into your life.
We’ve discussed before about how choosing positive language can enhance your everyday life. Here are other ways to maintain a more positive disposition daily:
- Fix Your Feeds – We all have the social media friend who is constantly posting about some complaint or injustice they experienced. You know, the one who posts about their dreadful job, bad weather, the incompetent fellow driver, etc. Even though these thoughts and words are not created by you, exposure to them can subconsciously weigh on your mind and mood. You may genuinely love and care for your friend, but you don’t have to receive this negativity. You don’t have to unfriend them, rather just choose in your settings to block their posts from appearing in your social media feed.
- Stay Away from Gossip – The bottom line is that gossip involve unfavorable stories that do not come straight from the source. Therefore, the potential for untruths, speculation and exaggeration in gossip is high. While gossip may seem harmless, it never is because an unsavory story about someone else affects their character, credibility and those close to them (spouses, children, etc.). So the next time gossip starts, don’t feed into the frenzy. If you’re in a group, subtly walk away. If you’re in a one-on-one conversation, politely close that piece of the conversation by saying “I didn’t hear about that. I hope it’s not true. I wish them the best.” Then change the subject, “Hey, I just remembered. Did I tell you about what happened to me this weekend? …
- Get Grateful – When things may not be going your way, make it a point to think about what is going your way. Specifically, what you are grateful for. Then, write it down, say it aloud, say a prayer, or thank someone. Push your energy into recognizing these blessings and how they positively affect your life. For me, my go-to grateful pick is my children’s health. I am so appreciative everyday for their excellent health. When I think about this, there’s really nothing that can outweigh it to hamper my spirits.
- Speak Kindly to Yourself – I know that I can be my worst critic. There are many times that what I say to myself in my head is not positive. For example: “My hair is a mess.” “Why did I say such a dumb thing?” “Yuck, look at those bags under my eyes.” We all need to be kinder to ourselves. Negative self-talk is not productive. It doesn’t make us better. It doesn’t help us have a better day. Do your best to eliminate negative self-talk. Instead replace it with encouraging words. If negative self-talk does slip out, counter it with a phrase of action stating how you will work to make it better. So if you say to yourself, “Yuck, look at those bags under my eyes.” Respond with “I must need more rest. I’ll go to bed early tonight.” Be gentle with yourself. There’s no need to scold or chastise yourself into feeling down. We all do our best each day, and we must acknowledge that.
- Don’t Get Down – It’s so much harder to get back into a positive mind frame once you let yourself feel the extremes of anger, frustration, fear or sadness. When you feel yourself slipping down that path, do whatever you can to calm your emotions. Take a walk and take a break from thinking about the situation. Try #3 or #4 above. Take a nap. Sleep gives you time to rest, refocus, and softens despair. Again, do whatever it takes for you to feel better. No good words or actions comes out of deep distress.
Taking the initiative to apply more positivity in your everyday life will pay off greatly. We have a responsibility to uplift ourselves so that we can make the most of each day. We must know and take accountability for ourselves in this way. What you project is what you invite into your life, so welcome positivity with open arms.