It is easy to feel like some people are just naturally positive or naturally negative, and that may be true in some cases.
But the happiest people are those who make an active choice every day to pick themselves up and enjoy the good things in life. And believe me there are plenty, if you know where to look.
Changing your outlook on life is a major process, but it can be done gradually. You have to start small and practice new habits a little more each day that will slowly start to replace the old, harmful ones. That’s what the Loving Your Life Series is all about! In this installment we will share tricks that help you to maintain a positive outlook on life every day.
Research from the Mayo Clinic states that intentional positive thinking not only minimizes daily stress, but reduces the risk of heart disease and other physical ailments. A healthy, happy psyche actually helps people to live longer. Don’t wait until you feel better to start living healthier, mentally and physically — start living healthier to feel better now. Trust us on this one.
Listen to Positive Music
We all love music. It inspires us and keeps us company. Even sad music can be good for helping us enjoy our full range of emotions. But listening to the same thing constantly is guaranteed to have a lasting effect on us. Pay attention to the lyrics of songs you play on repeat. Are they encouraging? Is the tempo of the music energizing? Find a couple of uplifting songs, of any genre, and slip them into your playlist. Use Pandora or Spotify to find more songs like them. Let them be the soundtrack to your new outlook on life.
Create a Sunshine Folder
This can be a physical folder in your desk or a file on your desktop. Fill it with things that make you smile. Photos of family, best friends, or favorite memories, beautiful artwork, or quotes that touch you and keep you going. Come back to the folder whenever you find yourself dragging. This is your own little world of beauty, it represents everything good about your life and who you want to be.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
Research Professor Brené Brown reminds us to “talk to yourself like you would someone you love.” You would never say the negative things you think about yourself to a loved one, so why is it okay to say it to yourself? You would never keep someone else around who constantly put you down at every turn.
You look to your friends for encouragement and reassurance. And you need to be a friend to yourself. Cut yourself some slack. When you struggle, think “I am learning.” When you see your reflection, think “I look great today.” When you don’t know something, think “I am going to look that up.” Repeat anything often enough and you will start to believe it. Choose to repeat positive things.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
It isn’t easy being positive in a room full of nay-sayers and bullies. If the people around you are constantly pointing out flaws and problems with the world, they’re going to have the same effect on you. It’s hard enough to keep yourself uplifted without others dragging you down. Seek out friends who you notice are already positive and healthy. Encourage each other and practice good habits together.
Share Your Positivity
A Chinese proverb states “if you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody else.” Have you ever noticed how good it feels to make someone laugh? Or to receive a tightly squeezing hug when you give someone a gift they are grateful for?
Bringing happiness into other people’s lives is one of the best ways to create happiness in your own. Tell people they are beautiful. Pay for a stranger’s coffee. Smile when you catch someone’s eye on the street. You never know how much they might need that kindness. And with any luck, the will pay it forward.
Ask, “Does This Matter?”
It is easy to get wrapped up in the trivialities of each day. Getting cut off in traffic, having a frustrating argument, ruining your favorite shirt. Sometimes all of these things seem to happen in the same day, and you are certain it is the worst day of our lives.
But how many of these things really matter in the long run? You will forget about the car and the argument eventually, and you will find a new favorite shirt. When you find yourself dwelling on the bad things that have happened, try to think of all the positive things that have happened that day too. They are there, don’t miss them because a couple of small mishaps have put you in a foul mood.
The list of tricks is endless. Positivity is a choice that is made every minute of every day, and with the right determination it becomes a natural reaction. One final trick to employ is the art of “pausing.” Before you react to any situation, pause and reflect on the facts. Don’t allow your emotions to run away from you. If it doesn’t seem like it will be beneficial to get angry, or shout, or storm away from the situation, take a deep breath and think about how you would like to react. Then do it.