One of my favorite topics to explore as I’ve gotten older is positivity and our relationship to it. I’m not sure if I was just born with a tendency toward looking on the bright side, but looking back over my life I can certainly say that finding ways to stay positive and encourage others has been a strength of mine. And I’m okay acknowledging that, even though sometimes we’re all hesitant to say things that feel a little braggy. Truthfully, it feels like a little bit of a calling — to help people see the positivity in a situation, or feel levity when there’s just so much heaviness. To share some of those good vibes, I jotted down 7 ways to stay positive today, so that you can exercise some of those happy muscles and have a great day (every day!). xoxo
Battle Negative Self Messages
For me, a sure-fire positivity killer is negative self messages. You know the ones. They sneak in when you’re full of doubt or disappointment and tell you untrue things about yourself. Some greatest hits might sound like “you can’t do hard things,” or “you’re not as great as that other person.” When those ridiculous thoughts creep in, smash them with positive self messages right away. For every negative thing you think about yourself, text yourself two positive things. I’m serious. Get out your phone and send yourself two positive texts about yourself. Big or small. Read them all day long.
Move Your Body
When I’m down in the dumps, I usually find that I’m also sitting around, kind of doing nothing. If that’s you too, get up and move! I’m not saying you need to head to the gym and go crazy (although a workout just about always makes me feel better), but just move your body. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Turn on some music and dance like a weirdo. If you’re at work, just go outside for a second or take a stroll around the cubicles. Moving your body can short circuit the icky feelings and give you something else to focus on.
Pump Up the Jams
If you’re looking for motivation with a healthy dose of positivity, start with music. Music is literally scientifically proven to enhance positive emotions and wellbeing (and it makes you smarter too, but I could go on and on. I used to be a music teacher, ya know…). And aside from all that science, you cannot deny that putting some of your favorite tunes in your headphones and letting yourself get lost just makes you feel good. Take a deep breath, choose a song with lyrics that inspire you, and rock out.
If there’s ever a practice that will shake you out of a funk, it’s gratitude. And like anything else, being grateful for the things around you gets easier as you work at it. When you feel negativity creeping in, take out a sheet of paper or a pretty journal and start listing the things you’re thankful for. I find that putting pen to paper makes them more real, and is more effective than just listing them in your head. Don’t censor yourself here — allow yourself to truly feel grateful for the things that make you feel good, whether it’s a laughing baby or a Diet Coke or an upcoming trip (or even just the flower that you saw on the way to work).
Set Up for Success
If you find that the negativity starts to creep in when your day just doesn’t go the way you expected it to, try to set yourself up to minimize surprises. Plan your outfit the night before so you know that you’ll feel good in what you’re wearing. Make lunch or dinner ahead of time so you won’t feel stressed about cooking. Make a to-do list of a manageable number of items so that you’ll feel accomplished when you complete it. If you tackle the things that are in your control ahead of time, the things that aren’t in control won’t feel so overwhelming when they don’t turn out as expected.
Be (A Little) Social
Isolation can be a downer, especially for an extrovert. I’m more of an introvert and even I get down if I haven’t had any social interaction recently. If you’re starting to feel isolated, reach out! It can be as simple as strolling over to a coworker’s desk to say hello. Or if you’re at home all day, invite a friend over who has kids the same age as yours. Maybe you don’t need that much interaction and just a fun text conversation or Skype session will do. Whatever it is that will fill you up, reach out to a friend and have a chat.
List Your Radness
This one can be a challenge for lots of us, because we’re not used to thinking of ourselves in positive terms. So often we’re conditioned to belittle ourselves or our accomplishments, in an effort to be humble or finesse certain situations. This is your chance to let yourself be loud about how incredible you are. Get a pen (again, writing helps!) and jot down five things you love about yourself. If you really need practice, do it every day for a week. At first it will feel weird and you’ll probably have to really think hard to find things that you love about yourself. But after a few rounds of practicing, you’ll become more comfortable and it’ll start to flow. Keep these things close to your heart as you travel throughout your days to remember your radness.
P.S. If you like our graphic above, you can download it for your smartphone right here! Set it as your wallpaper or lock screen for some positive reminders. xoxo