Life is constantly changing and we are constantly experiencing different ranges of emotions daily. Human minds are amazing and have the ability to do (or not do) all sorts of things.
You see, thoughts drive our emotions, emotions drive our actions, and our daily actions add up to our life! So it is important to cultivate thoughts that will drive feelings and actions in the direction that YOU want. Do you want to think and feel positive and uplifting? Or do you want to think and feel negative, depressed, and heavy?
Lately, with everything going on in the world, it might seem difficult to see light in life when it seems like everything is bad and negative. So we've included a few tips and tricks to help you improve yourself a little bit this month to help swing your frame of mind to seek out the positive.
1. The 50/50 Rule
Staying positive all the time is IMPOSSIBLE! That's right you heard it here- being positive all the time is not actually achievable, and that is ok! (Wasn't expecting that were you?)
Half the time life we experience positive emotion and half the time we experience negative emotion. When we expect life to be happy all of the time, we end up feeling like something has gone wrong, leading to us viewing things more negatively. And as humans, we experience a lot of emotions and happiness is just ONE of them. So remember when life is down or uncomfortable that it is ok! Feel your emotions as you need, so they can pass, and then let the thoughts go, knowing that they are supposed to feel yucky sometimes, but take comfort that you KNOW there will be good times ahead.
2. Identify areas to change.
If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute, or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way. Some times its easier to just write a brain dump on a piece of paper with all of the little things about your job/relationship/etc. that you like, brings a smile, or just makes life a little easier. Identifying those things and then taking a moment of gratitude when you encounter them will rewire your brain to look for the positive aspects regularly.
3. Check yourself.
Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them. Sometimes it is nice to take a moment to acknowledge the negative thoughts and then ask yourself how you would like to feel about the situation or your day, then try to focus on that feeling and what brings that feeling. It doesn't have to be happy. It can be contentment, or productive, or inspired, or efficient, or any other emotion that allows you to access positive states of mind.
4. Be open to humor.
Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed. In fact, science back up that genuine laughter helps boost the immune system and keep cortisol (aka the stress hormone) levels down.
5. Follow a healthy lifestyle.
I know, this is the answer for everything, but it is true that movement, a healthy diet (for your body type), sleep, and mindfulness pretty much help your body and brain to perform at its optimal levels. That includes being able to produce and maintain hormone and chemical balance in the brain leading to optimism and positive outlooks. And the brain likes to prove its self right. If you tell it that things are great, then it wants to prove that they are! So give it the support it needs.
6. Surround yourself with positive people.
Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways. Misery loves company so don't allow yourself to take on and wallow in someone else stress. Surrounding yourself with positive people helps you create habits of looking for the good in things when it is reinforced by our friends and family.
7. Practice positive self-talk.
Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to a small child. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally, and remember you are not your thoughts. Your worth is inherent and your negative thoughts don't change that. Need help getting started? List 3 things that you like about yourself. Try to go for things like your actions, or personality, or skills and less for physical attributes. (It's okay to LOVE your body! Just remember it changes and our worth doesn't come from the physical!)