I am usually a very upbeat person but there are some days that I battle with a very pessimistic view of myself or just life in general. This happens to be one of those days, so I thought I would write about it.
I know that I have ZERO to complain about so I am puzzled why I sometimes struggle to count my blessings when I have SO much to be thankful for.
There are some days that are much better than others, but on the BAD days (today being one) there are things that I can do to create a more optimistic mindset. I will admit, however, that I went out and had a few drinks with friends this past Saturday night and didn’t sleep well after, so right there I know that by not caring for my health, I am paying the price mentally….
Anyways, if you struggle with this same problem, here are some things that we ALL can do when we are battling negative emotions:
Do Something Kind For Others:
It’s easy to get wrapped up with your own misfortunes. Instead, try to step outside of your daily routine to help someone else. This can provide you with a new perspective on life and fill you with positivity. Aim to do one nice thing for someone each day-whether it’s a phone call to a loved one, writing a letter to a friend, complimenting someone at the grocery store, or buying a stranger a cup of coffee.
Practice The Two Positives Exercise:
When you are not used to thinking optimistically, it can be hard to stop the negative flow of thoughts. This shift takes time. Be patient with yourself, and first just try to observe your thought patterns: Are you judging others? Are you focusing on your failures? Do you find yourself complaining about your job? Are you criticizing yourself or your body?
When you observe these thoughts, take a moment to counter each negative thought with two positive observations or gratitudes. Think of it as adding in two positives for each negative thought you recognize.
One of the quickest ways to shift your focus away from negativity, judgment, and disappointment is to list the things in your life for which you are grateful. Be grateful to have your jobby job, to be able to sleep in a bed each night, for the health of your family, for the sun that comes up each morning, for the people that love and care for you, for a chance to “start fresh” each new day, and for a body that lets you experience life.
Practicing gratefulness can cause almost an immediate shift in your perspective. Keeping a daily gratitude journal (even if it’s a list on your phone) can help remind you to keep life’s blessings at the forefront of your mind.
Have A Positive Posture:
My dear friend, Courtney Rouse, has the best posture out of anyone I know! I am always complimenting her on this and you know what- she’s a pretty darn positive person so I do believe this is an effective strategy.
The mind and the body have an intrinsic connection—each greatly impacts the other. If you are struggling to move your mind into a more positive perspective, try moving your body there first. Try standing up straight, shoulders back, chin held high, stretching your arms out as wide as they can go. Feel powerful. Feel positive. Carrying yourself with “positive posture” will encourage your mind to feel more positive as well. (This works…I swear-I just forget to do it! Courtney Rouse…will you help remind me please?)
Another way for your body to “trick” your mind into being more positive is through smiling. The simple act of smiling, even if you are faking it at first, can instantly change the way you feel internally. Whether you are sitting at your desk, driving in your car, or walking down the street, smile. You will be amazed how your mind reacts. Even better, try smiling at a co-worker or stranger you pass in the hallway or on the sidewalk. Chances are they will smile back.
Surround Yourself With Positive People:
It’s hard to maintain a positive perspective if you are constantly pulled down by the negativity of friends, family, or co-workers. If you get trapped in a negative conversation, gracefully try to change the subject to something more positive. (I am guilty of NOT doing this….working on it though!)
If you are surrounded by a bunch of negative people, it may be time to reevaluate your circle of friends in an effort to be surrounded by uplifting individuals.
We all know that life is not always easy, and sometimes we get handed some majorly shitty cards to deal with. However, it is our own perspective that ultimately determines if we will drudge through the mud and muck with a sour attitude or if we will brush our shoulders off and try our best to be a better version of what we were yesterday.
I hope these ideas help! Let me know what you think or if you have other strategies that keep you feeling uplifted or lighter.