“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin
I love this quote. I am often asked how I stay so positive. to be honest I think it takes much more effort to be negative, and whilst I sometimes suffer with depression, I am conscious now of when I am slipping into that pit of despair.
The answer to how I stay so positive is that I make it a priority in my life. We all have such a short time on this earth, in this lifetime, why not choose happiness?
I find the following help me:
- Spend time with happy people.
We all have our ups and downs in life, but some people just love misery. think about who you spend the most time with, do these people lift you up? Or drag you down to their level of unhappiness? For my own self-preservation I now choose to avoid the latter.
- Avoid watching the news
I like to think I am abreast of current affairs, and know what it going on in the world. But ask when did the News programme on TV ever give you any good news? Usually it’s a constant stream of doom and gloom, and I don’t want to live in fear, so I avoid it as much as possible.
I love a good sing along to my favourite songs in the car. I love to dance around the house, or wherever the mood takes me. Music can take us instantly back to happy memories. I have a playlist of songs that make me feel good.
- Do something nice for someone else
Practising random acts of kindness can make you feel connected to other people. There are always people a lot worse off than you, no matter how tough times are, there are people who would love what you have. Sometimes just giving someone a compliment can make their day, and that ripple of happiness spreads all around us. Be genuine in your praise, but just telling someone that you like their outfit can make them, and you, feel good.
I wish I could tell you that I love going to the gym. I don’t. But I love the feeling of having been to a great exercise class, sweating and getting your body moving always feels good (especially when it stops!) But seriously, looking after yourself, including regular exercise, will always lift your mood. Find some sort of activity that you love, swimming, Zumba and yoga are my favourites, but whatever makes you feel good.
- Get into nature
Get outside, no matter what the weather, and breathe! A brisk walk is always good, even better if you can find some place in nature, even in a city we have lovely parks.
- Set yourself a goal
It can be anything you want, this is your goal. But the intention that you put into setting that goal, and then planning how you are going to achieve it will train your mind to focus on the good. And if the goal seems too big, break it down into small, manageable steps. For example ‘I want to declutter my home‘ might feel very overwhelming, but breaking it down into ‘Today I will organise one drawer‘ seems much more achievable, and will give you a sense of satisfaction when it is done.
- Try to meditate – 2 minutes is enough.
Meditation is beneficial for the body and the mind, it not only improves mindfulness and positive thinking while you are doing it, it has been shown to decrease illness and feelings of purpose in life for up to three months after being practiced daily for a short time. If you are like me, and find this difficult, light a candle and just watch it. Concentrate on your breath. Or get a meditation to listen to, and follow.
- Transform negative self talk into positive praise and encouragement
This has been a game changer for me, you know that little inner voice that tells you that ‘you are stupid’, that ‘you always mess up’, ‘things never go right’ for you…Well tell that little voice to shut the f**k up! We would never to speak to our best friend like that, so why do we speak to ourselves in this way? Now, whenever I do I any little thing well, I congratulate myself.
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise Hay
- Practice Self Care
Not just bubble baths, although these can help. Make it a priority to look after you. If you are having a tough time, treat yourself like you would a small child. Be kind to yourself. Get enough sleep. Do things for yourself that make you feel good, watch a good film, eat some great food, light a candle and relax.
Every night when I get into bed, I think of at least three things that I am grateful for, and I say thank you for them. There is always something good in every day and being grateful and thinking loving thoughts is a lovely way to end the day. Remember how blessed you are .
“I cried because I had no shoes till, I met a man who had no feet” ― Sa’di