How to stay positive
Stress season is upon us, exams, assignments, dissertations, it can all get a little too much.
One of the key things to contribute to good wellbeing is a positive attitude. Being positive will make you feel better and help you be more productive with whatever it is you want to accomplish. Staying positive means staying optimistic, keeping organized, avoiding negativity, and surrounding yourself with a positive environment.
In this blog post I have outlined 5 things which have helped me stay positive in my personal life.
1. Find the optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation
One of the simplest but most effective ways to build a more positive outlook in my experience has been to ask more helpful questions as often as possible.
- What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
- What is one opportunity within this situation?
Trying to find the positive end of the stick will help lighten the situation, give you options on what you can do next or it will at least help to process the thoughts and feelings that arise in a situation.
2. Go slowly
Personally, when I go too fast, when I try to think, talk, eat and move around in my world really quickly then things don’t go too well. I find myself stressing over every situation and every little task. ie: if I need to be somewhere I'll plan the journey to the minute- be ready by 5 so that means I have 10 minutes for this action, be out by 5:30 so I have allowed an X amount of time to get to a location and when things don't go to plan that's when the stress comes in.
Stress build up is a total no no. And so if you slow down just for few minutes – even if you have to force it by walking, talking and eating slower – then your mind and body calms down too. It becomes easier to think things through clearly again and easier to find the optimistic and constructive perspective.
3. Don't make a mountain of a molehill
Again, this is similar to saying go slowly, it’s very easy to lose perspective, especially if you are stressed and you are going too fast. And so a molehill can become a big and terrifying Mount. Everest in your mind.
A simple three step way to handle these situations so they don’t get out of hand is to:
- Say stop. In your mind, shout “STOP!” or “NOPE, we are not going down that path again!” as soon as thoughts of this kind starts to spin in your head.
- Breathe. Breathe with your belly (I'm serious) and focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a minute or two to calm your mind and body down.
- Refocus. Question your mountain building thoughts by talking to someone close to you and getting a more grounded perspective on the situation by just venting or by getting his or her input. (I personally find venting to my friends/ family helps- and no I'm not even sorry for sending 100 messages on the group chat)
4. "Ditch the Crabs"
I've came across this analogy somewhere and ever since it has stuck by me and now I use it in my daily life. If you put a crab in a bucket, it will easily climb out. But if you put a second crab in the bucket, neither of them will escape. Once one starts to escape, the other will pull it back down into the bucket. In other words, 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. However, if you are surrounded by a bucketful of negative crabs, it may be time to reevaluate your circle of friends in an effort to be surrounded by uplifting individuals.
5. Be kind
It’s easy to get absorbed by our own world of misfortune and to forget about the people around us. Stepping outside of your daily routine to help someone else can provide amazing perspective and fill you with positivism. Strive to do one nice thing for someone else each day. Call a family member or friend in need of a kind word, compliment a stranger, go out of your way to help a co-worker complete a task, or join the thousands of caffeinated people “paying it forward” in the Starbucks line. (coffee really is life!)
In conclusion, life is not always easy, and sometimes we get handed a bushel of lemons. However, it is our own perspective that ultimately determines if we will drudge through life puckered and sour, or skip along with a glass of sweet lemonade.
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