We live in a world saturated with chaos, violence, social, political, and ecological problems, and bad news, and many times, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is up to us to fill our lives with happy things and our minds with positive thoughts. I understand that it is a real and constant struggle, but there are ways to help us keep a positive attitude and improve our outlook on life. These are six of my favorite tips to stay positive through it all.
WHEN THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY
It does not matter how tough the situation is, there will be a way out. Many times we feel like it is the end of the world, and we will not be able to stand up again and recover from the pain. But, we can bounce back! Time is the best ally in hard times, and even though it sounds like a cliché, it does help heal our wounds. Be patient, and be kind to yourself. Things will work out.
TRY A HAPPINESS DIARY
Place a notebook on a nightstand close to your bed, and every night, before falling asleep, write five things that made you happy that day. These could be: your child’s smile, someone gave up a seat in the bus and offered it to you, a co-worker brought you coffee, somebody alerted you of a car coming while you were distracted crossing the street, your neighbor offered to carpool the kids to school, etc. Identifying those five positive and happy things in your daily life will train your brain, and with time, you should start looking at the glass half full more often than half empty.
MUSIC MAKES A DIFFERENCE
I don’t know why, but when I am down, and I listen to a very sad and depressive song, I suddenly feel much better! I asked a psychologist about this, and he said that sometimes those types of songs helped me realize that my situation was not as bad as I thought. Of course, this might not be something that works for everybody, but it’s worth a try.
Music also helps spark some creativity in my brain. When I need that boost, I listen to classical music. It allows me to concentrate and be more productive at work, which in turn helps me stay positive. Music could also be so therapeutic! It can calm the mind, relax the body, and even lower blood pressure. Bottom line, music is key. Find the genre that inspires you the most and dance your way through life.
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Think of something completely out of the box and that you’ve never done, and do it. Be spontaneous. Dance in the rain. Jump in the pool with your clothes on. Come back to life, be authentic, and break your own limits. Stop worrying about what others think of you. When you look back, you will remember those “out of your comfort zone” moments with a smile. It will all be totally worth it.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH HAPPY PEOPLE
Happiness and laughter are contagious. When I have positive, friendly, cheerful people around me, I end up feeling the same way. But, whenever I find myself in the company of problematic and depressed people, I feel sad and miserable. It is your choice to select the kind of people you want to spend time with. Do not feel guilty about walking away from uncomfortable situations and people who bring you down with them. We are responsible for our own happiness; be brave and take charge of it!
MAKE TIME FOR “ME” TIME
Moms, like me, work several jobs at a time and have partners to spend time with, so life can become overwhelming. The different hats that we have to wear daily drain our energy, and we start feeling anxious, sad, and sluggish. Find one day a week to spend time with yourself. Make time for the things you like to do and throw some well-deserved pampering in the mix. Block between two and four hours to unwind and go have coffee with your friends, get your hair done at the salon, take a long, relaxing bath, take a walk or go for a run while listening to your favorite music. You have to be firm. It is a commitment you are making to yourself, so add it to your calendar the same way you add meetings, doctors’ appointments, and kids’ extracurricular activities, and plan everything else around it. Remember, “me” time is very important when you want to keep or develop a positive attitude!
Nobody is perfect, and life can be really hard at times. The important thing is to have hope. It is normal to feel down every now and then, but open your heart and allow yourself to enjoy the little things in life that can bring a smile to your face. Once you get in the habit of practicing positivity, life should start smiling back at you more frequently.