We all have those days when positive thinking is a little harder to come by. What today’s society deems as perfection throws self-doubt, rapid judgement and critical glances at us from all angles. And often, this negativity manifests into something that quite simply renders us helpless. But being positive is a choice; it is the endeavour to find the good in everything even when it might be really, really hard to find it. It is not about projecting the perfect life. Hard times happen. But when they do, positivity is choosing to focus your energy on the optimistic and finding the joy in every single day. So, here are ten really easy ways that you can practice being more positive.
‘If you don’t like how things are, change it. You’re not a tree.’ Jim Rohn
ACT OUT HAPPY
To start off simple, smile. Smiling can help to trick our brains into believing we’re happy. Ultimately, our thoughts are what define our reality and experiences, so by simply thinking happy you’ll feel more positive. So fake it until you make it. Sing in the shower, dance around your room, smile at strangers when you walk down the road, close your eyes and think about a warm chocolate waffle with vanilla ice cream, cookie dough and chocolate sauce. Smiling now?! See, a foolproof happiness hack.
Inspiration can come in whatever form you want it to. Travel, athletes, books, family, social media, history, fashion, culture, music, poetry, the list goes on. The literature grad in me is is sucker for quotes. But I think perhaps most importantly, surround yourself with people who are going to give you that get-up-and-go every morning. Having your own motivation to kick ass every day is beyond amazing. But the synergy of having someone close to you with that very same drive seems to provide untold inspiration, as well as a constant source of encouragement to be the very best that you can be. Keep ahold of them. Positivity resonates positivity.
FIND YOUR PASSION
Find your ‘thing’ that you do for you. Steer clear of someone else’s dream and the dream that society has for you. And don’t worry if you don’t know what your dream is yet. Your unique motivations are what sets you apart from everyone else, invest in them and you will spend your life doing something you love. Follow your own curiosities and you’ll find that ‘thing’ that you’re passionate about; that resonates genuine excitement to get out of bed every morning.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” Dhirubhai Ambani
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
We all do it. Whether it’s hours scrolling through celebrity accounts on Instagram, or marking down the corners Women’s Health for some fitspiration, our digital society is becoming dangerously jealous. Particularly in terms of body image. But that Instagram account you’re following is only a snapshot of someone’s life. They have insecurities just the same as you. As a blogger, I often find myself getting hung up over photography. But rather than doubting your own photos, take inspiration from the awesome blog photography that you do follow and then use that energy in a positive way; to make your blog the best it can be. And instead of noticing what you don’t like every time you look in the mirror, smile at what looks great today. Focusing on what you love about yourself is neither arrogant nor egotistical, it’s healthy and it’s positive.
PERSPECTIVE EQUALS POSSIBILITY
I find perspective the most compelling, humbling and inspiring way to channel positivity. This includes travel, science, famous speeches throughout history; generally considering something that is larger than ourselves. The enchanting and captivating rhythms of Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’ are to me, the perfect example of this. In uniting the human race against the greatness of the universe, Sagan leaves you feeling tiny; yet simultaneously faced with endless responsibility, possibility and potential. Here in the face of such vastness, perspective is surely the most powerful conductor of positivity.
‘There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits, than this distant image of our tiny world.’ Carl Sagan
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
But that doesn’t mean that you need to drink green juice all day long. Life is all about finding a balance, particularly in terms of what you eat. For me, that means the recipe for positivity involves doughnuts, carrot cake and ice cream. Maybe some pizza as well. Fitting treats into your diet shouldn’t make you feel guilty. If you’re nourishing your body with healthy food the majority of the time, you don’t need to restrict yourself. The odd chocolate bar doesn’t need to be seen as detrimental. Enjoy it. Balance is key to positive health and wellness here.
FIND THE GOOD IN EVERYTHING
When something negative happens, often the easy option is to escalate the problem in our own mind and make it 10x worse. In this way we are our own worst enemies. Instead, see the negative as a challenge, not a problem. Take a moment to try and find the good in every single situation. If you’ve *figuratively* hit a bump in the road, then the good here arises from learning for next time and chances are the mistake won’t happen again. I *literally* hit a bump in the road last weekend, five in fact and was blessed with five punctures in one race, which added nearly two hours onto my finish time. The good? I’m now an expert at changing an inner tube.
‘Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.’ William Shakespeare
HELP OTHER PEOPLE
Helping other people is enormously rewarding when we don’t expect anything in return. It is growing increasingly more important in this digital age that we deal more kindly with one another. Compliment people, raise some money for charity, smile at the commuters on the train, shout good morning to the passers by on your run. They might look at you with suspicion at first, but interacting with people like this will help to build up trust. Soon they will begin to expect these positive vibes to resonate from you. And, once again, positivity attracts positivity.
BE MORE MINDFUL
Mindfulness is learning to be present in everything that you do. It is the ability to know what is happening in your head at any given moment, without reacting to it. Even if negativity is all we can see in a certain moment, it is important not to let that mindset drift into the past or into the future. This gives us more control over our own lives and allows us to make wiser choices. Live in the now. If Mindfulness is something you’re interested in practicing to increase positivity, you can read my full post on 7 Easy Ways To Practice Mindfulness Every Day here.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
‘There are not enough hours in the day.’ I am so guilty of over using this phrase. But it’s important to remember that it’s not all about that end point. Is there ever an end point? Be patient. Take some time out from the noise and haste of life and read a book, meditate, do some yoga, run a bubble bath. Reflection is as important as projection; there should be some time put by for understanding ourselves and being happy in our own company. Because it’s not all about the race to reach that end point. It’s the person who we become along the way.
Photography by @AlexGeorgiades