“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller
It gets increasingly harder to be positive in what seems like a very negative world. Turn on the news and all you see is the bad in people and the bad in society. Talk to your friends and I bet at least half the time you will hear how the Democrats are destroying the country or how the Republicans are fear mongers who just want all of your money. Talk to someone about their job and they will be sure to tell you how awful it is or how much of an idiot their boss is or anything else that is wrong in their life. How can you stay positive in such an environment? Here are a few ideas.
1) Look for the positive intent in others
What’s wrong is always available. So is what’s right. When someone does something that you don’t like or agree with, you get to CHOOSE what you think it means. Your boss could be an idiot or your boss could have a different opinion that you don’t quite understand. The Republicans could be trying to take all of your money or they could have a different idea on how to help society than you based on their life experiences. The guy that just cut you off could be a jerk or he could be rushing to the hospital for the birth of his first child. People are generally good; don’t demonize them because you don’t understand their actions.
2) Read something positive everyday
Start your day reading something inspirational (I hope this blog is one of the resources you choose to use)! Life is beautiful and there are amazing things to be found here. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find them, but they are there, so spend a little effort seeking them out. Looking for positive things is a great habit to develop! Start by looking for blogs, books, and YouTube videos and then you can go from there.
3) Be the positive
Watch what you say to others, but especially to yourself. Looking for the positive things in life is much easier than being positive yourself, I get that. And, I am not saying that you should be overly cheerful or increase your peppiness. You don’t have to act fake to be positive because, like I mention in #1, what’s positive is always there. The difference that you can make in your day and in another’s day, by speaking positively, is immeasurable!
4) Talk to positive people
We all know people that are positive (sometimes maybe too positive). Do you try to avoid them or do you go out of your way to talk to them? If someone seems ‘too positive’ to you, do you think that they are the problem or are you? Spend time with them and be thankful for a perspective that is different than the crap that you are used to.
5) Get comfortable with the positive
An extension to #4 is not only to talk to these positive people but to be comfortable around positive talk. It is an easy thing to say, “I want to be more positive.” But, like many people, you may not actually be comfortable around things that are positive because, well, let’s face it. Good things seem less common than bad things. If you aren’t comfortable now, ease yourself into this mindset by starting small. Pick one of the items from this list and do it once. How does it make you feel? Expand from there.
6) Meditate daily
Or, practice mindfulness. Or, sit quietly and breathe. Or, get away somewhere to gather your thoughts. Or, whatever else you want to call it. If the term meditation bothers you because you aren’t overly ‘spiritual,’ that is OK. Everyone can benefit from mentally prepping their mindset for the day. Call it whatever you want, but do it. Your life will never be the same.
7) Do something for someone else
Anything. Hold a door open for someone. Buy someone flowers. Heck, bake some cookies and give them away ‘just because.’ Feeling especially generous? Volunteer. It’s hard to be negative when you are making someone else happy, especially if they are down on their luck. There is nothing that feels better than making someone else feel better. Try it.
8) Be grateful everyday
Every morning, think of three things that you are grateful for: something about you (you are smart, you have a family that loves you, you have a home), something about someone else (your spouse who supports you, your son that makes you smile, your friend who challenges you), and something abstract (the sun that shines every day, the roads that allow you to get to work, a child’s laugh). Practicing gratefulness every day will help you get in the right mindset.
“The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can’t feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time.” Tony Robbins
9) Don’t look at people for who they are today
Look at them as if they are the person that they COULD become. Everyone does the best that they can with the resources that they have. Sometimes it’s hard to see that someone has fewer resources than you. It’s easy to demonize someone because they do something that annoys you. But everyone acts a certain way for a reason. Try to understand someone before you make a villain of them.
This might be the least obvious of the entire list. Exercise does a lot for you. It pumps endorphins through your body, which makes you feel elated. It makes you healthier, which makes you feel good. It makes you look better, which makes you feel REALLY good! When you feel good about yourself, when you feel healthy, when you feel happy, it’s easy to be positive.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Ghandi
Have other ways of being positive? Leave a comment below.