Five things to try to make life more positive

It is extremely easy, in today’s day and age, to become negative. The economy is slow, state capture is still with us, we are in the middle of winter, jobs are scarce – the list carries on.

What can you change today, to bring more positivity into your life?

1. Start and end each day by writing down 3 positive things that you are thankful for

By writing positive, gratitude-filled sentences, and seeing them on the page in your own handwriting, you are “re-programming” your brain to focus on positive things. Just like you suddenly notice so many pregnant women, when you or someone close to you falls pregnant? It is because your RAS (reticular activating system), a special network throughout your brain, is “programmed” to notice pregnant women. The same happens when you are interested in buying a specific brand of car – suddenly you notice that make of car EVERYWHERE.

Utilize this functionality of your brain to purposefully focus on positive things, to turn your mood more positive.

2. Surround yourself with positive

Give careful thought to what you surround yourself with, in the radio and TV stations you tune into, the social media feeds you consume, the friends you surround yourself with. There is nothing wrong with unfollowing that friend on Facebook who is always complaining, choosing NOT to listen to the news, or to stop watching a TV series that always make you feel disgruntled. If it does not add to your positive journey, perhaps it is time to change it.

You would not think twice to cut the unhealthy options out of your diet when you want to get heathier, so why not do the same about your social live? A constant “diet” of sarcasm, belittling, and focus on negative aspects will only have one effect on your brain, and it is not positive.

Be ruthless. Unfollow. Tune in differently.

3. Create balance in your life

If you are working for 12 hours a day, every day, how long do you think it will take before you burn out? If you do not exercise for months on end, how long before your body gets sick? If you do not healthy foodstuffs – protein, fruit and vegetables, fiber, healthy oils – how long before you will get diseased?

The flipside of the coin also holds true. If you only party, 24/7/365, will you feel better? If you only watch TV / read books / spend time with friends, and never do anything constructive, working towards your life goals, will you enjoy life? If everything tasted bland, without sweet / salty / bitterness / heat, without difference in textures, would you enjoy your food? As humans, we need contrast in order to find joy.

We need balance. Work hard, but also put aside time to play, and to do nothing. Take time to connect with people, but also learn the joy in your own company. Really enjoy your food, but also learn to enjoy the sensation of feeling hungry.

Create balance.

4. Actively seek out positive change

If you have decided to pursue a new avenue of work, how would you go about it? By looking for other people’s experience and opinions? By learning from those who have gone before?

Why not do the same with your journey towards being more positive? Search on the internet for things you can try. Try them. Ask in your circle of friends who has some tips and tricks to share. Add some of those to your daily routine. Ask your mom / granny / older sister, what has worked for them.

Become curious about being more positive, and you will find that positive experiences will happen more often. As they happen more often, and you learn to find the positives, you will become more positive – a self-reinforcing upward spiral.

Have a song or two that always makes you feel better? Listen to it, two or three times a day. Found a TV series that always make you laugh? Record all the episodes and return to them when you need to be lifted. Does completing puzzles lift your mood? Drawing? Cooking? Petting a dog? Spend time doing those things, regardless of whether you are in the mood.

Know where to go to be lifted, and go there often.

5. Choose to be happy

The happiest people are those who choose to be happy, regardless. Not those who have the most, whose dreams all came true, who were gifted all they ever wanted.

Choosing to be grateful, to focus on the positive, is one of the most empowering skills you will ever learn.

Life dealt you some hard blows? Dreams in shards around your feet? You can choose to stay positive, even in the middle of adversity. Look at some of the poorest communities, some of the groups of people in the worst circumstances. In amongst them will be people who can STILL see the positive, STILL be grateful for being alive. Humankind has survived in the harshest of places and circumstances, because some of us had learnt the skill of being positive.

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Are you going to add positivity to your arsenal of life skills today?

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