5 Tips For Staying Positive

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I have a confession.  Something that I have always struggled with in life is staying positive.  I wouldn’t call myself a negative person, necessarily, I just tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  I think it stems from the fact that I’m very anxious — I live very much in the future, always thinking about the consequences of my actions and potential negative outcomes.  Ever since reading The Power Of Now for our book club earlier this year, I’ve tried to confront this trait head on and do what I can to change my outlook.  It has been a goal of mine to be more positive, and it’s something that I continue to work on.  Here are 5 tips that I have found very useful when trying to stay positive — please share any advice or tips in the comments, I would really love to hear them!

stay positive

“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

I came across this quote recently and have been putting it to practice lately.  Typically when I wake up in the morning my first thoughts are along the lines of not wanting to get out of bed, or sometimes I’ll actually wake up anxious about a situation that I know will arise that day.  Lately I’ve been consciously making an effort to focus on something positive instead — even if it’s something as small as listening to a certain album that I love on my way to work.  Another thing that works well for me is taking a few minutes to go get a cup of coffee, stroll around the block, and acknowledge the fact that it’s a beautiful day and I get to be out enjoying it instead of wasting several hours of it sleeping in.

stay positive

Be grateful.

This is probably the most effective method I’ve tried when it comes to staying positive.  My life has been far from perfect, and I’ve lost people I love dearly… but I still have so much to be thankful for.  It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day problems and lose sight of the big picture.  Keep a small journal in your bag and when you’re having a really down day or moment, write down some of the things you’re thankful for — I’ve found myself writing down the big things like family, love, health, “little” things like having a car that gives me the freedom to go where I want to go, or simple things like flowers and sunny days.  The point is, you’ll find yourself filling page after page, so easily, that you start to forget why you were being negative in the first place.  When you have so much to be grateful for, it’s hard to be negative about something that ends up seeming so unimportant.

stay positive

Carry reminders with you.

OK. So you’ve made your list of things you’re thankful for, but maybe you left your journal at home, or don’t have access to a pen and paper. I like to carry little reminders with me, or even wear them. Write a positive message or a quote you love on a tiny piece of paper, stick it in an apothecary bottle, and wear it around your neck. The bottle at the far right above is holding wild flowers that I brought back with me from the wellness retreat I went on in the spring.  It sits on my desk at work and any time I feel stressed or am having a bad day, just looking at it reminds me of the trip I went on — and again, how lucky I am.  The bottle third from the left is full of tiny seashells that I gathered at my beach house over the summer.  Looking at these teeny tiny shells makes me think about how amazing nature is, how incredible the world around us is, and just like the shells, how small we (and our problems) really are.

stay positive

Lend a hand.

Being positive is largely internal, but stepping outside of your mind and helping someone else can do wonders for the soul.  Lately when I have a bad day, instead of taking it out on the people around me, I’ve been trying to do the opposite and go out of my way to do something kind or help someone with something.  It’s amazing how quickly it can turn around your mood, because even if you don’t see the good in yourself at that moment, someone else will, and maybe that will rub off on you a little bit.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a human either — sometimes when I get home, if I’m feeling negative, I’ll spend some extra time playing with my cat or feed him some special treats just because.  The look of adoration on his face, and the purring as he curls up in my lap, heals me instantly.

stay positive

Take a slow walk.

This is my cure for many, many things.  I was recently going through a rough week when I felt incredibly stressed out.  I was going to meet a friend one night and left my apartment a half hour earlier than I was supposed to meet him.  I took a roundabout route and I walked slowly.  My pace is naturally very slow, but with daily life being so hectic I find myself running around at a crazy pace — and on this day I had to consciously tell myself to slow down.  It had been so long since I had done this, and even this simple act of slowing down, taking the time to appreciate my surroundings (I have a whole new appreciation for the phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’) and just be, made me happier than anything else had in a while.  It changed my whole outlook and by the time I met my friend I felt happy, relaxed, and yes…positive.

stay positive

What do you do to stay positive? I would love to hear any advice and comments you have to offer!

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Comments

meg -October 28, 2013, 8:59AM

Thanks for the tips. It is always nice to have these little reminders.

http://happinessiscreating.com/

Jess -October 28, 2013, 9:25AM

Lovely article. I find getting up early really does help as I feel less stressed and have more time to just be ‘me’.

Elle -October 28, 2013, 9:28AM

Heya,

I am an artist and designer based in Cornwall in the UK. I have struggled a lot with feeling positive and finding that sense of peace, calm and joy in my heart. Like most people I have been through things that have left me with deep wounds . I am very fortunate that I have some amazing people in my life but they for the most part live far away, often leaving me feeling alone and at a loss as to how to pull myself out of darkness, anxiety or sadness. The best thing I have ever done for myself was deciding to overhaul my outlook on life and my mental state.

It is easy once you have experienced pain to get stuck and not know how to grow and heal in a positive and strengthening way, especially when these are the things that are often hardest to express, even with those closest to us.

For me there were several things that helped me transform my life and mental attitude. I decided that if I did not believe in myself then how could I ask anyone else to? I found that this sense of self belief and self worth was inextricably connected to my ability to feel positive. If I felt low or anxious it was usually connected to doubting my abilities to do something or my own worth as an individual, it is easy to fall back into old ways of thinking. For me this fake it till you make it approach really helped, I felt like I was drawing on all the people in life who inspire me and using them and their actions to push myself to do things that I had been putting off or was too afraid to do. I would ask myself what someone I respected or admired would do and tried to embody their spirit to get mr through whatever it was that I needed to do. Rapidly I found that I felt stronger and more able in myself, I found a new sense of confidence, calmness and joy that I had never experienced before. I felt as though I was actively shaping myself into who I wanted to be rather than allowing myself to maintain ways of thinking that were no longer helpful or making me feel good.

Since then I have started many new things, and found many new loves. I really believe that although it is hard work changing your own outlook it is the most long term way of finding lasting happiness and positivity. I now run my own business selling my work, I do yoga and capoeira every day and have met some really special people along the way that I would never have found otherwise.

Of course like everyone I struggle some days but now I can look back at how far I have come from the person that always doubted herself and felt negative most of the time, to someone who is embracing life and joy at every opportunity and working towards something that makes me happy and fulfilled. Around my workspace I have lots of little positive massages and photographic reminders that I am strong and on the right path. These give the nudge I need on those mornings where I feel run down or out of energy for myself. I also have little cards in my wallet from my closest friends with doodles or drawings they have done and little positive messages which always cheer me wherever I am. I really believe everyone can choose to be happy and think positively. The best things in life are worth the hard work and give the greatest rewards.

Thanks for sharing your advise! I now have a little bottle of teal powder my favourite colour and paint to remind me of who I am when I am away and get frazzled.

Cheers,
Elle
xxx

Liz -October 28, 2013, 10:19AM

These are great tips and I use many of them every day. Ever since I have started using my mornings to reflect and walk my dog, I have noticed a significant difference in my attitude. One little thing I will add that seems silly is making your bed. There is something about actually making your bed every morning that adds to having a more organized and efficient attitude. You can read more details about it on the link below, but I have tried it and it really does work. I also plan to start a tumblr project soon where I take a picture of one thing every day that I find beautiful and/or am grateful for. It’s a healthy way to keep my positive vibes going.

Here is the link about bed making: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/make-your-bed-it-just-might-make-you-productive-profitable-and-peaceful-173046

XO, this is probably my favorite post you have ever done.

http://lamentinglizzie.blogspot.com
http://smellthetoffee.com

Juliette Laura -October 28, 2013, 10:56AM

These are absolutely beautiful tips. Thank you for sharing!

xo, Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/InfiniteStyleShop

Anonymous -October 28, 2013, 11:12AM

Hi Julia,

Thanks for sharing something a little more beneath the surface. I am loving the posts more focused on consciousness and self-improvement. I, like you have many similar frustrations when attempting to stay positive. I am currently exploring my dreams much more and the idea of “focused dreaming”. Through my research of psychology, sleep and the brain, it can sometimes be difficult to understand ourselves and what exactly we need, especially with most of our deep wounds and emotions being somewhat out of reach to us, lingering in our subconscious. The idea of focused dreaming is where you would ask yourself a question before going to sleep, focus on it and then let it come to life while you dream. It is a bit similar to lucid dreaming where one is aware of the fact that they are dreaming and can awake oneself at a certain point in your dream in order to retain it in your memory. It takes a little bit of training but I have been successful thus far and have had some super powerful and symbolic dreams that have really provided with me with answers to things that have been wailing on my mind. It was pretty easy for me to get into and I recommend giving it a try and I think at least you will get some inspiration from some pretty cool dreams!

http://healing.about.com/od/dreamexplorations/a/focusdream.htm

-Ashlee, FP Southport

fp julia -October 28, 2013, 11:55AM

Thanks Liz and Ashlee for your tips, i will definitely check them out!

Mia -October 28, 2013, 12:56PM

I’ve been struggling lately with staying positive. Whether it’s about body image or school. Or even finding a partner. This article totally helped and I even went on Amazon immediately to purchase The Power of Now. Thank you!!

Michelle -October 28, 2013, 1:24PM

Thanks for sharing these tips! It’s important to be reminded that staying positive doesn’t have to be super hard and following these simple tips can change your day.

Kat -October 28, 2013, 1:41PM

We are always on the same page! I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. One of the things I do is try to focus and give my current task my all. Often my negativity or stress comes from not being in the moment (hence the power of now). But just thinking about the benefits the current moment or current activity help me stay positive (and not multitask so often!)

Héloïse -October 28, 2013, 2:06PM

When I started to realize that I’ll be in a bad mood, my tip is to small to people, whoever it is. People feels happy to receive some joy, and I feel it too, by giving some ! It makes people closer.

Ava -October 28, 2013, 3:37PM

Similar to the journal idea, I keep a jar on my desk. Every time something good happens during the day, I write it down on a little slip of paper, fold it up, and put in the jar. When I have a particularly bad day, I read a few slips to remind myself of the good things that have happened in the past — if they happened before they can happen again I tell myself. Then on New Years’ Eve, I empty the jar and read all the slips. This way, I end my year reminded of all the good that happened, and start my new year happy and positive.

cga -October 29, 2013, 7:15AM

Great post. I’m going to have to try and write down one positive thought every morning.

I try to go for long walks everyday to keep me in a positive mood. While sometimes it’s hard to just get up and justify an hour walking around aimlessly, I always return in a great mood and with a sense of productivity–I always discover new places on my walks, am able to take some pretty pictures, and get some exercise in the process! My dogs are also a source of positive energy and have changed my life a lot since I adopted them. I think that they have made me a better person and have brought so much happiness into my life, and of course I feel good because I was able to give them a home off the street/outside the shelter. I enjoy setting aside time to take them to the dog park and cook them homemade treats.
Thank you for this post today and wishing everyone a positive day!

Yazmin Joy -October 29, 2013, 10:20AM

Thanks for this lovely article. I think people forget that being happy sometimes takes effort and great strength! I like to write myself happy by penning the challenges I come across in life. I then work at finding the treasure in the trial. Writing down the positive things I have learnt from a negative situation helps me find clarity and most importantly, peace.

Yazmin Joy xxx
http://www.aliljoy.com

Joanne -October 29, 2013, 11:17AM

I love theses tips. I grew up in a very negative household. My mom raised me to always see the negative in everything! She is still that way. Luckily I have changed and find the positive in life. I can tell you it annoys the hell out of my negative mother and sibling but hey at least I am happy!!
http://nycfitfoodfashion.com/

Kiana -October 29, 2013, 12:03PM

Love this post! It’s tough to remember to stay positive sometimes when life gets so incredibly busy, but life is so much more blissful with positivity! My entire thought process and ways of going about my day changed when I read The Secret and started learning about the law of attraction; now having an attitude of gratitude and letting negativity simply pass and replacing them all with something positive, or something I’m grateful for has helped so much to just see the simple, small, and beautiful things throughout the day!

xo,
Kiana
http://finchandfawn.com

Mia -October 30, 2013, 8:18AM

Wow this couldn’t have come at a better time. I was telling my sister on the train today morning, I have lost my positivity and I have no idea why. I know people say Tired of London, Tired of Life but then say I am because London is just too much for me now. it’s mostly filled with unhappy people going to unhappy jobs whilst trying to pay off their great big mortgages and no time to enjoy loved ones.. It’s got me thinking surely there is more than this so I am so grateful for this post! Actually I love all your posts FP they make you dream! and feel free. I loved your trip to Cornwall, it’s making me want to move there but I guess these are the first steps to staying happy inside and then follow your dreams!

Thanks Julia and everyone who has commented at least i know I’m not alone in these feelings.

gül -November 2, 2013, 6:11PM

Julia, i really loved this article.

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