I hope you are all having a great week – we made it through Blue Monday!!! It’s gotta be all uphill from here right? The January paycheck (for most) is on the horizon and the evenings are slowly but surely getting a little bit brighter – woohoo!
Today’s on my mind blog post is going to focus on positivity, because that’s one thing we could all definitely do with a little more of on these miserable wintery days haha. I’m going to give some tips that I think are helpful for staying positive and fighting away those negative thoughts. The way you think about something, can change your day, your mood, your interactions with people and your outlook on life. I’ve had my own experience learning this, and I’ve done some additional research for this blog – I’ll share both.
First of all let’s talk about Positive Thinking… What is it?
The “power of positive thinking” is a popular idea, it can even feel a little cliché at times. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at the sound of it, but the mental and physical benefits of it have been proven many times. Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore all things negative in the world. Positive thinking just means that you approach these not-so-great situations in a more positive and productive way. It means thinking the best is going to happen, rather than the worst. It encourages you to look for the good in people and yourself, rather than the bad.
It starts and ends with how you talk to yourself. The problem with changing negative thoughts to positive ones is that most of the time, we don’t even realise we are doing it!
For those of you who aren’t sure what way your thoughts sway, there are certain ways you can identify negative thoughts as I found in this article:
- Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a great job. That evening, you focus only on your plan to do even more tasks and forget about the compliments you received.
- Personalizing: When something bad happens, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is cancelled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
- Catastrophizing: You automatically anticipate the worst. The coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
- Polarizing: You see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or you’re a total failure.
I’m someone who has and can definitely get sucked into negative thinking – and for me sometimes, it takes over everything. It would go from one bad thing happening, to it affecting my whole mood, my productivity and my general outlook on life. It’s very draining and can prevent you from being present in the moment.
What causes these negative thoughts? It’s a variety of things. It could and has been something that’s happening with a friend, my boyfriend, in work, at home. It could be something small someone said about me or to me… but it’s usually related to things I care the most about.
That’s what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge, speeding ball of ugliness. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome. ― Shoaib
In the last few years I have found certain things help me get out of these funks, I try and practice these tips in my everyday life and it has led me to a much happier life.
We all have set backs in life, bad things happen that’s just life. However how you choose to deal with them can just change everything…
Tips for Living a Happier, More Positive Life:
1. Identify the negative thoughts and filter them out
Use the above identifiers to spot negative thoughts and replace them with positives. When bad situations happen (and they will) it can be hard to avoid these negative feelings, my advice is to try and find the funny side. Laugh it off. Or put it down to “bad things happen in 3’s” and call it a day. Don’t dwell on it – and if you do, at least make it an entertaining story for others 🙂
2. Surround yourself with positive people
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” according to American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn. Spend time with people who bring out the best in you, in themselves and in others. Happiness is contagious.
3. Create a folder of positive quotes
I find this so helpful when I’m feeling a bit down or unhappy. There are wise words out there that are just what you need to hear. I usually just google or Pinterest search them. I know quotes aren’t for everyone, but I do find them really helpful. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one who has felt that way.
For example, after a shitty day at work, if you were to read “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day”, it might encourage you to find that good thing.
See more positive quotes here; read a few and see what you think.
4. Download the ‘Daily Teachings’ App and read the book ‘The Secret’
The book ‘The Secret” is all about the power of your thoughts and positive thinking. The app gives a new teaching every day, all based on the book. It’s really interesting and definitely worth purchasing. I got it about a year and a half ago. It’s the kind of book you won’t read cover to cover, but you’ll dip in and out of a lot. It’s got different chapters on ‘The Secret to Relationships, Health, Money, the World, You and Life” so depending on what negative thoughts have struck me that day, I’ll pick a chapter and get stuck in.
I got mine second hand from Ebay, but you can buy it in any book shop. I saw it in Eason’s recently.
5. Live a healthy lifestyle
Eat well, exercise regularly, be active and don’t forget to treat yourself 😉 Usually I’m feeling down or negative, the last thing I’ll want to do is go to the gym or even to go for a walk, but this is exactly what I need to do. Exercise releases endorphins that make us happy – it’s a fact, so even if it’s just a light jog or 20 min cycle I do, it makes a huge difference to my head.
Disclaimer: On days like these I usually pick up a chocolate bar on the way home from the gym, balance is key to a healthy and happy lifestyle, isn’t it? 😉
6. Help and encourage others
The secret to happiness is helping others, it’s something we’ve been taught from a young age, and have been told a million times since, but I think sometimes we forget. This TIME magazine article captures the idea perfectly. When we help motivate and support other people, we feel good about ourselves, which builds confidence and leads to a positive perspective.
The last thing anyone wants is their own negative thoughts to impact others. Turn the negative into a positive and consciously try to help and support others.
There are different levels of helping and supporting people of course. It can be a friend who needs advice, it can be a homeless person who needs a sandwich or it could be an elderly person that just needs some of your time. Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person – I promise it will make you feel better.
“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them” – Dalai Lama
7. List things you are grateful for
I tried to start a diary last year writing down something I was grateful for every day. I was about two weeks in when I realised I was repeating myself a lot haha! It’s good to remind yourself of all of the great things you have in your life and to not take them for granted: family, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, pets… the important things.
8. Listen to music that sounds the way you want to feel
A personal fave at the moment is ‘It’s A Beautiful Day‘ by Michael Bublé – try it. There’s also a great playlist on Spotify called ‘Happy Hits‘ – I realise this is probably starting to sound a bit cheesy now. But it honestly does work!
9. Do things that make you happy!
What do you enjoy? What’s your passion? What makes you feel good? Do something you feel excited about. Several studies have shown that people who feel a sense of meaning in their life are healthier, live longer and have greater life satisfaction.
10. Remember you have the power over your thoughts and your life. Take responsibility.
You are never stuck. You have the power and can make decisions to change any situation you are unhappy in. None of us are perfect, we will all and have all made mistakes at some point. Actually at several points. Learn to take the positive from these bad situations, experiences and/or mistakes – turn it into a lesson for the future. Change what you’re not happy with and I promise you will be a lot happier.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
I hope you found this helpful, and for any of you struggling with the January blues (which we all feel a little bit of I think) do try one or two of the tips and see if it makes any difference 🙂
I’ll be back next week with another ‘On My Mind’ post, until then, all the outfit details are below,
Have a great weekend guys,
Photos by Brid O’Donovan