You have probably heard a lot that we should have a positive mindset, thoughts and feelings for this life. I myself have talked a lot about it. It seems difficult, sometimes even impossible in this tough life, when you have problems in every corner.
When some people hear the phrase “be positive“, they can take it quite aggressively, thinking that being positive means laughing all the time, always having a good mood, dancing with unicorns and fairies on a rainbow… However surprising it may sound, that’s very far from the truth. You can be a positive person, but still have problems, some fears, bad moods and thoughts, still get angry and frustrated. But if your general mindset is positive, you will not dive into those negative and destructive feelings and states. Your general mentality will be more focused on the positive, trying to see the light even in the darkest moments.
Psychologists say that you don’t have to be 100%, or even 90% positive. You know how much you have to have positive thoughts, to be in the constructive side? Only 51%. It means your good thoughts and emotions should only be one percent higher than the negative ones. It instantly feels an easier task, doesn’t it? Because being a 100% something is truly impossible, but as we know, our life is all about balance, so it’s already 50-50 from the very beginning. What we have to do is only work hard for that minimum 1%.
Everything starts from small steps, you don’t just build a house in a day, you start from the very bottom, brick by brick. I have some methods that I gathered throughout the years, which help me be more positive, or at least escape the negativity and I’d like to share those. Let them be the bricks of the big house-building process.
1. Cancel negativity. Sounds strange I know, but what I mean by this is getting rid of every source of negative information. Unfollow those numerous news pages from your social media. Some people say, you have to know what’s going on in the world. Agree, you have to be aware of the big things. But do you really need to know how many people died today from coronavirus? How many car crashes or fires there are on a daily basis? When I watch news for a few minutes I always joke that it’s the right time to kill ourselves, because what happens in our world is madness, and watching these constant bad news subconsciously affects on you, even if you don’t feel it at first. It’s about your priorities now, do you want to live a peaceful life, or be informed about everything? Your choice. Same with watching horror movies, heavy and sad dramas or documentaries. Some people will claim that those don’t affect on them, but it clearly does, and I think you may have noticed how those who like films of this genre are usually more depressed and sad. The same applies to sad and even more depressing books.
2. Inviting positivity. Another strange expression. By this one I mean, instead of watching those news and bad movies, you should fill your free time with positive content. Don’t just scroll through instagram for hours, getting energetically exhausted from filling your brain with nothing good. Watch comedies, watch cartoons, you’re never too old for those, watch standup comedy shows or intellectual and interactive games. On your medias, don’t follow those, who make you feel bad and insecure about yourself, make you feel a loser by constantly comparing yourself with them. Unfollow them, and follow those people, who will bring the best in you, who will inspire and motivate you, and you’d get your energy recharged and boosted. Even after these two steps you’ll feel a huge difference.
3. Counting memories. I think I remember talking about it once again. Take a notebook and start writing all the good and memorable days with their dates that you had in the past or are having now. Reading these memories back is a special kind of a therapy, you get the happy and positive energy from all those days. You can also keep a separate notebook for bigger things. I personally write all my achievements (even graduating school and university is considered an achievement), all my big and small dreams that came true (even if you met your favorite actor for instance). Sometimes you feel yourself a loser, who hasn’t achieved anything in their life, especially when you compare yourself with others, which happens with all of us. But once you write down all these things that have happened in your life, you’ll see how big and important your life is, even if there are still things that you haven’t accomplished yet. Write what you’re proud of in your life and thankful for. Speaking of being thankful…
4. Expressing gratitude. You can either write this in a separate notebook or just do this practice in your head. Every morning, try to find at least 10 things that you’re grateful for. Every night, before going to sleep, try to think of 20 good things, that happened with you during that day. It can be literally anything: “I woke up and I felt good. I saw my friends/family. I had a good breakfast. The weather was good. I watched a good movie. I had a good laugh. I received a compliment. I went to work (even if you hate your job, try to see it in the positive way, a way of earning money or doing something beneficial both for yourself and for others)….” At first it’ll be really hard to find those 10 or 20 things. But if you do this every single day, you’ll notice that these numbers go higher and higher. And not because good things magically started to happen, but because you finally started to notice and be thankful for them.
5. Shaking off the bad thoughts. You have probably noticed, that when you’re in a bad mood, more and more bad and anxious thoughts keep coming to your head, making your mood even worse. That’s because your head becomes like a magnetic center, and it attracts all the other negative and destructive thoughts/feelings. And they keep flying in your head like those flies, who don’t want to go away from a delicious dish. What you gotta do is not fighting with them, but simply ignoring and shaking them off. The best ways to do so are: walking, doing exercises, or what is even better dancing, singing your favorite songs, even in your head, remembering funny things from your life or your favorite movies, or if you can play a musical instrument, then playing those. Another great thing is doing chores. Really, whenever I feel like I’m in a bad mood, I start cleaning the house, organizing some shelves and drawers, washing the dishes etc. It magically helps, because with that dirt and dust of the house you also kind of clear your own thoughts and head. And most importantly ignoring them and even telling “I don’t care about you, I ignore you, you’re not my thoughts and fears“. I know sounds silly, but it works.
6. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This one is connected with future, any future events, that make you nervous, anxious or you just simply don’t want to do something or go somewhere but you have to, like going back to school or work on Monday. What I like to do is trying to find another, good event to focus my main attention on that. So instead of thinking about going back to work on Monday, think about seeing your friend on Wednesday. Or finally getting your delivery on Tuesday. If you don’t have anything special for the nearest future, you can always think of the weekend, a day with your favorite weather or season coming, even holidays. Or you can think about how nice it’d be coming back home after a hard day, eating your favorite food, playing with your pet, watching your favorite movie and relaxing. It really helps, as you attention shifts from that unlucky Monday morning to another point, and you don’t concentrate on that anymore as it becomes inessential for your brain.
I didn’t invite a bicycle now. These are quite famous methods that I read or heard, some are advice from my mom, the others I invented myself, when I felt that a certain thing really helps me when I feel negative. You may think that these are bullshit and won’t ever help. But instead of playing the victim and being pessimistic, you can as well try them, believing that they’re what you needed. These things don’t always “cure the negativity” in an instant. Think of these methods as receiving a course of vitamins or medicine. Or even doing exercises or starting a diet. You don’t see the results right away. You need time, for some people it takes quite long, for other really short, almost instantly. I guess it depends on how hard they want to change their situation, how much they believe in any new method, and how full of negativity or positivity they already are. I hope these small techniques will help you feel at least 51% positive.