How to become more positive
3 simple steps to a happier life
Every year it's the same story: this year was terrible. Next year will be better!
This year struck a different chord for many around the world and in my network of friends, family, and acquaintances.
My company moved our office to another city and state and laid off a significant amount of staff. I also declined a relocation offer and now face the prospect of unemployment.
Close family members are fighting non-COVID illness and some live out of the country. The closed Canadian-US border and pandemic restrictions make it a stressful endeavor to visit and help.
Friends tell me they're sorry for the things I'm going through and ask me how I'm holding up.
Yet, despite the circumstances, I'm okay.
So how am I still positive despite the last five months? Here are three steps I take to bring more positivity into my life and stay optimistic despite the hard times:
Focus on Mindset
I live by the self-coaching model, especially given these uncertain times, and it's helped me maintain objectivity about situations.
"Your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, and your actions create your results" - Brooke Castillo of the Life Coach School
If I take a circumstance, say the loss of my job, and think of it not as an adverse event in my life, but as an opportunity to grow my business and create my dream digital nomad lifestyle, my feelings will be positive.
There's a lot of pain, suffering, confusion, and anger going around the world. It's okay to feel some of that and to let it into your mind. I let it wash over me, but I don't linger on those feelings. Lingering depreses me, spirals into more negative thoughts and feelings, and I don't accomplish my goals. The last thing that I want for a year that held so much promise is to let forces out of my control ruin it.
Tip: Take a pause and recognize how you feel about a situation. What are your thoughts? And how can you flip the script?
Disconnect from negativity
Do you take notice of how you feel after you log off social media or spend hours in a news spiral?
A lot is going on in the world right now. The pandemic heightened already explosive emotions and made every day seem like the world is ending. It's reflected across social media platforms in the form of posts, stories, and Tweet attacks on even the kindest people.
We can't stop others from posting bleak content just as we can't stop the news from reporting only horrors. What we can control is the content we consume.
I curated my social media feed after the 2016 election. Facebook turned into a site for complaints and misinformation, Instagram provoked jealousy and envy, and Twitter was a rabbit hole waiting to happen. As my mindset practices grew, so did the realization that social media impacted my thoughts and feelings.
I started by unfollowing friends and acquaintances with consistent complaints, misinformation, or negative posts. I found groups and pages that promoted learning, positivity, and achievement. I enjoy logging into social media now because I learn, I share, and I engage with people of a similar mindset.
I also set limits on my news and social media consumption. I get my news from a few reputable sources each day to stay updated on essential information, and then I disconnect. Social media isn't the most crucial part of my day, and at this point, I only access it for business purposes.
Tip: Set limits on your news and social media consumption. Understand your values, and let your social media feeds reflect those.
Find gratitude and silver linings
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle - Albert Einstein
Gratitude and positive outcomes are hard to find when it feels like everything against you. I'm going through more trials than I imagined eight months ago, but I'm still finding good moments and opportunities.
I could quickly shut down and blame the system, but in understanding how my thoughts about situations affect everything that follows, I choose to find the positive. Every day, I express gratitude for the things I have in my life. It might be my cat or the sun coming in the window. As nonconsequential and straightforward as those may sound, it's often the small things that have a significant impact.
I use a gratitude journal every day. The Five Minute Journal takes just that, five minutes, but it brings positive emotions as I reflect on what good things I have in my life. Whether tangible or intangible, I take time every morning to reflect and set my intentions for the day. Thinking about the positive, even just a few moments, sets me on a path of optimism that carries through my waking hours.
Even if we set positive intentions, things don't always go the way we expect. 2020 is proof of unexpected events, but despite what happened in my life, I found moments to be grateful and find the silver lining.
When my role relocated to another city and state in May, I paused to consider my options and ultimately declined the move. It was a difficult decision to make, but I saw a silver lining to the loss in the end. I spent two years building a side hustle, with intentions to take it full time eventually. For those two years, I subconsciously let my full-time job hold me back from being in my business 100%. With the barrier removed, I could now devote 100% of my time to my business and writing.
Expressing gratitude and finding opportunities opened my mind to what could be instead of what isn't. And despite the events of 2020, I'm happier than ever before.
Tip: Take five minutes each morning to consider what you're grateful to have in your life, and over a week, watch how your emotions and thoughts change.
Most people find it easier to be angry or let outside events dictate how they think and feel. Going with the flow meets less resistance, and in stressful times, it seems like the better option.
You don't have to use all three of these steps to lead a happier life, and there are undoubtedly other ways to find happiness. These are just a few steps that helped me become more positive amidst the negativity in the world.
Life is short, so why live in a negative mindset? What if you could disconnect for one hour, make one small change, or give thanks for even the smallest miracle?
Imagine how different 2020 could be.