Having always stay positive and being hopeful can feel really frightening. But as with most things in life, little steps can add up to big changes.
I talked last week about how I am letting go of negativity in my life and embracing more positivity. But how?
It’s not easy, I know. I’m a constant work in progress and I think I’ll be that way forever. There is never going to be a point where I can say that I am a completely positive person, with no negative thoughts whatsoever.
But here are a few ideas I’ve come up with.
1. Do something for yourself
I started running a few months ago. While I’ve always liked outdoor activities like skiing or swimming, I have never been a big exercising person. I never went to the gym or worked out. But when a friend mentioned she was looking for a running buddy, I heard myself, volunteer.
If you asked me to name one thing that has made me feel good about myself, I would pick running. Never in a million years would I have imagined I would love it as much as I do. I only go a few times a week, and I’m gone from the house for around 45 minutes each time. I go with a group of friends, and it’s more than just exercise. It’s a group, it's an outing, it’s a way for me to be ME and not mom, wife, cleaning lady, or cook. I don’t run very well and I don’t have much endurance. I haven’t lost any weight and I haven’t gained a lot of muscle tone.
The longest stretch I have been able to run without pausing for breath is eight minutes. But I love it, and it makes a huge difference in my attitude. Somehow I can handle anything if I know I’m going running later.
2. Get rid of the negative
Who or what brings you down? Think hard about that question. And think even harder about this one: Why is that negative influence still part of your life? Negativity breeds more negativity, and that has no place in your life anymore. You might not be able to cut something out of your life entirely, but you can take steps to limit the time you spend on it.
And yes, I know I might be suggesting that you stop being friends with someone because they are bringing you down. That’s a hard decision to make and a very personal one. But this is your life, and if you come to realize that someone is bringing too much negativity into it…it may be time to make some hard choices.
3. Look for the positive
One day when I was feeling particularly crabby, I picked up a notebook and started writing. I listed out things that I was grateful for my healthy kids, my good marriage, the fact that I can afford to indulge in my Starbucks habit. No matter your situation in life, looking at the positive will help you feel better. Just as negativity breeds more negativity, dwelling on the positive will help you find and nurture the good in your life.
4. Ask for help
I know, I know. I said not to depend on others for happiness. But there are some people-your spouse, your kids, your very close friends that are in your bubble with you. They are affected by your moods and they are able to influence them as well. Talk to these loved ones and tell them you want to cultivate a more positive outlook, and ask for their help. Work together with your spouse to create a better, more positive home. Model good behavior for your kids, and reward their positive actions.