Staying positive when everything is great in life takes little effort.
When life is good, relationships are loving and supportive, work life is fulfilling and prosperous, and your health and inner climate is sunny with a slight chance of ocean breeze – maintaining a positive attitude takes little effort.
But when the weather shifts – and we all know that it will – and we are challenged from head to toe with chaos, trauma, drama, and pain, its an entirely different ball game. Throw in a little catastrophic illness, financial problems, legal issues, and maybe a broken water line in our kitchen and that positive attitude is as illusive as the Holy Grail.
How do we find our happiness and positivity when life throws us a curve-ball – or perhaps a dozen of them?
The real opportunity in life is to find our happiness and live our greatness IRRESPECTIVE of our outside circumstances. Remember that we need not obsess about those things outside of our control…so let’s focus on what we CAN control. Regardless of our outside experience, there are things that we can do to improve our inner weather, our sense of well-being and overall happiness.
How to think positive?
What are the benefits to a positive attitude? Better quality of life, more success, better relationships, and improved health to name just a few. The power of positive thinking and positive thinking techniques have been written about and discussed by for centuries – this article isn’t to tell you WHY, but to show you HOW. BUT, if you need one more powerful reason on how thinking positive can actually make you well? Deepak Chopra has a great article on CNN about that very thing.
1. Move your body! Get the energy flowing inside of you whether by taking a run or even dancing! Take a walk or do some yoga (my favorite). Whatever feels right, just get off your butt and move yourself. This isn’t purely for physical benefit, although there is nothing wrong with that, but physical exercise helps the healthy functioning of our mind, emotions, and heart to name a few. On top of that, exercise helps us release the stuck energy within our being, while also helping us to clear our mind and forget about our woes long enough to find our joy again.
2. Pamper yourself! Get a massage, facial, pedicure, or manicure. Treat yourself, do something special to show yourself some love – YOU DESERVE IT!
3. Music heals the soul! Pump it up, crank it up, share it with the world. Turn it up so loud that it rocks your soul – especially good with a nice beat. Stay away from sappy love songs, or music that makes you cry. Say no to K.D. Lang sings Hallelujah (awesome but not the right time), and no Mazzy Star, Cat Stevens, or Enya (also great artists but not now). Try a little Michael Jackson (anything), Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (one of my wife’s favorite), Britney Spears – Till the World Ends, Akon – Bonanza, or Natasha Bedingfield – Pocket Full of Sunshine. Now that you picked some music you like, music that moves you – TURN IT UP!
4. Do things that make you happy! Get back to nature. Make love, play music, sit in the sunshine, take a swim, work in your garden, or meditate. Whatever you are doing – just SMILE and appreciate the magnificence of the moment.
5. Play with your Dog or Cat. Yes, pets have a way of bringing us back to our truth. Personally, I’m a dog person and I know that my dog is filled with love, and is never short of love to share or to receive. Connecting with your pet somehow has a way of washing your worries away – at least long enough to help you find your smile again.
6. Field Trip Time! Go to the Zoo, a museum, or to a ball game. Go to a park or a coffee shop. More than anything – just GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE!
7. Gratitude! Make a written list of EVERYTHING you are grateful for. Depending on the depth of your pain, you may have to start small…perhaps with recognition of your body parts, or even the air you breathe or the color of the sky. Whatever it is, write it down – and keep writing and writing until you have come to the things in your life that REALLY matter . HINT – when you get to LOVE, you are getting close.
8. Find your laughter! Laughter is what got me through my first round of cancer…my wife brought home books and movies and we would just laugh and laugh. Watch funny movies, go see a comedian, and hang out with people that make you smile. Laughter is one of the most healing things we do for ourselves.
9. Time With Friends. Spend time with people you care about but NOT to commiserate…in fact you are not even ALLOWED to complain – this is the time for you to reconnect with your truth, with your sense of happiness and well-being. This is your chance to enjoy yourself, and to share some laughs (see item #8).
10. What NOT TO DO! My list would be remiss if I neglected to mention the things NOT to do when trying to change your attitude. So, for number 10: try to avoid the things that will make you digress, or feel worse about yourself. I would recommend staying away from alcohol, and any negative people in your life. Try not to open the freezer if you can help it, and trust me – binge eating is not going to solve your problems either. Don’t call your ex, and definitely don’t make any important decisions until you come out the other side.
TIME published a study that the ages at which we’re happiest are age 23 and 69 – but I don’t buy it. We can be as happy as we choose to be. Life isn’t always easy, so be kind to yourself, nurture yourself, and you will come through it. Feel free to add any more ideas in the comment boxes below!