How to stay positive in a sea of negativity
In a world filled with, lets just say A LOT going on, sometimes it's hard to stay optimistic. Trust me, I know the ins and outs of anxiety ridden days filled with fears of the future, or even fears of the next five minutes. It's a roller coaster ride, and not the fun kind. However, just because your circumstances, or others circumstances around you are urging you to give into the doom and gloom, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to.
There is power in optimism. Not necessarily pretending to be oblivious to the horrors out there, but to put on the mindset that things can get better, there still is good in the world, and try your best to find it.
Here are some practical tips I use daily to keep my head out of the negative and focus on the positive.. I know you've heard them all before, but this is my spin on each of them:
1) Practice Gratitude
I write down things I am grateful for, or I say them out loud. Negativity and gratitude cannot be present at the same time. So if you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of negative thinking, immediately start to focus on things you are grateful for. Maybe keep an ongoing note in your phone if it gets to hard to come up with them off the top of your head. We all have at least one thing to be grateful for.
This goes hand in hand with gratitude. I know that sitting still may scare the pants off of some of you. I personally am not good at sitting still and meditating, I find my mind racing even more. However, one skill that I have began to try and master is physically doing things and meditating. I'm not sure if this is a legit practice, so don't quote me on it, however, I am able to get into my deepest thoughts and find that my mantras, or intentions tend to sink in more when I am physically doing something and actively meditating. I go to a heated yoga sculpt most weekdays and with the combination of sweating profusely and getting my booty kicked, I am unable to focus on more than one thing at a time. I set an intention at the beginning of class and I focus on it for an hour. I leave feeling stronger (physically and mentally), and more at ease. This can also work with walking, jogging, cleaning up your house, and lots of other things. Get creative.
3) Reading (books)
I read a lot of books. I don't read often, only for about twenty minutes each morning, but those twenty minutes pack a punch. I personally LOVE books on personal development and these tend to keep me in a positive mindset, but can also sometimes be information overload. However, lots of different genre's of books can simply help you to switch your thought pattern in the moment. If you find yourself feeling down, grab a sparkling water, snuggle into your favorite chair, and pick up a book. You'll be surprised how your mind can get lost and after about 15-20 you'll usually feel better.
Books I've recently read and love:
- The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
- Everybody Always by Bob Goff
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” - Kurt Vonnegut
4) Reading (poetry or quotes)
This is a quote I tend to refer back to in order to reground myself
Writing out your thoughts can be very therapeutic. No, it doesn't have to start with Dear Diary. Just start babbling. Write about how you're feeling, write about your dreams, write about how much the world sucks, write about what you ate for lunch... just let it flow. It's a great way to organize a jumbled mind and physically get some of those thoughts out of your brain and onto paper. I find that once I have my thoughts written down my brain characteristically knows that it no longer needs to think about it or remember it because it knows it put it somewhere else for safe keeping. This doesn't always work with particularly hard to rid negative thoughts, but it should help.
6) FORCE YOURSELF TO DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE
It may be the last thing you want to do, but getting yourself up, out, and into a change of scenery can really inspire a mood/thought shift.