With all the negativity in the world, it can be easy to get dragged down. But positivity is a choice, and there are many ways we can intentionally foster more optimism, gratitude, and joy in our daily lives.
Practising acceptance, focusing on gratitude, surrounding ourselves with positive people, helping others, using positive self-talk, savouring little joys, laughing often, exercising, finding flow, and nurturing optimism can all help us maintain a positive mindset.
By making a conscious effort to incorporate these habits and perspectives into our routine, we can push back against negativity and live with more lightness and hope. Though the world may be dark at times, we hold the power to create our own inner light. Our attitude shapes our reality, so let us choose positivity.
Accept what you cannot change
Many times, our unhappiness stems from trying to control things that are out of our hands. Whether it’s fretting over the past or worrying about the future, these thoughts drain our energy and distract us from the present moment. To be more positive, practise accepting what you cannot change. Release the need to control everything and trust that things will work out as they are meant to.
Focus on gratitude
Taking time each day to consciously count your blessings is one of the most powerful ways to cultivate positivity. Keep a gratitude journal where you write down a few things you are thankful for, like your health, loved ones, freedoms, nature, opportunities, etc. Expressing gratitude shifts your mindset from lack to abundance. It reminds you of how much you already have rather than what you don’t have.
Surround yourself with positive people
The company you keep has an enormous impact on your mindset and outlook. Negative people drain your energy and bring you down, while positive people lift you up and inspire you. Choose to spend time with optimistic, supportive friends and family who share your values. Their positive energy is contagious. You’ll find it rubs off on you and helps you stay upbeat even during challenges.
One of the fastest ways to boost your mood is to do something kind for someone else. Helping others takes the focus off your own problems, increases feelings of connection and community, and gives you a sense of purpose. Volunteer for a cause you care about, surprise a friend with a card, donate to a charity, or simply hold the door open for the person behind you. Generosity in big and small ways cultivates positivity.
Practise positive self-talk
Much of our attitude springs from our inner dialogue. When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, consciously shift your inner voice to a more positive perspective. Don’t dwell on harsh self-criticism. Talk to yourself with compassion and encouragement instead. Imagine how a supportive friend would frame the situation. Positivity starts from within.
Savour the little joys
Positivity blooms when we appreciate the small delights each day holds. Savour your morning coffee, the smell of flowers, a smile from a stranger, and a colourful sunset. Train yourself to notice the little pleasures all around you rather than taking them for granted. Embracing and mindfully enjoying these moments cultivates gratitude and joy.
Laughter instantly uplifts your mood and is one of the most contagious expressions of positivity. Seek out humorous books and movies, spend time with funny friends, and watch silly cat videos online. Find reasons to laugh every day. Let go of uptightness and don’t take yourself too seriously. As the saying goes, “a day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Move your body
Physical movement is a proven way to boost positivity by releasing feel-good endorphins and reducing stress hormones like cortisol. Go for a walk, dance around your living room, take up yoga, or play a sport you enjoy. Match the type of exercise to your personality. Any activity that gets your heart pumping can help you feel more positive.
Get lost in flow
Being fully immersed in an activity you enjoy is a fast track to positivity. In a state of flow, you are challenged, engaged, and losing track of time. Pursue hobbies like gardening, knitting, reading, playing an instrument, and creative writing. Whatever puts you into a state of flow will leave you feeling positive and energised.
Optimists expect the best and focus on the bright side of any situation. You can train your brain to be more optimistic through positive thinking, visualising desired outcomes, and reframing setbacks more constructively. Believe in yourself and your ability to handle whatever arises, good or bad. The old adage rings true: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
Zara Hopewell is a mental health advocate and a wellness practitioner.