Escaping Negativity: Maintaining a Positive Lifestyle
Negativity can seem like a losing battle. One thing goes wrong, then another, and then another, and you eventually wind up trapped in your own web of bad thoughts. An optimistic outlook on the world is also a healthy one; you’d be surprised how much of a difference a positive change in attitude makes. If you’re just having a bad day (or week, or month), don’t be discouraged. Keep the following things in mind and consider making some positive changes to your mindset and lifestyle.
Begin with a positive environment, both physically and socially. Firstly, you should feel comfortable and confident around your group of friends, since they are the people you see day-to-day. If you constantly feel bogged down by their negativity—and especially if they disrespect you or put you down—maybe it’s time to reconsider who you spend your time with. Your physical environment is also important, especially if it’s a place that you spend a lot of time in (e.g. your work area). Even the simplest changes to a space (your favourite music, natural lighting or a comfortable chair) can improve your mood.
Being positive doesn’t necessarily equate to having a perfect day; rather, it’s not letting the little things that go wrong completely ruin it. If you keep going back to the one “terrible” thing that happened to you in the morning, you’re going to feel sour throughout the entire day. Instead, it helps to have something to look forward to, even if it doesn’t seem like much at first—even something like looking forward to the weekend can do wonders for your motivation. Focus on that positive goal, and you’ll be able to handle all the wrenches in your plans with ease.
Self-improvement is important. Often it can be helpful to evaluate what you did wrong (what part of that test you messed up, or what you said to your parents that made them angry). However, there is a fine line between self-improvement and negativity, and always focusing on your mistakes can make you forget all about the good parts of your life. When you’re giving yourself constructive criticism, treat it as a positive learning experience, not as an excuse to hate on yourself. You’ll learn more in the process and feel better about yourself, too.
Finally, be thankful for what you have. Are you struggling under exam pressure? Did your professors assign too many readings? Somewhere out there, there’s an individual who can’t afford school at all—and would love to be in your shoes. There are lots of issues that seem huge in the moment, but in due time you realize how insignificant or silly they actually are. This is in no way an attempt to devalue your problems: everyone has problems! Just remember there’s definitely someone out there who not only shares your feelings, but might have a more serious issue on their hands.
Stay positive and stay happy.