There is so much talk out there about “promoting what you love” and “positive thinking.” Yeah, it sounds nice. But to most, optimism is like homework. Easy to get, hard to keep up with, and not something you always feel like doing, even though it is necessary. However, just like how practice makes perfect, working on positivity now can aid you in the future; because what is the future without hope?
First, can we discuss why defeatist thinking is not cool? Though it might feel fine to complain and “get things off your chest” once in awhile, no one likes a Debbie Downer. Not even your brain! Through sustained pessimism, the brain can easily get hardwired to see the bad in everything.
Self-induced depression, disordered patterns of thinking (like eating disorders and addiction), and even suicide can occur as a result of persistent negativity. If you feel like you are headed down that path, please seek help alongside doing self-help techniques like the ones listed below. You are not alone.
HOW OPTIMISM CHANGES YOU
The world might be dull and gray sometimes, but if you know optimism, even the faintest of rays of the sun give you joy. Even in the rain, you can find shelter. It is really about changing the way you perceive what happens to you and how you react to those events.
For example, rather than scorning your teacher for giving you a bad grade on that essay or bashing yourself for not being good enough, change how you see the grade. It might suck to get a sub-par grade, sure, but sour grapes are not the answer. Someone who thinks positively will think, “Where did I make the mistake? How can I learn from it? What do I need to do next time to make this better?”
When you view the world optimistically, you see the good even in the bad. Okay, you made a mistake. No one is perfect, and who wants to be? Strive to be better next time. Do not give up or demoralize yourself.
HOW TO HARNESS POSITIVITY
There is a theory called “Build and Broaden” used by those seeking to promote positive thinking. This means you choose something that makes you happy, content, joyful, or any mixture of the three and you develop or somehow integrate that thing (hobby, mantra, practice, etc.) into your life.
Here are some ways to empower yourself and bring on the good vibes:
I know, it sounds corny. But smiling feels good, right? That is why it happens when you laugh or see your crush across a crowded room or when your dog actually listens to the sit command for once. So when you feel low, smile. Feel stressed? Smile.
2. Take Responsibility
Playing victim gets you nowhere. Change only happens when you take control of your life. If things fall by the wayside, only you have the power to make it right.
Let out the bad thoughts by journaling or blogging. That way, you can assess what is happening or what makes you upset. Also, write down things that made you happy. Record motivating quotes. Write stories of triumph.
4. Be Kind
Step one is being kind to yourself. Ditch the toxic friends and find those who support you. Then, show some gratitude. Compliment others as often as you compliment yourself.
5. Meditate or Practice Yoga
Clear your mind and reduce stress with holistic exercises like these. Even 20 minutes a day can help you look deep inside to find the answers you stress. Plus, exercising, even meditation, releases endorphins.
All of these activities help not only clear your current bad mood, they can help you discover parts of yourself you did not understand before. When you know who you are and what makes you happy, it is easier to make choices that stick with you down the road. Not only that, but these empowerment methods can be used at school, work, and even in relationships.
Harness optimism and let the good vibes through. The more your smile, the brighter your world becomes. Anything is possible with positivity!