It’s not always easy to look at the positives when you’re having a rubbish day, but Amanda tells us it can be done, it just takes a little practice
Positivity comes naturally to me now, however it was not always that way. In the past I found that I could get wrapped up in periods of negativity but, over the years, I’ve learned how to be positive, daily. Whether you call yourself upbeat or not – it’s something that we all have the ability to create. Very often we say, “he/she is such a positive person, I’m just not programmed that way”. Well, guess what? You can be! Because positivity is a mind set; it’s about using ways to change negative thoughts into positive ones and, like anything, if you practice enough, you can get very good at it. Our thoughts are the one thing we can control; we control the next thought that comes into our heads – so make sure it’s a good one. Often people say to me, “I just can’t help it.” But, I’m here to tell you, you can – and here’s how:
Start a gratitude diary: Maybe try mentally at first, saying things to yourself like – “I’m so lucky and grateful that I have this hot water in my shower – millions don’t even have fresh water to drink,” or, “I am so grateful for this lovely pillow and mattress, some people don’t even have a roof over their heads”. By layering up these grateful thoughts, you’ll find that you become naturally more positive by a form of mental osmosis.
Change how you speak to yourself and others: The language in which we speak to ourselves is also crucial for a positive outlook. Simple NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) tips can really help when trying to project a more positive outlook. For example, by switching the word “but” for “and”, you will feel instantly better, so when you say something like, “Oh your jumper is lovely… but,” it immediately feels negative. Instead try, “Oh your jumper is lovely… and” – all of a sudden it feels like a better message. Or, rather than say, “I am a control freak,” switch it for, “I really enjoy having a sense of order, it makes me smile”. Remember, labels are divisive and can often be negative.
Complain less: When you want to complain about something that really does not need to be complained about, stop, breathe and move on. Often it is our ego at play and we feel a sense of injustice – we are all the hero of our own story, right? Well, ignore your ego and follow the light – in fact, be the light. This simple trick is a huge help towards positivity. People like to moan and be negative and it’s contagious, so be the odd one out and walk away from the situation.
Stay away from social media: Try to look at your Instagram feed less by using tricks like not scrolling through it first thing in the morning. Charge your phone in the kitchen and don’t pick it up until you’re leaving the house, or give yourself a limit and turn your screen time settings into a reminder that you’ve spent enough time on social media. Looking at other people’s lives in the morning will inevitably set you up for a negative day; let’s say someone has been invited to a party that you have not – naturally the ego gets in the way and could put you in a bad mood.
I surround myself with positive people: In the past few years I’ve moved away from people who always seem to be negative. And the outcome is that I now feel more positive. Sometimes it’s a difficult decision to make to walk away from old friends, but you have to remember that your mental health is more important. Be mindful and spend less time with, or cull, those people who bring you negative energy.
Exercise: Working out is a fantastic way to boost your energy and feel brighter. Always make sure you’re exercising for the right reasons – to become, or to stay, healthy. When exercise is only ever used as a weight loss tool, it can become a very negative and stressful environment. Enjoy your workouts and use them as a way to treat your body with the respect it deserves.
Music can be a great positivity boost: Listen to music that makes you smile – even if it’s Christmas music in March, who cares? If it makes you happy, just do it!
Rather than feeling like I have to be positive all the time, I look at it that I want to feel good all the time. So, if I’m feeling down then I have to process why I’m having these feelings and then work on changing that. If I’m feeling sorry for myself, I allow myself to wallow for a while and then I have to find the positive spin. There’s always one – being alive, being the obvious first choice!