Positivity is contagious. It is so inspiring and wonderful to see in others. I mean have you ever been around a negative person? Have you ever noticed how utterly draining it is to be around that person? How they seem to just suck the air right out of the room and fill it with slowly boiling water as if ready for the entire room to burn to death – maniacal bastards.
I have been around my fair share of negative people and there is absolutely nothing enticing about their personality. Not for me, no thanks, I’ll run in the other direction.
Undoubtedly, though, we all have periods in our lives where we don’t feel positive; periods where things happen that make us feel quite NOT positive, to say the least.
How do we try and find that positivity again? Or how do we just try to be more positive people in general?
Some of you may be surprised to know that I have always been called a positive person. Since I was a little thing people have always looked at me with silly awe as if positivity was a lost art form found in the ruins of Egypt. Maybe it is; the older I get the more I understand that perhaps it indeed actually is.
But what is positivity? Really. What actually is it? Is it really just this innate happy person that always see’s the glass half full?
I’m not convinced. And I’ll tell you why I’m not.
Ever heard of fake it until you make it? That comes to mind when I think about this topic.
See, it would be absolute hog wash if someone told you that they were always positive. That’s crap. If someone tells you that call them a liar.
No one is always positive. But I think a lot of people make the choice to be more positive people.
I am one of those people. Apparently, I always have been.
But I’m really not a positive person innately. I have depression, I suffer from anxiety, and I have debilitating self-consciousness at times.
I have had 101 reasons in my life not to be positive. And if I asked one of you reading this; you probably do too.
I mean JESUS, have you seen the world we live in. I can barely turn on the News *over dramaticized sigh*
No look, what I’m getting at is simple. If you want to be a more positive person it’s honestly just about doing the damn thing.
There are days where I’m in a batshit fuck off mood. Where I’m depressed, anxious and don’t want to be out in public, but if I pass someone on the street, I’m going to give them an 100% Nita smile.
Why? Because I learned long ago that fake it till you make it actually blimmin’ well works. And it works because if you program yourself to behave a certain way, do certain things, you actually start believing them and enjoying them.
And what’s got me on this rant anyway?
Well the other day I was feeling useless. I felt like a total negative Nancy. I was driving and hollering at just about everyone that passed by. I was in a down right awful mood, and it got me thinking about what motivates me to be the normally positive me. What were the tactics that I had learned over time that went towards the *usually* positive Nita, and most importantly, how was I going to use those to get me out of that dreadfully negative mood?
And I guess the point that I want to make is that positivity isn’t innate – I think it is something you can learn how to do, but I do think it is something you have to choose to do – you know, as in put the conscious effort in to do it.
I also think a huge part about being more positive for me is that I just don’t like being a drag on other people. I feel like that is kind of a waste of my time (and probably theirs). There is enough wasted energy in this life; why waste more bringing people down?
That doesn’t mean you have to always be in a yippidy skippit mood though. Screw that.
I just mean, over time, if you want to be, you can choose to be a more positive person.
So, I thought I’d share some of my tricks for being more positive!
I rarely complain… complaining is one of my biggest pet peeves. It is one of those traits that negative people have, and it is one of those traits that I find reaaaally draining. Suffice it to say then, that I rarely take time out of my day to complain.
I’ll preface this now as well; I’m not talking about ALL complaints. I’m human too ya know – I‘ve been there. Sometimes we all just need a random and nonsensical whine about something in order to get over it. My partner will be the first to say that I need more than a random amount (his view doesn’t count though of course). No, I’m talking about ongoing and reoccurring behaviours that start to form an overall negative approach to our lives.
There are a few elements to complaining that I don’t like;
The first is that complaining is, usually, useless. For example, I know a lot of students at university who complain about courses, lecturers or assessments. It is useless! Unless there is an egregious mistake going on (which sometimes there might be!), just because an assessment or lecturer is hard on you doesn’t make you a victim or them the devil. If you are angry because someone/something is challenging you, voicing that anger in complaints is just wasting the time that you could be spending on tackling whatever it is that is challenging you in the first place.
The second thing that I don’t like about complaining is that it is not constructive. Whining about how you’re upset and how hard something is does not make it any easier. It will not change anything. But if you reframe your negative feelings into a more productive arena, such as, ooooh, I don’t know – being positive – then you are actually making steps towards something that you can change in a constructive way.
For example –
N ‘ooooh this is so hard, crap I’m going to fail, whinge whinge whinge’
P Instead, ‘Man I find this rather difficult, I think I’m going to have to put in more work, but if I get this I’ll be really proud of myself.’ Or;
P ‘hey, yeah I think that was really difficult, but I think you can do a lot better next time, especially if you look over what you’ve done wrong. That was a great effort and you’ll get it next time.’
Being constructive sets you on a path to being more positive.
Smile. A lot… This actually helps! Believe it or freakin not. I know it’s cliché, but if it’s cliché, it’s for a reason – and that reason is that it works! Smiling more in general; to yourself, to random people, to the kid in the car next to you with his tongue on the window – it is going to start having a positive effect on your overall mood. More than that, it will have an effect on your willingness to engage in more positive behaviours!
Communicate more… when your mind is jumbled with all the things you should be saying, you can often start to lash out with the things you don’t mean to say. You can become reactive rather than responsive. If you start communicating more with the people around you, you will have less negative word vomit. Instead, you will have a clear slate in which to focus, if you want – on being more positive!
Go out in nature… there is psychology behind this part! Without going into this too much; the basic premise is that we use a great deal of sustained attention in our day to day lives. Modern society is packed with stuff – some people work 50 hour weeks, you might have been cramming for an exam the last 25 hours, etc. etc.
This depletes our ability to focus, as well as the energies we have for other tasks in our lives. That means we have less energy to focus on being conscious and present in ourselves. It also means we have less energy to consciously engage with things/attitudes that are positive.
Going out in nature basically re-energises our attention. It takes it off ‘high’ and turns it down to ‘low.’ Simultaneously, it gives the batteries a bit of a charge.
There is also another part – being in nature makes us a bit calmer, a little less highly strung. I think that helps us learn to just take a second and focus on being more positive, or at least being more able to see the positive side to things around us.
Be more empathetic… The more I engage with the world around me, the more I put myself into other peoples shoes and really try to understand where they are coming from – the more motivated I am to a more positive person. Why? I am starting to realise that it’s because the more I understand the world around me, the more I see and feel what others go through; the more I see that the world around us can be really ugly – the more I see and understand all that, the LESS I want to be part of that ugliness and negativity.
Instead, I want to be the smile on someones bad day; the moment of relief in someones overly busy day.
The more I opened myself up in my life to feel the world around me; really feel it; the more I just wanted to be a more positive person.
Get rid of toxic things in your life… plain and simple; if you want to be a more positive person, you have to be willing to get rid of the people or things in your life that are toxic or negative. The ripples of negativity know no bounds – if you surround yourself with it – it will come and eat you. Toxic things debilitate your ability to choose positivity. Why? Because they are like toxic rain showers that never end – they suck the positivity from the room until you have no idea what positivity even means any more.
I have had my fair share of toxic people/things in my life; and I can vouch for this one – the moment you let them go, or in some cases, kick them straight out the door, you will start being able to make the choice to be more positive.
This also includes things that BECOME toxic. Like social media. If it is something that is beginning to turn you into a negative person, you need to moderate or get rid of it. Really though, how is anyone supposed to be a positive person when they are concerned with numbers on a screen or follows on an account? Balance, but also, knowing when its time to cut the reigns so that you can be a more positive you.
Appreciate the crumbs… changing behaviours is all about appreciating the little successes. Being a more positive person is about the crumbs just as much as it is about the whole cookie. It is about the little choices that you make every day to see things more positively, or be more positive to those around you, or just be more positive to yourself!
Like smiling more, the little things you do have a huge impact. The crumbs are what makes the entire cookie happen; it is the cookies foundation! So, every day try and make those small decisions to be more positive.
For example, today I’ve drank 3 bottles of water. Instead of telling myself that that’s not good enough, I’m going to tell myself ‘halfway there!” instead of ‘halfway behind.’
Turn some good music right on up… RIGHT UP! Play your tunes and give yourself a moment to just feel joy and bliss in your soul. Hold on to that feeling – feel that? That whole feeling of goodness? Take that moment and just multiply that into every area of your life. That is what being more positive is all about. It is about taking the negative crap that life throws at us and making the decision to choose to see things in a more positive light.
Get a pet.. and then love the crap out of that pet… my dog reminds me every day that positivity is the best choice. One smile from him? Got me – I’ll never be negative in my life again. Not knowing that that smile exists in this world!
Sometimes being positive can seem like an awfully daunting task. I’ll be the first to say that life throws us a million and one reasons to be negative. But I think we gain so much more from, what can be, a beautiful journey, if we choose to be positive. And I really honestly believe being positive is a choice.
Choosing to be positive makes us more willing to engage with ourselves and change behaviours that don’t serve us. It makes us more willing to get rid of people or things that don’t bring value (or just bring toxic shiz) to our lives.
I know oh too well the days when positivity seems to have run out the front door and escaped in a get away car. But on days like this I think about the long term strategies that I’ve learned, and I know I’m going to be bigger than the negativity; I’m going to be motivated to choose positivity.
Until next time; stay inspired, stay motivated, and stay positive!