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I can't begin to tell you how much my life has changed over the course of the past six months because I finally decided to change my outlook on things. I want to be happy in all that I do and so I try to be as positive as possible. After force-feeding myself positive thoughts on a daily basis (and believe me, it was not easy to see the good in many situations in my life at the start of this), it became a habit and eventually turned into instinct.
I no longer think the worst in any given situation. I try to see the best in people and opportunities. When my mind starts down the ever-familiar road of negative thoughts, I steer it in a different direction. It's not always easy though. After a lifetime of feeling like everything is against you and you'll never catch a break, sometimes the mind reverts back to that thought process without telling it to. Old habits and all that.
These are a few things that I've learned will help keep me positive when I find myself falling back down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and negativity.
Start the day with a smile - Every morning when my alarm goes off, I wake up to Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," and I can't help but smile. Find something that makes you feel good right away. I have a routine in the morning when I get up (after dancing and singing a few lines along with Nina). The first thing I do is open my blinds and let the light in. It instantly brightens my room and my mood and I feel like I can take on the day. Getting in a positive mindset first thing in the morning sets the mood for the rest of your day.
Work It Out - I use exercise as a stress-killer. Sure, it's a great way to stay in shape and get healthy. And yes, the added benefit of losing a few pounds makes me feel better about myself. But the number one reason why I workout on an almost daily basis now; stress relief. I am lucky to work from home so I have more flexibility with my daily schedule than most people. I do, however, work long days and it's not odd for me lately to work into the early morning hours. Whenever I am starting to feel overwhelmed with everything on my plate at the moment, I hit an imaginary pause button and go workout instead. The work is always there when I get back, but taking an hour to do some kind of exercise or activity helps me to keep a positive mindset and be more productive when I come back to my desk. I can't tell you the number of times it has saved me from a complete melt-down in the past few weeks alone.
Overwhelm Yourself with Positivity - I believe that part of keeping a positive mindset is training your mind to think and believe positive things. I love reading and writing, so I read poetry and quotes (I'm addicted to them and anyone that follows me on instagram will attest to that!) that help keep my mind inspired. I keep a journal of simple notes and pictures that conjure happiness and use it daily to remind me what I'm working towards and the things that I am thankful for.
Surround Yourself with Positive People - It's interesting how much the attitudes of those around you affect you. I didn't realize it until a few people were removed from my life that always encouraged negativity. If you want to be a more positive person or remain the positive person you currently are, it's important to surround yourself with people that feel the same way. You can help motivate each other to find new perspectives when you are starting to feel down.
Be Grateful - This goes back to that journal that I mentioned above. Start making notes of the little things you are thankful for. It helps to have these things written down so you can refer back to them whenever you're starting to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders or that everything is stacked against you. It's a great tool to have when someone throws a negative comment your way or something happens that ruins your upbeat mood.
Implementing these few, simple things has made such an incredible impact on my life and state of mind. Negative thoughts are going to happen. It's incredibly difficult to remain positive 100% of the time, but being aware of a negative mindset or thoughts as they happen allows you to change your state of mind by using some of the tools above. You can start with one and add it into your daily life. Before long, it'll become natural to revert to positivity instead of actively choosing it.