10 Steps on How to Get (and Stay) Positive

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
~Anais Nin

A place of positivity may seem like an unachievable dream, especially during hard times, but it’s not impossible. A positive mindset can be developed over time, and it is well worth the effort. For some it can mean the difference between life and death…

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~Marcus Aurelius

 

  1. Open Your Mind

An open mind is essential to gaining a positive mindset. This has enabled me to view people, places, and things from different viewpoints. From there I’ve been more able to see the positive in a negative situation.

An opportunity may present itself if I take the time to look at something from a different perspective.

 

2. Cultivate Positive Influences

  • Who do I spend the most time with?
  • Are my friends upbeat and positive, or do they mope and complain?
  • Are the situations I find myself in inspiring and uplifting, or sad, dull, or mundane?
  • What kind of TV shows do I watch? What books do I read? What do I look at on the internet?
  • What can I do to change this?

Garbage in = Garbage out. What I feed my mind affects my mood. Just like eating healthy foods is important for a healthy body, what I feed your mind affects my soul. I deserve to treat myself right.

 

3. Remember “The Pause”

If things are moving too fast and getting stressful, I slow down, take a step back, and breathe deep. Stress leads to negativity and can also be detrimental to my health. I take care of myself first. It’s easier to think through a difficult situation when I’m calm. I take a moment to refocus.

 

4. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Nothing cheers me up quite like doing something nice for someone else, especially when it’s unexpected. If I can add value to someone else’s life, my positivity expands tenfold! When I treat people the way I like to be treated, even if I’m not in the greatest mood myself that day, it comes back to me, and positivity is spread throughout the whole day. The seeds I plant are what I will reap.

 

5. Sleep and exercise

This comes back to self-care. If I’m tired and cranky I’m not taking care of myself and it will eventually manifest into a whirlwind of negativity. I try to set myself up for success every day, and taking care of my body is a big part of this daily routine.

 

6. Constructive Criticism is Good

I don’t take it personally when someone criticizes me. Unless they have some malicious intent (in which case that’s on them, not my problem), I take it in a healthy way with an open mind.

I ask myself:

Criticism can be a very good thing with the right mindset. It can open up new possibilities I may not have noticed before. It’s good to have an open line of communication and back-and-forth with someone else. It helps keep my ego in check.

 

7. Set the Tone for the Day in the Morning

I have a morning routine which includes meditation and gratitude. I actually begin my day the night before by making sure I get to bed in time to get enough sleep. Long gone are the days I burn the candle at both ends, and I will never go back to that. I like my life too much now to go back to that dark place.

Next I do a quick set of push-ups, squats, or if I have time, a quick walk or jog around the block. Just something to get my blood pumping. And coffee.

The gratitude list is what helps me the most. That is my number one way to start off my day. If I only have time for one thing, it’s the gratitude list.

 

8. Be Mindful Throughout the Day

I try not to focus on the past or future, but on the task at hand. When I catch my mind wandering into worry or regret, I quickly re-center and move on. It takes practice, but it make a big difference. Resentments, anger, and fear fuel negativity. I must be mindful when my thoughts drift in that direction.

 

9. Avoid Negative People

Not all negative people are avoidable, but I don’t have to engage with them. I won’t let them be in my head for too long, and I refuse to entertain them for long either. I move on as quickly as possible. I refuse to let them live rent free in my head.

 

10. Only Compare Myself to Who I Used to Be, Not to Other People

  • Have I improved my life over the last several years? Yes I have.
  • Is my life as good as my neighbors? Who cares?

A sure-fire way for me to fall into the vortex of negativity is to start comparing myself to other people. The only person I need to compare myself to is me. Worrying about trying to be as good as or better than others leads down the road to selfishness, anger, and self-hatred. The opposites of positivity.

 

Kindness matters. When I spread happiness and joy to others and it is returned to me. This is my experience.

Acceptance matters. When I choose acceptance over expectation I tend to stay more in the positive. This is my experience.

Gratitude matters. When I focus on what I have as opposed to what I don’t, my life gets better. This is my experience.

 

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.

~Henri Nouwen

 

 

~Thanks for reading,

LC

 

 

Rejection as a Learning Experience

Rejection might seem like the end of the world but the sting will always pass with time. When I look at rejection from a stance of growth rather than fear, I’m better equipped to learn ways to improve myself. Rejection and failure are not so distant cousins and both provide an opportunity for learning and growth.

Fear of rejection has held me back from countless opportunities because I didn’t want to face the fact that maybe I’m not as awesome as I think I am. However, if I don’t experience rejection occasionally I won’t be able to see flaws in myself or make improvements. Lack of rejection gives me a false sense of perfection that will be damaging in the long run. How I handle rejection is imperative to my spiritual growth. It has helped make me a “grownup.”

The new opportunities rejection can bring are endless. It forces me to consider different ways of doing things, ways that could possibly be even better than before. Giving up on something just because I got rejected is not an option for me anymore. Today I choose not to sit and wallow in my unworthiness. I want to explore new possibilities. Rejection gets me back out there meeting new people, going to different places, and trying out new things. Rejection can be a blessing in disguise. It’s all about what mindset I choose to invoke when dealing with it.

If I utilize the mindset of using rejection as a learning experience rather than an attack on my ego I can gain valuable insights on who I am and how I present to the world. I can learn ways to improve how I act and what I say. I can learn new ways of doing things. Some of these may even be better than how I currently practice. Rejection doesn’t need to be feared. It’s a fact of life. Everyone experiences it. If I fear rejection I fear life, and hiding from my fears isn’t living, so it’s best for me to accept rejection and learn from it rather than fear it, because it’s happened before and it will happen again. When it happens again, I will tweak my performance and carry on. I have to remember that just because I got rejected doesn’t mean I’m “less than.” It just means I wasn’t a good fit for a particular person, place, or thing.

Acknowledge it, learn from it, let it go.

Learning how to accept rejection has been a crucial part of my personal growth. First, I had to realize rejection isn’t actually an assault on my ego. Often times rejection actually has nothing to do with me. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I can accept rejection better by getting in the right mindset first. I have to let go of any and all expectations I have of whatever the outcome will be. If I obsess over it, the more disappointed I’ll be when I get rejected. I don’t seek a reason for the rejection. All I have to do is respect the other person’s wishes. If I get a reason, great! I can learn from it. There’s no reason to create more misery for myself or the other person by asking why. The sooner I can let it go, the sooner I can move on with my life. No need to get sucked into the vortex of resentments and fear.

I accept rejection for my own peace of mind. If I give power to rejections I am certain to be cast into a vicious downward spiral with no end in sight. If I want to be an adult I have to accept the fact that things won’t always go my way. That’s just a fact of life, and I can’t take it personally.

When facing rejection there are things I can do to ease the discomfort. I can meditate on it, ask my higher power for guidance, let it go, and move on. I can prioritize things more important than fixating on the “why” of a rejection so I can learn from it and grow into a stronger, more resilient adult.

I can now recognize that when one door closes, another opens. I shift my focus to the next right thing. Experience has taught me the more I obsess over something the more miserable I get. I take action to get out of my own head rather than dwell on “what if”.

~Thanks for reading
LC

The Power of “The Pause”

Somewhere in my recovery I learned about a powerful tool that I like to call The Pause. I figured out, with some help, that I didn’t always need to reply with a quick snarky answer, or any answer at all in some cases. The Pause has kept me out of a lot of trouble since I started using it…

The trouble with it is actually remembering to use it. In the heat of the moment it’s easy for me to just blurt something out that may or may not be helpful or kind. I keep practicing though, pausing before I speak or act out, and it is now becoming almost second nature.

I try to ask myself and answer the 3 questions guaranteed to keep me in line:

1. Does it need to be said?

2. Does it need to be said now?

3. Does it need to be said by me?

When I’m irritated at a person or situation, the answer to all three of these questions is usually “no.” I can save myself a lot of grief later by utilizing The Pause and keeping my mouth shut now. The same principle can be applied to actions, not just words.

Another helpful set of questions I can ask myself before speaking that has been shared with me is T.H.I.N.K.

1. Is it True?

2. Is it Helpful?

3. Is it Inspiring?

4. Is it Necessary?

5. Is it Kind?

Practicing The Pause has helped make me a better person, and happier as well. It has enabled me to open my mind to other ideas because I’m not using my brain to quickly come up with a quick retort or snappy comeback.

The Pause has been an essential tool in my spiritual toolkit. It has saved me from having to make thousands of apologies and amends for my words and actions, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.

Just practice.

~Thanks for reading
LC