On day “I have lost count” of quarantine, I find myself thinking about how I can be more positive. This year continues to change our finances and jobs, social connections and relationships, the ability to spend time with our families, and the ability to travel. On top of a year of political, economic, and civil upheaval, it can be extremely hard to maintain any type of positivity in your life. Despite all of that, I wanted to provide some ways to maintain your positivity as “Quaran2020” continues to drag on.
1. If you want to cultivate positivity into your life, be mindful of your speech and thoughts.
I genuinely believe that if you use hateful speech against others or think about yourself in negative ways, your personal views and world outlook becomes equally negative. I know it can be easier said than done, but think about the words you use to speak about yourself (internally and externally) and the words you use to describe others. If you find yourself using negative speech, try to identify positive things about others and yourself before expressing it. By speaking it into existence, you are only solidifying and validating the negative energy.
2. Nurture a positive environment with consistent positive thoughts and speech.
Write a mantra or a positive trait about yourself that you want to maintain and something you want to improve. You could easily find a mantra anywhere, but if the mantra is not something you believe in or will follow, it will not help with your positivity. Recite this mantra first thing in the morning or when you need a pick me up. If mantras do not work for you, write down a positive saying and read it every day or even write out those negative thoughts and write something positive below it. It is better to get out those negative thoughts then allow them to remain in your psyche.
3. Use your words to positively affect change in your life. Do not beat yourself up with negativity.
Each of us needs positivity to move through life. Life is already hard enough. Do not make it harder on yourself by becoming the main character in your negative narrative each day. When I look back in time, I am dismayed at the ideas I have voiced to myself. I was not especially kind to myself and created a sea of negative narratives that became self-fulfilling insights into my future behaviors. Do not give the Negative Nancy or Negative Nate inside of you more fuel to keep her car running. Be kind to yourself and open yourself up to the idea that you can be a positive person or have more positive thoughts.
4. Move in positive ways. Give your body what it needs to thrive and remain open to change.
Exercise can help you understand or remember that your body can do so many amazing things. Moving positively can be as simple as walking, doing yoga, meditating, weightlifting, or going on a run. To increase the positive energy in your life, make sure you take the time to move. This movement can help you realize that you have been negative about certain aspects of your life, or it can give you the time to think about why you feel that way. Moving can be a catalyst for change or the small spark needed to energize your life.
5. Understand that change takes time. Do not get upset with yourself when negative thoughts intrude—work to find small doses of positivity.
This point is important. Do not get upset with yourself if you have not become a beam of sunshine overnight. This is not an immediate goal. You are looking to increase the positivity in your life, and that level of positivity is not the same for everyone. If you are having trouble with being positive, work to find one small positive thing in your day each day. This positive thing could be something as small as the fact that you woke up this morning and made it out of bed, you raked the leaves in the yard, you finished a work assignment, or you read a book for a few minutes. The positive thing does not have to be dramatic and amazing, but it involves you recognizing and appreciating the little things in your life.
When I am struggling or I find myself slipping after trying to change my behaviors, I remember to not get upset with myself and be sympathetic about the time it takes to change. You are working to improve your life. The consistency of being positive will become a habit, and it will become a persistent occurrence in your daily life. If all else fails, just fake a smile until it turns into a real one.