September 16th, 2013

10 Tips For Staying Positive

I often get asked how I stay positive all the time. The truth is: I don’t. While I do make a conscious effort to look on the bright side and see the good in the world, sometimes it just doesn’t work and I feel blue.

Just like everyone else, occasionally I fall into funks. (Funk: (noun) the super-technical term for a period of time you’re feeling down, sad, insecure, or pessimistic about some or every aspect of your life.)

Some of my funks last a day or two, and some can last for months on end. Often it’s related to what’s going on in my life at the moment, but other times, emotions just… happen.

Over the years I’ve figured out a few things that work for me to help pull me out of my funk. I present my top 10 tips for staying positive – maybe some of these will work for you!

  1. Surround yourself with good people. This is first on the list because it is absolutely the most important. Nobody gets through life alone. People need people, so picking the right ones to live your life with is essential. If you’re lucky enough to have a great family that supports you, spend time with them. Otherwise, find people you really connect with. People you love, who you can talk to about anything and everything. People you can call to squeee about something exciting, or cry to. Who will share in both your successes and failures. Friends are the family you get to choose, and we become like the five people we spend the most time with. So choose carefully! No matter what you’re dealing with in your life, big or small – friends, family, and loved ones are on your team and will make everything a little bit easier to bear.
  2. Clean up and organize your space. I used to hugely underestimate the effect my environment has on my mood. As a creative person, my space can get rather messy, but going through my things, organizing them, cleaning up, and getting rid of junk is amazingly therapeutic. When my room is all neatly squared away I love my space, and I just feel great. Plus, cleaning and organizing makes you feel productive, which also helps boost your self-esteem. So get cracking on that closet!
  3. Document moments of joy. This is important because we tend to remember moments of pain so much easier than we do moments of love and happiness. Happiness leaves no scars, so we have to record those moments in other ways. I do this two ways, and my blog is actually one of them! It’s a place for me to remember wonderful times I’ve had in my life, and memories with my friends. My own memory is so fleeting, so it’s important for me to keep track of the good. Another method I use is to write down all the good things that happen to me, whether it’s a compliment someone gave, or something I succeeded at. That way, when things are looking bleak and I just feel terrible about myself, I can read over those moments and remember that there were fantastic times, and there will be more.
  4. Get your jam on. There are certain songs that make me smile and want to boogie no matter how I’m feeling. These will be different for everyone, but it’s important to collect your own personal “jams” and make a mix of happy, upbeat music. Depending on the scale of what you’re dealing with, a dance party for one might be just want you need to lift yourself out of your funk – maybe with funk! (3 of my favorite feel-good-guarantee songs: Bennie & The JetsI Wanna Be (500 Miles), and of course: I Feel Good.)
  5. Eat healthy (or don’t). This is sort of a two-pronged approach, depending on the situation. When I’m down, sometimes I need to take a day (or two, or three) to indulge in all my comfort-food cravings. And that’s perfectly okay. But in the long term, eating healthy will not only make your body feel great, but you’ll feel good about yourself, because treating yourself well is a form of self-love. You deserve the best! Having proper nutrition also helps with all the little vanity things, like clearer skin, shiner hair, and stronger nails, which might help boost your self-esteem if you’re feeling low. A well balanced diet can also help boost your mood and battle depression. (Get some recipe ideas from me here!)
  6. Get movin’. When you’re feeling down, usually the last thing you want to do is get your butt kicked at the gym. And I’m not saying you have to. (I tend to prefer tucking myself into a blanket burrito with tea and Netflix.) Even something small like going for a walk outside helps to clear my head. The fresh air, change of scenery (try somewhere lovely, like a nature trail or park) and bit of physical activity helps to release endorphins which make you feel great. And to tie in with tip #5, doing something healthy and positive for yourself will help boost your self-esteem and demonstrate self-love. If it’s cold and you’re not in the mood for a walk or run outdoors or at the gym, try some yoga, or put on your favorite jams and dance like a flailing maniac in your room. Anything helps!
  7. Do what you love. If you feel like you’re in a rut with your life, it’s probably because you’re not pursing what you’re truly passionate about. True, not all careers pay the same, and some are more stable than others, job-wise. But if you do what you love, you will feel fulfilled and happy even if you’re making less money than if you had picked the “safe” job. Or if changing career paths feels way too scary for you (I don’t blame you, it’s a big decision), you can still pursue your passion on the side, as a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with that! As long as you allow yourself to do the things that bring you joy, and make you feel fulfilled, it’s all good. As an example, I love singing. I’m not particularly good at it and have no future in it professionally, but I sing around the house and when I’m with my friends and that makes me happy. :)

  8. Treat yo’ self. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make “you” time. Everyone has little things that relax them and make them happy. For me, it’s taking a long bath, having a good meal, lighting a candle, listening to music, reading a book, or watching a favorite movie or show. Obviously there isn’t always enough time to do all of that in one day. But even just taking 15 or 30 minutes before bed, or in the morning, to indulge yourself in something you enjoy will make your life seem better. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. 
  9. Stop comparing your life to others. This is arguably the toughest tip to follow on this list. In truth, though I try my best not to compare myself and my life to other peoples’, I slip up all the time. It’s difficult not to, but comparing yourself to others is detrimental to your happiness. You are you, and will only ever be you, no matter how hard you wish or try to be like someone else. You will only ever have your life. So get good with that, and do your best to accept yourself exactly as you are. Besides – as glamorous and perfect as someone’s life might look from the outside, it never is. Nobody has it all. Everyone is dealing with their own personal demons and heartbreak, whether or not they broadcast their problems to the world. So when you compare yourself to someone else, you are not doing so fairly. You are actually comparing yourself to the illusion of someone else, so naturally you will come out feeling like the worse of the pair! Focus on yourself, and strive to be the best you can be, and making your life the best it can be. Pretend you have blinders on! “A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like [people] too.” – Miranda Kerr
  10. Cut out the toxic parts of your life. You can do every single thing on this list, but if you skip this one, chances are you probably will be unhappy. So many people tolerate things they shouldn’t, out of a feeling of obligation, or maybe low self-esteem. You do not have to tolerate people who hurt you or make you feel low. I am going to attempt a sports analogy even though I know nothing of sports. Think of everyone in your life as one giant sports team. Your team. This team’s purpose is to strive to make you the best you can be. If one member of this team is always making snide remarks about you, THEY GET CUT. If someone is constantly putting you down or causing unnecessary drama, THEY GET CUT. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Any member of the team who is not being productive and helping reach the goal gets cut, until you’re left only with a group of people who care about and support you. This may seem extreme, but it isn’t. Even family isn’t exempt from this. If you have a family member that is abusive, whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically, you are not obligated to keep them in your life, just because they’re “family”. You deserve better than that. You do not need to spend time with anyone who drags you down.
  11. Bonus: Be kind to others. Even the smallest act of kindness can mean so much to somebody. But not only that – doing something nice for someone else will make you feel amazing. And when you feel great on the inside, it shines through you like sunbeams, making everyone you come into contact with feel a little better too. Happiness is contagious!

There you have it, the best advice I can give on living a happy and fulfilled life. Check out my “Bits of Wisdom” board on Pinterest for more beautiful little inspirations.

If you have any more tips, please leave a comment, because I’d love to hear them, and maybe try them out! Also let me know if you find advice-type posts like these helpful. :) xx

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