I am a firm believer that attitude is everything, and that maintaining positivity in your life can bring you some of the best gifts the universe has to offer. Over the past several months, I know that it has been hard for a lot of people to stay positive given the circumstances and uncertainty that has been surrounding so many of us, myself included, so here are some of my favorite ways to stay positive, no matter what.
For me, gratitude is one of the most grounding things and it always immediately puts me in a better mood to take a moment and remind myself of all of the amazing things that I do have. Every morning before I get out of bed, even before I check my phone, I say three things that I’m grateful for and three things that I’m looking forward to that day.
Even if it’s something simple, like being grateful for my extremely comfy bed, or looking forward to watching something on TV, the little things count, too. Also, I keep a gratitude journal and at the end of each day, I write down one specific thing from that day that I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an event, sometimes it’s something about myself.
The point is, remind yourself everyday that you have at least SOMETHING to be grateful for – because you do.
2. Start and end your day on a good note.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles to get out of bed in the morning, and sometimes loses motivation halfway through the day, so to combat that, I like to plan my day so that I do the two things I’m most excited about first and last.
I love to workout first thing in the morning – it gets my blood moving, I already feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I have more energy in the day. Plus, it’s my time to completely zone out and focus 100% on myself. So, every morning right after making my bed and having my first cup of coffee, I workout. Sometimes it’s just a 15 minute yoga video, but it’s better than nothing and it makes me feel good for the rest of the day.
Especially right now since during the day I’m busy with LSAT prep, law school applications, job hunting, and blogging, I like to have one thing at the end of the day to look forward to. I’m like a little kid, and I need to always have something to be excited about. Even if it’s just a new episode of “The Bachelorette,” or making my favorite mug cake recipe, I make sure to do one nice, fun thing for myself to reward myself for all the work I’ve done that day and to end my day on a good note. I also find that I sleep better when I do this.
3. Surround yourself with positive things.
Your environment can absolutely dictate your attitude. Personally, I’m a brat when things are cluttered or not clean so I know that my area needs to always be clean and organized for me to be able to focus.
Also, I make sure to have things that I like around me. I have a little “hippie tray,” as I call it, on my dresser that has all of my crystals and sage spray. My desk organizers are all in my favorite colors. My bookshelves are full of books and photos and other random things that make me happy. I don’t keep things that make me think of bad times, or moments where I was sad, or that just don’t make me feel good. When I’m surrounded by things that make me happy, I’m happy!
I absolutely love affirmations and they have changed my life in so many ways. When I was on my second College Program at Disney and spending the entire drive to and from work every day, and most of my breaks, sobbing because I was so miserable, I would pull down the visor in my car or go to the bathroom and stare at myself in the mirror while I recitd my favorite “I am” affirmations until I could regain focus and was able to make it through the rest of the day.
I have so many apps on my phone that are dedicated to affirmations and I start every single day with them. Before I check social media or anything else, I read my affirmations for the day. When I get sad in the middle of the day, I go back to them. If I can’t sleep, I say them to myself. There are so many places to find good ones that help you with whatever you need to focus on, and they really have helped me stay positive even in the worst times.
5. Maintain perspective.
It really is a cliche, but it is true that someone always has it worse. But that’s not to say that you’re not allowed to be upset about something, or that your feelings or experiences aren’t valid. They are. Besides, I absolutely think that honoring your feelings – even the bad ones – is necessary.
But whenever I want to throw myself a pity party for something trivial, I think about if whatever that problem is will matter in five days, five months, or five years. That’s something a teacher in high school taught me, and it really does make a difference. It helps me to reframe my problems and realize that most of the time, they’re extremely temporary situations that I’ll get out of soon. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. When I realize that something isn’t going to impact me forever, it helps me realize that I can get out of my funk and go back to being positive sooner.
6. Do something nice for someone else.
I like helping people. That’s why I worked at Disney, and that’s why I want to be a lawyer. When I do something nice for someone else, without a secret agenda or hopes that I’ll get some sort of reward for it, it makes me feel good and instantly improves my day.
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking home from the grocery store when a woman walking a bit ahead of me was struggling to hold her daughter and her plastic bag of groceries when the bag broke. Her things went everywhere, so after helping her collect them, I gave her one of my reusable bags. That bag cost me about 10 cents and it took me less than three minutes to help her out. But it made me feel better to know that I did something to make someone else’s day easier, even if it was just with a reusable bag.
So buy someone a coffee, hold the door for the mom you see struggling to push her stroller through, or give someone a reusable bag. Reminding yourself that you matter, that your existence has value, and that you’re able to make the world a better place – one small step at a time – should always cheer you up. I know it does for me .
7. Take care of yourself physically.
You can’t feel good emotionally and mentally if you’re not feeling well physically. So, hydrate! I am never without my water bottle. Eat good foods. I don’t believe in diets or clean eating, but if you know you’re lactose intolerant, don’t have lactose. If you know that having too many french fries makes you bloated and unable to move, don’t eat too many french fries.
Also, make sure that you’re moving your body every day – even if it’s just a short walk – and get enough sleep. When I was going through my insane doctor visits trying to figure out why I had vertigo for six months straight, the one thing every doctor could agree on was that I needed to sleep more. Sleep is key. Take care of your body – it’s the only one you have.
I know there are lots of other great ways to maintain a positive attitude, but these are my top seven! Ever since I got out of the toxic situations that were holding me back, I feel much more like my old self – the self that was obnoxiously optimistic and always able to see the silver lining. I like being positive and I like being able to look back at a challenge and say to myself, “I made it through that and I did it with a smile.” So, whatever your methods are, stay positive. 2020 is almost over and 2021 is almost here – we can do it!