We all have ideas and dreams about what type of life we want but there are always excuses that can get in our way. I firmly believe and wrote previously that our playing small does not serve the world. One thing that can hinder our progress is our emotions and thoughts so it’s important to stay positive.
It’s easier said than done sometimes, isn’t it?
Sometimes negativity is the path of least resistance; we easily get into bad habits but then complain about them and the state they put us into. Research shows though, that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to take steps to experience good feelings more often.
By the end of winter I am SO ready for it to be over. I’ve had enough of gray skies and cold temperatures and I just want to see the hills turn green and want the robins to come back to the yard. I don’t want to bundle up or deal with muddy dog paw prints on my floors. I have to work hard to avoid getting into a negative emotional rut.
Many of the things that come with winter weather are mood triggers I have to pay attention to every year. If I don’t get outside and move my body by hiking, walking, or skiing, my positive outlook suffers. This year I didn’t ski once but I took up yoga which made a big difference in how I felt. Another thing is that I don’t have any kids in the house and I work alone from my home so isolation is a big problem. I have to find reasons to get out and be social. I always feel better when I get out of the house, even if it’s for a quick drive to a coffee shop or to run errands. Talking with other people face to face is important.
Plain and simply, activities that create positive emotions lead to good things. Here are some other things I do that might help you too.
Tips to Stay Positive
Make progress on resolutions. I force myself to keep my non-negotiable time to do yoga because it is a resolution of mine to be more fit. It is a great source of pleasure to know I’m sticking to it!
Add moments of simple enjoyment. I used to have music playing in the house a lot of the time. I realized recently that I use Pandora or Spotify when I work, but when I walk away from the computer, there isn’t any music playing. Lately, if I’m working upstairs, I’ve been plugging in a Scentsy downstairs and turning the music on. That way, when I come downstairs, the light, sounds, and scents I walk into are lively and lovely, rather than quiet and somber, adding to my feelings of isolation.
Align my values with my time. If you’ve read any of my Happiness Project Check-ins, you know that I‘m working on better time management. I keep finding new tools to help me be productive in a way that matters to me.
Replace self-criticism with self-compassion. I honestly think my yoga practice is helping me be more zen with a lot of things but one is patience with myself. An example is, one of the first things we hear in yoga besides the instruction to let go of whatever happened before class or will happen after class is to be patient with our bodies and to appreciate what they can do. Let me tell you, I need that reminder. I know comparing ourselves to others is a recipe for disaster, but in yoga, it’s too funny not to. I can’t help but notice how other people are able to do a wide angle seated forward bend . . .
And you wouldn’t believe how this boggles me. Here are some side illustrations:
I swear they must not have any hip joints or ligaments or something, because they just fold in half! I do this:
Aaaaaah! I have actually touched my head to my knees before. Every day seems to be different. The point is, I’m replacing self-criticism with self-compassion. There was a time when I would have chattered inside my head about what a loser I was for not being able to do forward bends. That would do me no good. Instead, I tell myself how thankful I am to have a healthy body and remind myself that I’m learning, it’s a process, and I’ve got my whole life to fold in half.
Positive self-talk makes a huge difference.
What would happen if each day, instead of doing just one or two of the things that make us feel frustration, anger, exhaustion, and worry, we substitute things that cause us to feel satisfaction, joy, energy, and hope?
I’ll be working on these things. What do you do to help yourself stay positive?