If you’ve ever watched Saturday Night Live you’ve probably seen a skit or two involving Debbie Downer, a character who frequently adds negative feelings and/or bad news to a situation. Do you know anyone like that? They’re not all that fun to be around, are they?
While we’d all love to be Positive Patti all the time it can be pretty darn difficult to maintain a positive attitude in some situations. Life can throw us curve balls and is just plain stressful sometimes.
So how can you maintain a positive attitude among the stress? Let us help you with these 10 ways to maintain a positive attitude.
10 Ways to Maintain a Positive Attitude
- Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. Ever heard the saying: “good things come to those who wait?” Well, it’s wrong (in my opinion). Good things come to those who work hard and actively pursue good opportunities, whether in their career, personal life, etc. You’ll feel better if you’re actively pursuing opportunities instead of sitting back waiting for things to happen to you. It’s important to note though that you’ll want to find a good balance between “doing nothing” and “being too aggressive & pushy.”
- Clarify and prioritize. Clarify what your purpose in life is, discover your purpose. Visualize your future: where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years? What goals do you have and how will you achieve them? Prioritize your life and determine what is most important to you. Prioritizing can help you achieve a better balance in your life and may help you realize what is most important to you and where to dedicate your time.
- Self pep talk. This may sound silly and you may feel like a knob the first time you try it but positive self talk can really do wonders for your mood. I read an article where a man said part of his positive self talk was listening to “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi at the start of every day–hey, whatever works, right? Positive self talk goes back to the old adage: glass half-empty or glass half-full? Positive self talk can improve your emotional and physical health and well-being. Identify your negative thinking and filter out your negative thoughts.
- Be resilient. It’s inevitable that things don’t go your way every now and then. Everybody experiences it. But it’s important to be resilient! Get up, get over it, move on, and focus on the good things you have in your life. I read an article called 10 Questions That Prove You’re Doing Better Than You Think, that was a great eye opener. It asks basic questions such as, “did you eat something today,” “is there a roof over your head” and other things that will help you realize how fortunate you really are. Instead of throwing yourself a pity party, let go of the negative and move on to something better.
- Exercise. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve self-confidence and alleviate anxiety. And, in the words of Elle Woods: “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy.”
Exercise can also help prevent cognitive decline and sharpen your memory.
- Get spiritually connected. Being spiritually connected can mean something different for everyone. Whether this means spending time in prayer, meditation, believing or not believing in a higher power, find what works for you and what brings you peace. Seek opportunities to put positive energy and actions into the world and become more accepting of others. Some people may feel more spiritually connected in a church while others feel it more when they’re outdoors. Like I said, find what works for you, whatever that may be. Check out Marianne Williamson’s article, “10 Ways to Stay Spiritually Connected” for more ideas.
- Be thankful. The article “10 Questions That Prove You’re Doing Better Than You Think” is spot on with how positive thinking can change your outlook. For example, instead of “why are there so many dirty dishes,” try, “I’m thankful we can afford good food.” Instead of, “I am so sick of doing laundry,” try, “I’m thankful we have enough clothes to wear to keep us warm.” I’ll admit, after coming home from a long day of work, piano lessons, and homework, it can be overwhelming to look at the pile of dirty clothes and have a glass half full attitude. However, if the alternative is having nowhere to come home to and not enough clothes to wear, I’ll take the pile of laundry any day.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Surrounding yourself with a group of Debbie Downers is going to make it pretty difficult to stay positive. Negative people radiate negative energy, positive people radiate positive energy–it’s that simple! Surrounding yourself with a group of positive people can help you feel better on bad days and can help you refocus on the positive in your life.
- Eat right. I saw a graphic online that said “if you eat like crap, you’ll feel like crap.” And boy, is that true! What you eat can have a huge impact on your mood and outlook on life. Make sure you are getting enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These may help protect against depression. Click here to see our selection. You also want to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D as this vitamin can help increase serotonin levels in the brain. Click here for quality vitamin D supplements. In addition to supplements it’s important to pay attention to your diet. I discussed the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet here, but a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and lean protein will help you feel better mentally and physically.
- Move on: no one is perfect. This one can be extremely difficult for a lot of people, including me. There’s a Proverb that says: “be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” While it’s easy to dwell on the negative it’s better to move on and let it go. Forget about what you did wrong and do a better job tomorrow. I realize this is easier said than done, but spending hours feeling guilty or worrying is a waste of time. Move on from your mistake, your guilt, or whatever negative emotion is holding you down and find something positive.
Practice makes perfect–this is especially true when it comes to maintaining a positive attitude. These tips are all relatively simple, but some of them you’ll have to actively work at. I know no one’s first reaction to a messy house is “oh yeah, I’m lucky I have this mess,” but if you work at finding the positive in situations it will start to become more and more natural and you may find you don’t have to try as hard to stay positive.
So when life gets tough, remember this quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.