Coming off of a somewhat dark post, I want to reinforce the fact that this is an optimist’s blog! I am irrepressibly positive, or, as I’ve been called, “nauseatingly optimistic.” I like blue skies, music with eighties-sounding synthesizers, and kissing my wife on top of ferris wheels – something we haven’t done since we’ve gotten married!
So today, we’re looking at five ways to stay positive. It’s a simple message, no doubt, but sometimes the world needs simple messages.
Let me show you a little of what I know, specifically, how to stay positive. Despite my pension for delving into occasionally dark topics, I am at the top of the food chain for most upbeat person I know. I acknowledge the darkness that exists in the world, but I rarely ever embrace it. I have the confidence that everything is going to work out, no matter how bad things seem. I am not blind to negativity, but I’d like to think that I am, at the very least, sufficiently shielded from it.
1. Leave work at work, and home at home.
(Or find a job that will let you do that.)
Oh the great paradox of modern life. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, elements of your work-life seem to invariably seep into home-life. If you’re a student, the schoolwork practically never ends. If you’re in sales, you most likely always on-call. There’s always a report to write or manuals to study, even at 11:00 p.m. at night. Moreover, work environments by their nature almost always skew negative. We can never fully relax because we are so scared of loosing our jobs, missing a deadline, and letting people down.
Still, there are ways to mollify this. You simply must make an active effort to schedule time to work, and fit things within that schedule. It’s okay that you can’t go on a full vacation. A vacation doesn’t have to be a location. Take time to read, play video games, exercise, and spend time with the people you love. People were simply not designed to work all day, everyday. Family, relationships, and your well-being are a much higher priority than work in the long run. You could try scheduling time to exercise, blocking out an hour of your life to cook a new recipe, or mandating a few minutes a day to meditate. To be positive, you have to give yourself an opportunity for optimism to take root.
2. Take time to do nothing.
The hypocrisy that I’m laying here typing this on my phone using the WordPress App is not lost on me. But it does nothing to change the fact that it’s often important to just exist and let your imagination run wild. Instagram will still be there.
Sometimes it’s important to turn everything off and just live. We can’t be scared of the rushing waves that are our own minds, because true positivity is never found until we honestly get to know ourselves. It is very hard to find yourself within the constant barrage of differing worldviews found on devices and screens.
3. Find joy in the small things.
I feel like what we as a society have is a scaling problem. Take time to write down the things that made you happy during the course of a day. I’ll bet a delicious cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop can make you just as happy as winning the lottery – perhaps more so – if you look at it with the right perspective.
I love waking up from a brilliant dream! I can’t resist a gripping book. Spending time with your pets, or having a truly interesting conversation with the person you love, or feeling sore from a long walk. All of these things can be just as exciting as a huge promotion. Don’t be naive and discount you achievements, but just know positivity is a matter of mindset.
4. Spend time with the people you love.
This should go without saying, but it is quite possibly the most forgotten concept on this list. Spend time with the people you love, and give that time generously.
The people who love you are there for a reason. Your spouse, your parents, your siblings, your friends, your kids – it doesn’t matter where you are in life. One of their purposes is to increase the quality of your life, as your purpose is to increase theirs. Be there for them, and they will reciprocate that affection. A life without people to love is nothing but misery wrapped in depression.
5. Plan to be happy.
It is vital to make a premeditated plan to be happy. The pressures and problems of the world will never go away. As mentioned previously, life is a series of highs and lows that mostly average somewhere in the middle. There’s nothing you can do about the constant pressure. Still, you can plan ahead to stay joyful. Positivity requires more work than negativity, because it means doing something other than just reacting to the situation. But once you figure out how to set your mind on optimism, it is very difficult to return to constant negativity.
So, are you a positive or negative person? How do you react when problems come up, and how do you embrace the good things in life? I’m legitimately curious, as I learn a lot about myself from reading your amazing comments. Let me know, and I’ll see you all on Monday (for real this time)!