Do you know that one of the most common regrets of those nearing death is 'I wish I'd let myself be happier'? This is according to Bronnie Ware, author of the 5 Regrets of the Dying. Bronnie is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
She mentioned in her book "This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
I believe that happiness is a choice. Occasionally, life may throw us curveballs. Things don't go the way we plan. Rather than allowing these inevitable curveballs to get the better of us, we can choose to handle the situation with courage and optimism. Being positive is about making the conscious choice to see the bright side of life and doing so could help you cope with the daily affairs which sometimes may get a little challenging and stressful.
Choosing to be positive and happy is integral to self-care. And also, happy and positive people are often perceived as more attractive, charming and confident. Don't you agree?
So, let's get started on my 15 tips to becoming more positive.
Design your home and workspace to make you feel inspired and happy. Consider creating a personal space that reflects the best of you; one that could put you in a comfortable and peaceful mood. I don't know about you, but I've yet to see someone living in a cluttered space, and is feeling happy and fulfilled (maybe not yet).
I love my space filled with little details that help elevate my mood. These include my favourite perk-me-up quotes, colour schemes, scents and decors that express my style.
What about you? What are your essence colours and things that best express who you're at your core? Does your home make you feel welcome when you get back after a long day? Is it a space that brings you joy?
There are many scientifically proven benefits of practising gratitude, such as improvement of physical health, the ability to create meaningful relationships with others around you and also to promote better sleep.
There are several ways to start your daily gratitude practice. You may consider getting yourself a gratitude diary to put in writing three things you are thankful for each day.
If you prefer something fancier, you may start a gratitude jar, which requires some coloured or origami papers, a jar, and a couple of colourful pens (optional). You may consider ransacking your kitchen to recycle some jars, or even dress up some old coffee bottles to be more eco-friendly.
Write each of your daily gratitude onto a beautiful coloured or origami paper with a date stamp. Then, fold the paper into a star or a heart and place them into your beautiful jar. It is a delight to watch our gratitude jar grow. On the last day of the year, you may review these little notes of gratitude, at the same time, celebrate your wins for the year.
Isn't this gratitude jar a cool idea?
Pay attention to the song and music you're listening to; does it elevate your mood? If your answer is 'no', please do yourself a favour; change up your playlist, or turn off that player.
Have you noticed how your mind respond to sad songs that bring back the not-so-fond memories? Be careful not to allow these songs to play like a broken recorder in your mind. Doing so will only send you into the vortex of depression and anxiety.
On the same token, listening to happy songs could help you stay hopeful and put you in a better mood, especially on days when you're not feeling that awesome. So, let's go create our happy playlist!
There are podcasts for literally everything! Yes, everything! You can tune in to podcasts to help you achieve a positive mindset and brush away negativity. Listening to podcasts is convenient. You can do so while commuting to work, exercising, working, or doing laundry or dishes.
Avoid the comparison trap. I believe that everyone is talented, and if you're unsure, you need to find out what your unique talent is to you. Only when you embrace your uniqueness, you can live a life you love.
Have a clear definition of what success means to you and measure it using your yardsticks and happiness hypotheticals. Stay away from defining your success and life by making the unnecessary comparison to others around you.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” —Steve Jobs
According to Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur and motivational speaker "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with".
Positive vibes are infectious. So, surround yourself with positive influences. Spend time with people who are light-minded, someone who trust and believe in you and your dreams.
There are people I term as parasites — those who suck away your happiness and energy. People who are negative, complain about everything, or lower others to elevate themselves.
The choice is yours to make if they deserve a place in your life. If not, keep your space clean and these parasites at bay.
Working on goals that are meaningful to you helps keep you occupied and push you forward. Setting goals for yourself fuel your ambition. As you take small steps to accomplish your goal, the process of working and reaching out to things that you once thought were impossible could make you feel more fulfilled and heighten your sense of confidence.
Your negative thoughts could shed deep insights about yourself, more than you ever like to acknowledge. The next time you have a negative thought, try catching it and ask yourself what prompted you to think that way? What is it that is bothering you? Could it be some fear or insecurity that you're having? Or just the ego at work?
When you understand the root cause of that negative thought, you can then work on it. For example, if you're feeling insecure, you could introspect your feeling and thoughts and ask what could lead to the peace and security you need and work towards achieving it.
Spotting your negative thoughts before they turn you into a ball of stress isn’t easy–but when you pay a little more attention to your thought processes, you can prevent negative thoughts from taking control.
An act like this takes some practice. When confronted by a negative situation, you could turn it around by asking the following questions:
- What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
- What is one opportunity within this situation?
- How could I've done better?
Instead of beating ourselves up which doesn't help in any situation, we can train ourselves to ask constructive questions to help us learn and move forward.
“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.” — Charlie Chaplin
Laughter is a powerful tool to accentuate positivity, create happiness and infuse optimism. You feel good after a hearty laugh, and this positive feeling remains after the laughter subsides.
If you' re looking for an instant mood booster, catch a comedy.
Mindfulness is a practice to bring awareness to our present moment. You can achieve mindfulness through meditation, yoga and other exercises that focus on the mind and body. This awareness could help us change our negative thought pattern by identifying our negative thoughts and emotions so that we can deal with it. Very similar to point 7 - having the consciousness to catch your negative thoughts.
Some forms of meditation can also lead to improved self-image and encourage a positive outlook on life. Scientific studies have found that practising mindfulness and meditation can reduce stress and promote mental well-being.
I know for sure that exercise is good for improving your mood and positivity. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good. Also, after exercising you'll feel a sense of accomplishment; your body will feel more relaxed and calm, and your muscles will relax deeper because of the workout. The idea that you've done something good for yourself will also make you feel better.
Nature is another positivity booster. Take a stroll in the park, or place some plants and flowers at your happy haven (home and office) can make you feel more positive and relaxed.
Studies had shown that immersing yourself in nature could help you restore your balance. If you are feeling down, anxious or overwhelmed, get outdoors. Go soak up some sunlight, surround yourself with flowers and trees, take a deep breath of fresh air. Doing so will help you feel better. Being in nature regularly can lead to overall improved mental health and well-being.
Not feeling good?
Well, one of my strategies to beat the blue is to engage in an activity that I knew could put a smile on my face.
Here are my positivity strategies:
1. Cook a storm
3. Hang out with my friends and have a good laugh
4. Dress up. You'll feel better when you look good. If you disagree, that's fine with me; please feel free to look as bad you like.
5. Get some flowers and arrange them into a gorgeous bouquet
Now, think of things that you love doing that will put a smile on your face. What would that be?
Life is not linear. We'll experience some ups and downs inevitably at some points in our life. When dealing with setbacks, we need to believe that it is 'ok' to be 'not ok'. The best way to deal with such moments is not to think that we're the problem when feeling down.
You need to trust that tough times don't last, but tough people do. And all shall pass, eventually. Be kind to yourself. You're worthy of all good things.
These are my 15 tips to becoming more positive and happy. I admit to the fact that I'm not always a highly positive person. It is very much a work-in-progress for myself as I do have my moments. And yes, I'm still learning.
Above all, let's not wait until our final moments to realise that we could have allowed ourselves to be happy by making the conscious decision to be positive now.
What are your strategies to get positive and feel happy? Please leave me a comment so that I can get to know you.
With lots of love,