I’ve always been a very positive, upbeat, optimistic person throughout my life. This year, however, has been pretty challenging, but I’m a person that tries not to dwell on the negative issues in life and instead, focus on the positive. In an effort to help my readers, I decided this week’s article should be about helping people remain positive in 2020.
1.) Surround yourself with people who care about you. The company you keep should inspire you, support you, and bring your best self to light. If the people you hang around don’t make you feel loved and respected, it’s time to reevaluate why you chose these people as friends. Focus on people who spread love and a zest for life, not those who perpetuate hate and fear. Sometimes you may want to keep your friends, but agree not to discuss negative subjects. Consider getting together for a meal with family or friends and agree to only discuss positive subjects.
2.) Watch your vocabulary. Each of us has a set of messages that play over and over in our minds. This internal dialogue, or personal commentary, frames our reactions to life and its circumstances. Too often, the pattern of self-talk we’ve developed is negative. When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk can bring the positive out of a situation to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward. The practice of positive self-talk is often the process that allows you to discover the hidden optimism, hope, and joy in any given situation.
3.) Have a positive accountability partner. You can lovingly keep each other in check by keeping tabs on each other’s energy, and kindly point out when the other one starts to draw in too much negativity. If you catch your partner watching too many negative programs on TV or getting involved in negative self talk, call them out on it and suggest some alternatives, such as going outside for a walk or reading an uplifting book. This will help keep both of your energy levels up.
4.) Limit negative media, news, and entertainment. Have you noticed the trash that TV networks consider entertaining programming today? Reality shows with families screaming at each other, police shows with people shooting at each other, and don’t get me started about the evening news. Comedian Robert Orben once said, “The news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then tell you why it isn’t.” Other than sleeping and working, most Americans prefer to spend their time watching TV. It’s no wonder most Americans are depressed.
5) Look for the good people. Have you ever decided to purchase a certain kind of car, then suddenly you see that car everywhere? We tend to find what we focus on. If you believe things are awful, you’ll find evidence to support that belief; if you believe life is a gift, you’ll find evidence to support that too. Mr. Rogers reminded us of this opportunity even in times of tragedy: “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people that are helping.'” Look for positivity in your daily life and I promise you will find it.
6) Examine your daily routine. How do you start your mornings? How do you close out each day? How might you bring positivity to the activities you do regularly? During this pandemic, I noticed myself becoming depressed and sometimes even mad. Sometimes I’d just wake up mad and one day I thought to myself, “This isn’t me.” I made a conscious decision to start my day being thankful to God for something going on in my life and it has made a positive difference. Shine positivity into your already-established routines.
7) Focus on what you can control. In today’s world, so much is out of our hands, isn’t it? Focusing on that, however, can leave you feeling depleted and helpless. Determine what you can control and put your energy there. For example, you can control your responses, actions, words, and thoughts; you can, as Gandhi advised, be the change you wish to see in the world. You have more power than you realize, and when you keep your focus there, that power expands.
8) Choose to smile and laugh more often. You may not feel you have much to smile about, but even your own heartbeat is reason enough to feel happy. Despite your current circumstances, smile because you’re alive and blessed you have people that love you. Scientists have determined that smiling and laughter can actually bring a chemical joy to your life. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins in your body. Many people tell me they enjoy the funny things I post on Facebook. I feel it’s my mission to bring laughter to the world. Making others laugh is one of my great joys in life and it makes me happy hearing someone else laugh.