Have you often found yourself resenting life for throwing too many bad things at you all at once? Of course, it is completely natural to feel frustrated and be tempted to give up trying, especially if you’ve had one too many bad experiences. But this is also a sign that you’re taking the convenient way out – by blaming it on ‘fate’ or your ‘stars’ or other abstractions when really, it is often your own negative approach that makes things turn out the way they do.
When this happens, it is absolutely essential to consciously take certain steps to adopt a positive outlook on life. You’ll be surprised to find out that you have a lot more control than you actually think. This kind of positivity will not only turn your life around but will also make you feel happier with yourself. And by the way, did we mention positivity is important for your health as well? According to the American Psychological Association, a majority of American adults (about 83 percent) report stress having a very strong impact on personal health.1
So here you are – 6 little ways you can stop living in denial of yourself and take control of your own happiness.
1. Write Inspirational Notes To Yourself
We all need a little positive reinforcement once in a while. So look for places that you come in contact with first thing in the morning. Is it your fridge? Maybe it’s your bathroom mirror? Figure out these spots and cover it with inspirational notes or positive affirmations. Whatever you feed your brain right after you open your eyes will set the tone for the rest of your day. So look for messages or quotes that will inspire you to be more positive about yourself and the work you do.
2. Start A Personal Journal
People underestimate the power of journaling. But seriously, make this a part of your daily routine and it will transform your life beyond imagination. Journaling can benefit you both personally and professionally and it can help literally anyone of any age, sex, field, or origin achieve their goals, no matter what those goals may be.
Journaling helps you clear out the jumble of thoughts in your head. Every time you put your feelings down on paper, you structure your thoughts and emotions. This helps put things into perspective and helps you understand yourself better as you start to see a pattern in your behaviors, in what triggers certain emotions, and in how people react to you. Another benefit of journaling is that it helps you focus on the present. This is greatly helpful for those who are holding onto some kind of resentment from their past that is preventing them from moving forward and finding happiness.
Pick out a fresh notebook and think about what you want to write on. You can even browse the internet for various journaling prompts. Once you decide how you want to go about it, pick a time to write in your journal. Remember, you need to write every day in order to see a marked change, so remember to make this a habit.
3. Look For The Good In Bad
Missing the bus, getting dumped by your boyfriend, not getting that promotion – these are all bad things that can happen to anyone in no particular order. But no matter how bad a situation seems, there is always a lesson to be learned or a skill you can pick to improve on. Try and look for these in any given bad situation. In doing so, you can turn almost any unfortunate event in your favor, even though it may seem to be against you initially.
4. Find Ways To Improve Yourself
One of the most important steps to being more positive is to accept responsibility for yourself. There’s always scope for improving oneself. Whether it is taking care of your health by exercising more often or eating better or taking classes to learn a new skill – its one more step towards taking care of yourself. This will help you feel more in control of your life and will also instill more confidence in yourself.
5. Show Some Gratitude
Sometimes, if you’re feeling let down by life, it can help to dish out some compliments and acknowledge the nice things that people do for you. Did you colleague buy you coffee? Did your partner make you breakfast this morning? Smile warmly and say ‘thank you’. Know that your brain is designed to focus on the bad things; this is an evolutionary habit of storing information for better chances of survival. Therefore, you need to consciously focus on the good things that happen to you, no matter how tiny they may seem. Making this a conscious habit will eventually train your brain to focus on happier moments instead of brooding over the bad ones.
6. Consider Volunteering
Doing something to help someone else when you are in need of help yourself may seem counterintuitive – but a little altruism every now and then can go a very long way in attracting some positivity in your life. Adults from around the world report higher levels of happiness when spending money on others than when spending money on themselves.2 Researchers believe this is because giving activates regions of the brain associated with processing the concept of ‘reward’ which automatically makes you happy.3
Volunteering takes your mind off your own troubles by allowing you to focus on someone else’s. Not only does this help you get better clarity about your own problems, it also makes you feel better about the person you are. All this, while helping someone else. Basically, it’s a win-win for both parties, so it’s definitely worth a try!
|↑1||Stress in America: Our Health at Risk. American Psychological Association.|
|↑2, ↑3||Aknin, Lara B., J. Kiley Hamlin, and Elizabeth W. Dunn. “Giving leads to happiness in young children.” PLoS One 7, no. 6 (2012): e39211.|