5 Ways to Improve Positivity

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So, being positive is something I truly struggle with. I find that even when I have had a good day, even an amazing day, I am left with this massive hole inside me afterwards. And from this I am reminded of all the stupid things I did, or said, and all the negative and bad things about the day. It clouds the goodness, and it makes me feel pretty rubbish if I’m honest.

But being positive shouldn’t be that hard, should it? I mean, it’s just pointing out good things right? But when you are clouded in a fog of negativity it is pretty much impossible to find something good or positive amongst all that bad.

So, in the hope it will help more than just me, I am going to try and share some things I do to try and think more positively.

1. Firstly, breathe.
Yes. That’s all. Just remember to breathe. It’s easy to feel stressed out when things aren’t going your way, or when you are feeling negative. You may feel overcome by sadness, or even start to panic. So you need to just keep taking deep breaths.
I know that may not sound like aanything special, but in the midst of the most stressful moments, taking even just one deep breath can help give you a more calm view – and then you can begin to build up to more positive views.

2. Step out of your own skin.
This one is a bit more tricky, and I only started to try it because I really had to. But there have been countless times in my life, or even this last week, where I have been stressed out and feeling really negatively about something, and I have talked to a close friend about it who just really didn’t get it. And they don’t understand why I am stressed out. Firstly I got really stressed out about this too – like why don’t they get it? Can’t they see why it’s so important and so stressful?
But, if you take a moment to think about it more yourself, we see that the reason they don’t understand is because in their eyes there is not a lot to be stressed out about. So, what I do now is think ‘if I was so-and-so, what would I think about this?’. It’s not an amazing way to start feeling more positive, but it is so much easier to find something positive when you are looking at it from someone else’s point of view.

3. Look towards others.
When you are truly struggling to find the positive in your life, don’t be afraid to look at the positives in others. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know, just step out of your own head for a minute and look around you, there is probably something you are missing.
Last Saturday I was on the bus home, I’d had an unbelievably stressful day, and evening. I had no idea how I was supposed to handle it, and I was crying (but trying not to let anyone around me know that I was crying – it’s so much harder than you may think). But then I took a minute to focus on what was happening outside the bus. I looked through the window to see a father holding hands with his young daughter, playing with her in the puddles and laughing with her. I only saw this for one split second but it suddenly filled me with joy. It wasn’t much joy, but it was enough to take me out of my current state of extreme negativity, and bring me back to the real world. So this is why I am suggesting it.

But, one side note on this, do not long for this kind of positivity in your life. It would have been very easy for me to sit there and think ‘why can’t I have moments like that with my dad in my life? Why can’t I be that happy?’ But I actively chose not to. Longing for change like that will only make things worse. Which brings me on to my next point.

4. Avoid the ‘what if’s and ‘why not’s.
I am forever questioning my life. Why can’t I be normal like my friends? Why was I born this way? Why can’t I be someone else? Why can’t I just do the simplest thing without having to think it through like a crazy person?
Seriously, I ask myself these questions every day – and if it helped at all then I would at least be a little better. But I’m not, which I believe is proof that asking these questions is not good for you. If you are ever going to start being more positive, you need to stop wishing for things, and stop hoping that tomorrow you’re going to wake up different. Stop asking why, and start saying ‘when’. I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t easy. Like I said, I still ask myself these questions every day. But even if you start asking less and less every week, it is a step in the right direction.
Once you’ve stopped asking ‘what if’, and ‘why not’, you can begin to look at the positives in your life. Instead of waking up and thinking ‘why can’t I be normal?’ I try to think ‘I went out with my friends yesterday and had a good time, that’s really difficult for me to do, and that’s a really good step’. It’s not massive, but it is something for me to build on.
You can even keep a jar in your room, and every time you think of a positive, or a step you’re proud of, or anything good, you can write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then when you are having a particularly negative day you can read through them and remind yourself of all the good things that have happened. This is a great tool for positivity – and sometimes we do need reminding of the positives that happened even yesterday.

5. Build on your positives.
Throughout this post I have mentioned building on the positives in your life, and I think this is really important – process them, accept them, and use them.
Even if you can only find one small positive in your day, it can help. For example, today I was supposed to go to the gym before helping out at a summer school. But I couldn’t face getting out of bed, like at all. I accidentally fell back asleep and woke up at 10:50 – just an hour before I had to leave for summer school. I freaked out, and had a huge panic attack. I wanted to have a chilled out morning and I’d fallen asleep. I didn’t know what to do. But I stopped, took a deep breath, had a shower and continued to get ready slowly. I managed to get ready, get to summer school on time and also plan to go to the gym afterwards. The only thing I could do to get through it was think ‘you got out of bed this morning, it may have been late but you still did it, you actually got up.’ And from that I could build on it. I got up meaning I could have my breakfast (positive), I could go to summer school and teach the refugee children who need people like me around them (positive) and I could have another productive day instead of sitting in bed being negative (positive).
So, even if you can only find one positive to keep you going, build on it. Think about it’s impact in your day and in your life. We constantly underestimate how much power one small positive thing can have, but it has a lot. And for people like me, even the tiniest bit of positivity can have a massive impact on my day. I mean I’m actually going to the gym for goodness sake!

So, I wrote this using no external sources. I didn’t research this topic, and I didn’t take information from another blog. This is purely from the heart of someone with chronic depression, just struggling to get on in the world. And I know I am not alone in this, and I am hoping that others can relate to this and maybe even take on board what I have said and use it.

It’s not an easy thing to tackle at all. But know that you are not alone, and that as long as you are trying you are on the way to recovery.

Thanks for reading!

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Written by: Philippa Berry.
Photograph Source: Original

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