In 2018, I had two back to back pregnancy losses, one of which was an ectopic pregnancy. After the second, I was devastated. My body was broken, my heart was broken and my mind? Completely wrecked.
My brain became a revolving door for thoughts like “what did I do to cause this?” (Nothing) “God must hate me” (Untrue), I’ve had too many good breaks in life so this must be what I deserve” (Doesn’t even make sense). I found myself jealous of others’ good fortune and resentful of people’s encouragement.
At my lowest moment, I honestly just wanted to disappear. The negativity was eating me up- my thoughts were too consumed to be productive, my attitude stunk up my relationships and I was wasting precious time and life!
You see, negativity does not SERVE you. It ROBS you. It doesn’t protect you or push you forward, it keeps you stagnant on things you most likely can’t control.
With this realization, I started researching how to transform my mind. (Thank God for therapist Google)! I couldn’t do anything about the situation I was in but I wasn’t willing to be miserable forever. That’s just not me!
The turning point came after I watched a YouTube video that offered tangible tips on how to be more positive. After watching it, I put my focus on changing my outlook and I can 100% feel the difference. Following this process, I’ve been sharing what I have learned with family and friends and offer it here- to help anyone trying to get themselves out of the slippery slope that is negativity.
How to Be More Positive
1. GET RID of things that bring negativity
The people or things that trigger your anxiety, sadness, anger, need to either GO or CHANGE.
If you have family members or friends that cause you to wallow in negativity, consider distancing yourself from them (at least temporarily until you are stronger).
As an example, I have a close family member whose favorite topic of conversation is everything that’s wrong with the world (all his missed opportunities in life, the people that disappointed him, the money making opportunities that went wrong, etc). Two days around him is enough to have you singing the blues.
I can’t completely avoid him so what have I learned to do? I proactively amp up the good vibes before spending time with him, introduce positive topics and I give myself breaks during conversation with him. This is an example of how to be PROACTIVE about protecting your state of mind. Don’t be afraid to do so.
There may also be things that are filling you with negative feelings- identify them and let them go.
When I deactivated my Instagram, oh my word, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. For too long, I had let the prolonged exposure to other people’s lives fill me with displeasure. It made me feel so much better to mind my own dang business. For you, it may be Facebook, unfulfilling hobbies, an identity that you no longer identify with. LET IT GO.
2. Tell your mind what you want it to stay busy with
Have you ever heard the saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop? How about when people say “my mind wandered…”
Your mind isn’t necessarily under your conscious control all the time. Your brain receives a lot of input on a daily basis (through your senses) and if you don’t consciously direct it, it will wander, and take your emotions with it.
After getting rid of negative input, you will need to replace them with positive input.
This may take some preparation and practice. Identify the usual negative thoughts that your mind tends to wander to. Then create a positive narrative that you will get your mind to repeat and meditate on instead of that negative thought.
When you find your mind drifting, redirect your mind to the positive narrative you prepared. “No mind, I’d rather have you count all the wonderful things about my life right now” Or “Ok mind, I know you want to think about how that person backstabbed you but instead, list all the people that love and support you and how fortunate you are to have them”.
You will have to practice this skill over and over again until you begin to default to it.
Another way to keep your mind busy is by picking up a hobby that makes you happy. My mother told me that during her lowest moments, she learned to play the keyboard. She’s not Beethoven but the daily practice of channeling her focus towards something she enjoys kept her mind from wandering towards negative thoughts.
3. Speak or Write Affirmations
This goes hand in hand with number 2.
Have you ever heard people say that they look in the mirror and say motivating things to themselves? It is a great way to increase positive thoughts but I personally can’t seem to pull it off. (I feel silly talking to myself in the mirror).
So what I have done instead is to set a daily reminder in my phone with three characteristics that represent the best version of myself. Every morning, I get a pop up that says “industrious, positive, constructive”.
I don’t succeed in all of those areas daily, but a morning reminder gives my mind a goal to focus on and work towards.
4. Use comparisons to your benefit
Out of all my suggestions, I would probably say that this one and #5 work the fastest.
It may be overdone and it may be corny but it’s always helped me to remember that there are so many other people that have it much worse than me.
Whenever I stop to count my blessings or journal all the things I’m thankful for, I feel more positive instantaneously.
5. Find laughter
Laughing is a really quick way to brighten up the world. Personally, when things are feeling doom and gloom and I need a quick pick me up, I YouTube some of my favorite comedians (e.g. KevOnStage or Jim Gaffigan) and I get happy. Humor helps us see some good in life.
Last but not least….
6. Visualize yourself stepping out in front of the negativity
Sometimes, when I am in danger of returning to that toxic cycle of thinking, I will do this:
I picture myself in line, side to side with the negative coulds, shoulds and woulds (get creative!). I then… TAKE A STEP FORWARD.
I either visualize myself taking one step forward or sometimes, I will take one in real life. I do it to represent to myself that I can step ahead of everything that has happened or is happening around me.
The future is unwritten so take a step forward and keep walking!
Things may look bleak at times but I promise you that a positive mindset is within your reach. Try some of these tips and fight for a positive mindset.
CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video that helped me get started!
3 final things to remember on your journey to become more positive
- It won’t be easy at first. Just remember that it’s worth it.
- Positivity is like a muscle- exercise it often and it will grow stronger and easier to use.
- Positivity won’t stop bad things in life from happening but it will help YOU cope better.
Did you find this guide useful? What do you do to become more positive? Share below!
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