The Positive Project

“With a new year comes a new me,” says everybody. But seriously, it’s time to take on a totally different resolution; one that is more meaningful than dropping a few pounds or eating more fruits/veggies. It’s time to be happy, healthy and positive.

I know I’m a little late here, given that we’re already 20 days into the new year. But better late than never, right? A move to a new apartment (with my boyfriend and two friends, nonetheless), getting settled into my awesome job and finally getting my lazy butt to the gym have all kept me a little busy lately. All the more reason to be positive though!

In the last year, I’ve come to realize how important it is to be positive every single day. We all go through ups and downs, so much so, that it feels like we’re riding the “roller coaster of life.” The only way to come out on top, despite the hard times, is to stay positive. No matter what you’ve been through, there’s always someone who has it a little bit worse than you (whether it’s that day, year, or all of the time). No matter what, you’re still alive and breathing…and that alone, is enough. That means you have things to be thankful for and happy about.

Understandably so, it’s easy to lose sight of this sometimes. You get fired from a job, you lose an old friend, you break up with your SO, you get in a big fight with your parents. I could go on and on and on and…well, you get the picture. A bad week can feel like a bad LIFETIME. In all of the roadblocks and bad moods, it’s easy to get caught up in sheer negativity. It’s time now to release ourselves from these bad habits and achieve positivity on a more consistent basis. While positivity is a state of mind, the answer lies in our perspective. Here are 10 ideas on how to be a positive person every day:

1. Practice Gratitude – Remembering all the good things that you have makes it a whole lot easier to not focus on what you don’t have. Being thankful and appreciating the abundance in your life – rather than dwelling on what feels lacking – is the best way to shift your thinking from negative to positive. To start, write down 3 things you are grateful for every day for 30 days. Doing so will help you begin to appreciate the things in life we often overlook.

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2. Seek Positive Company – If the people you spend most of your time with are grumpy or have a pessimistic attitude, you’ll find yourself mirroring the same emotions before a different set of people inadvertently. In order to emulate positivity, it is imperative that your friend circle is a positive, energetic, and happy bunch. You’ll find yourself carrying the same positivity everywhere you go.

3. Do Things – Do not remain idle. Take up positive activities with others or by yourself. Share a joke, talk about a pleasant incident, take part in sporting activities, go for a run after work, have healthy sex, etc. You’ll find yourself bubbling with positive energy.

4. Keep A Journal – But instead of recounting all events of the day, filter out only the positive ones and make a note of them. It could be anything trivial from getting to work on time, to having a delicious lunch, to remembering to pay the bills on time. When we look for positivity in the little things that make our lives worthwhile, we leave no room for negativity.

5. Say “Thanks” – Thank God, thank your parents, thank your friends and thank yourself for all the hard work you’ve done, for everything you achieved. “Saying ‘thank you’ frequently makes you humble, and a humble person is seldom cynical.”

6. Slow Down – Sign up for a weekly yoga class or commit to 10 minutes of meditation before going to sleep each night. Doing so can go a long way in helping you slow down your mind so that you can observe and recognize your thought patterns. Even just talking a walk in nature or reminding yourself to breathe deeply can help reset your brain and clear out unnecessary worries and concerns.

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7. Laugh – Laughing at yourself, seeking out opportunities to play and enjoy humor and making others laugh can go a long way in creating an optimistic mindset. Laughter relieves stress and reminds you not to take life so seriously.

8. Perform A Random Act Of Kindness – Do this once a day. Send a cheerful letter/e-mail to someone who needs a pick-me-up, give a friend (or, if you’re feeling ambitious, a random stranger) a genuine compliment, or pay for someone in line behind you. You’ll make at least one person smile…and hey, smiles are contagious. The happier you make other people, the happier you will make yourself.

9. Love Yourself – It’s easy to instantly point out all of your flaws, no matter how minor they are. Getting in the habit of giving yourself 1 or 2 mental compliments a day can teach you to acknowledge your positive attributes.

10. Set Goals – Start generating short-term goals regularly that can be easily achieved. By setting sharp, clearly-defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed like a long, pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set. At the end of the day or week, you’ll feel successful/proud knowing you met your goal.

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The key to happiness and positivity is in your perspective. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. Now, get out there and be happy!

For more tips on becoming a happy, positive person, check out “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor, psychologist and happiness researcher, here.

Xoxo, Kayla