5 Things To Start Doing For a More Positive You

5 Things to start doing for yourself today

For some positivity is second nature and a natural state of being. For the rest of us life sometimes gets in the way. Over time that natural positivity fades away. Until we have nothing to cling to except our sanity (yes I’m slightly over dramatic).

The truth is, life treats us all the same. The only thing that is different is how we choose to react to the situations that we find ourselves in. Our reactions, in turn, affect our emotions. Or at least that is how it’s supposed to work. The problem comes in when situations directly affect our emotions. They bypass our minds and evoke emotionally charged responses. This way takes away our control and we are left to go about life at the mercy of life’s events.

You need to train your mind to recognise that you are in control. Even the most positive of people cannot control what happens in their life, it’s all in the response. You can recognise an interaction with a colleague as something out of your control and choose how to react. The best reaction to negativity is non-reaction. Non-reaction won’t lead to an emotion filled rage on your insides.

So here are a few tips from the peanut gallery on how to be positive

5 things to start doing for yourself

1. Ignore the news

Ah the news, our to connect to whats wrong with the world. I’ve realised that the news is a stream of negativity that in actual fact has no practical use in our daily lives. We already know bad things happen right? So why should we be listening to the gory details? There is no logical explanation for you to listen to the news. It’s a bad idea to let this stream of negativity into your life.
You won’t miss out on important world events. Those will reach you through the grapevine or internet somehow.

2. Be conscious of your environment

Taking stock of the elements in your environment is key. Things like the music you listen to, movies you watch or the games you play do have an influence on your mood. Maybe not immediately but in the long run it can. Rap and rock are my genre’s of choice but I noticed it’s filled with negative lyrics. I urge you to do an experiment, exclude these environmental negativities for a while. Replace them with other music or a game that have a positive affect on your mood and note the difference. As a rule after conducting my own trail run, i’ve excluded rap and rock from my playlist at work. I now listen to music with no lyrics at work.

Test the effects of the following genres on your mood. Reggae, Jazz Fusion (Jazz and Latin American) and Classical.

Another way to be more conscious of your environment is to start meditating. Meditation helps you to become a better observer of the situations you find yourself in. Better observation allows you to take a step back and respond in a manner you approve of. Meditation can help you in be more present in the moment which is excellent for getting off of auto pilot.

3. Make gratitude a part of your day

If there is anything from these tips that you should actually take away and incorporate its this one. Gratitude will assist you in recognizing the positive things. Appreciating things will train your mind to take note of the positives in your life. The things you do have, that you have accomplished, the things you can do. You’ll also learn to ignore all the “nots” and “cants”. Start by being grateful for what you have, say them out loud or write them down. I know for some this practice starts with great amounts sarcasm. For me it started with:”Good on you cat, you got onto the counter and ate off the dirty plates. I’m grateful that you found a snack, sista’s doin’ it for themselves.

Alex Ikonn has a 5 minute journal that is worth checking out as a way to introduce gratitude into your life.

4. Take a look at those around you

Take stock of those around you. During my stock take i saw that most of my negativity stems from growing up in a society that loves to complain. A complaint is the easiest way to strike up a conversation. “Oooh this que is taking forever” is met with many grunts and nodding heads. Saying something positive like:” I love your shoes” results in the person feeling uncomfortable. Also my family is so logical. By that I mean bordering on the verge of cynical, which has trained me to hope for the best and expect the worse.

Do your stock take. See what habits of negativity you’ve learnt from those around you. Be aware of them and choose to break those habits. That way you will not fall into those conversational traps and thought patterns.

5. Acceptance of those who aren’t

Some of us can’t choose who we have in our company for most of the day. You can’t choose your colleagues after all (unless you have some blackmail on someone in the HR department at work). You also cannot tell those around you how to live. (You may want to but you can’t). You can’t change people’s outlooks and their love for complaining. The best reaction to those around you who are negative, is no reaction. Putting energy into dealing with someone who isn’t a positive influence in your life is a waste of time.

You should focus your energy on things and people who you find worth while. Where you spend your energy, that is the aspect in your life that will grow.

So yes that’s my two cents worth.

If these tips are helpful, or if you have more please share them with me.


How to Overcome Bouts of Sadness

How to overcome bouts of sadnessI think all of us have reached a stage in our lives, at some point or another, where it’s hard to get up and start the day. Living your life seems tedious and exhausting. All your energy and life force have been dragged out of you to the point where a vacation won’t do the trick (maybe a month of sleep will). Some might called this depression, I prefer calling it a bout of sadness.

Bouts of sadness can be caused by anything from hormones, vitamin or nutrient imbalances or too much mental, emotional and physical stress. Overcoming them seem hard to do when you’re in the middle of the situation but they can be overcome quite easily if you follow these steps. Bouts of sadness can also pass with time as your hormones correct themselves and you receive the correct nutrition.

How to overcome bouts of sadness

1.     Avoid caffeine

Lower your coffee intake during bouts of sadness. Coffee is a comfort for a lot of people but during bouts of sadness caffeine can hinder rather than help the situation. There is no conclusive evidence that coffee causes depression. However, the increased alertness that comes with the consumption of coffee can translate into feelings of anxiety and cause insomnia, which can indirectly affect your mood and cause bouts of sadness. I would not suggest that regular coffee drinkers stop having coffee all together but limiting yourself can make you see results and a relief in your symptoms.

2.     Have your fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and vitamins that can help reduce feelings of sadness caused by poor nutrition. Iron deficiency is the main culprit when it comes to feeling sluggish and tired.  Most of us forget to eat proper meals during times of stress. The symptoms of poor nutrition lead to sadness, which for most means more junk food. If vegetables and fruits aren’t your thing, go buy some multi vitamins as an alternative.

3.     Get your 8 hours

Some people function on less than 8 hours sleep a day and some people going through a hard time might want to sleep way more (that month of sleep I was talking about earlier). It is important that you first and foremost make sure that you are giving your body enough time to sleep. Sleep helps your body heal and reset. Without that time your hormones will go out of whack. If you’re awake more than you should be, you are using resources that your body doesn’t have which can lead to burnout. Similarly, you should not be oversleeping, set your alarm for 8 hours of sleep every night and wake up when your alarm goes off. This feeds into one of the points below of not breaking routine but also avoiding the negative side effects of oversleeping.

4.     Do not isolate yourself

As tempting as it may seem to draw the curtain on the world when you’re having a bout of sadness, don’t do it. Do not take a sick day and stay at home alone, do not say “no” to visiting your friend on the weekend. Isolating yourself is feeding the problem instead of working toward a solution. You could be adding feelings of loneliness and a lack of support to your arsenal when you isolate yourself. So despite how badly you want to stay at home, get out there, go to work and stay social. (You might want to forewarn your friends that you wont be a ton of fun).

5.      Do not break routine

Yes you’re drained and feeling exhausted and now I’m being mean and telling you not to break routine by carrying on with all the hard work that caused this in the first place. As I said before we aren’t trying to feed the problem, we are solving it. Staying in routine is the best thing you can do for yourself. Still go to gym, still go to work and still cook your own meals. Going off routine is not a good idea as you might be adding feelings of being lost, empty or like something is strange or missing.

Bouts of sadness are temporary, they are a speed bump in your mental health that can be overcome by taking better care of yourself for a little while.  If after reading this you think that you are suffering from depression, which is a pervasive sadness and dulling of experience that won’t go away without formal intervention, you should consider seeking help immediately.