I’VE NEVER BEEN A PARTICULARLY POSITIVE PERSON.
I’m not proud of it, but for me, the glass is often half-empty, and when I scroll through Facebook, and see all of those trite messages telling me that “EVERYONE’S BEAUTIFUL!” and all of that perky, inspirational stuff, I normally just roll my eyes and wonder how on earth it’s supposed to help me. What if I DON’T feel “beautiful”? What if I read all of those inspirational messages, but I STILL don’t feel even remotely inspired?
Here are five techniques I use to try to help myself feel more positive – even when I’m feeling anything BUT…
// STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE
I think we’ve all probably fallen into the comparison trap from time to time, haven’t we? For me, it’s Bloglovin’: I scroll through my feed there every morning, and sometimes I’ll feel uplifted and ready to face the day, while other times I’ll get sucked into a downward spiral of comparing myself to all of the apparently “perfect” people I see there, living perfect lives. The workout posts, filled with photos of supposedly “normal” women… who all just-so-happen to do their morning workouts in clothes that look better than some of my actual outfits, with perfectly coiffed hair and makeup. I look at them, and think about how I’m about to get up and put on my washed-out leggings and tank, and then procrastinate for four hours, before maybe, possibly going for a run, during which my hair definitely won’t look perfectly coiffed.
Honestly, it’s really hard not to let myself feel down about things like that (Why can’t I be like those other women? Why am I so lazy? Why does my hair never look that good, even when I send hours styling it? And so on and so forth…), but the first step is recognising that those women aren’t “perfect” either: they’re just managing to make me THINK they are, by only showing a tiny part of their lives (the good parts). I do it, too, of course – it’s just human nature to want to show people your best side, and skim over the not-so-good stuff – but understanding that is the first step to feeling more positive about yourself. The next step? Closing down the Bloglovin’ app, and doing something else instead: comparison really is the thief of joy, after all…
// WRITE A GRATITUDE LIST
I have a very bad habit of dwelling on the negative and focusing on the bad things in life, no matter how small or insignificant they are. It always annoys me a little when people tell me to get some perspective (normally by sanctimoniously mentioning children dying in Africa), but they do have a point: I know, deep down, that I’m incredibly lucky to have a family who love me, a home to live in, and my health – not to mention the many other things that all-too-often get overshadowed by whatever it is I’m worrying about THIS time.
I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but one of the best ways I’ve found to get myself some perspective is to write a gratitude list. I don’t remember to do it every day, but I recently started keeping a bullet journal (Well, I CALL it a “bullet journal” – I normally forget to do all of the “bullet” stuff, too, so it’s really just a notebook which I write in most days), but every so often, if I’m feeling particularly low, I’ll make a list of the things I feel happy about, or the good things that have happened that day/week/whenever – that all-important dose of perspective really helps.
// LISTEN TO UPBEAT MUSIC
I love music, but I don’t listen to it often enough these days. More than almost anything else I can think of, though, music has the power to almost instantly change my mood, so putting on some upbeat songs – and getting up and dancing to them – is a great way to lift your mood: try it, if you don’t believe me…
// KEEP A POSITIVITY FILE
This one probably sounds a bit self-important, rather than cheesy, but we can all be pretty hard on ourselves, can’t we? How many times have you brushed off a compliment with a “Oh, this old thing?” or responded to praise by earnestly assuring the person that you didn’t do whatever it was they’re praising NEARLY as well as they think you did? I do this all the time, and I know I’m not the only one, because I’ve seen my friends do it, too. Why is it so easy to be hard on ourselves, but so difficult to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done?
I recently started transcribing some of my childhood diaries over at my other blog, and, as cringeworthy as it is, it’s been a really interesting experience. One of the things I’ve noticed is that I write down and remember every single insult or other snarky comment, but I don’t often note down the nice things people said to me – I assume there must have been SOME of them! Why don’t I consider the positive comments as worthy of being recorded as the negative ones? I’ve no idea, but I’m making an effort to change that: I’m fortunate to be in a position as a blogger where I get a lot of feedback from readers, in the form of comments, emails etc, and I’ve started keeping the particularly thoughtful ones in a specific folder in my email programme. As I said, I know that might sound a but self-important, but on the days when I feel like the whole world’s against me, it helps to remember that not EVERYONE is.
// PAY ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE THINGS AS WELL AS THE BIG ONES
Want to know one slightly strange thing that’s helped me be more positive? Instagram. Yes, Instagram. It’s changed the way I look at the world: maybe not radically (it’s just an app, after all…), but taking photos for my Insta feed forces me to slow down, and notice things I might otherwise have walked right by. It helps me see the beauty in ordinary things (yes, I cringed as I typed that), and to appreciate the little things in life a bit more. Not bad for a free app, huh?