An optimistic viewpoint on life can change it. You can change your outlook and improve your mental health and wellbeing. Although it is easier said than done, there are a few simple ways of bringing the positive into your life. I’m not talking about being optimistic through adversity as can happen with toxic positivity but keeping the negativity away in your day to day life.
A positive outlook doesn’t mean you will sail through life without a care in the world, you can still get stressed and live with mental health issues, but you are more likely to be able to cope with blips that come along the way. You may be thinking, how on earth can I have a mental illness and be positive?
I have bipolar disorder, and I have chosen to look on the bright side; yes, it is difficult when I am in the midst of a depression and nigh on impossible when it is so deep I can’t get out of bed. But, I know I have been through it before, and it will pass; this is a positive outlook, a small switch in thinking. Rather than thinking this will last forever, I know by previous experience that it won’t, and I choose to accept that I am depressed and that is my mental state for now.
How to Get a New Outlook
Depression gives us a negative outlook. It is part of the illness; I won’t lie and say that changing the negative to a positive is easy, but it can be done. As is the nature of depression, seeing anything positive can be a challenge, even reading this article may have you sighing, but bear with me as I have been through the same thought process you’re going through. And, I still have negative thoughts, but they are less than they used to be.
You may have heard of mindfulness and thought it couldn’t help you, but there is scientific evidence that it can, and you also have my experience that it works.
It is a simple meditation, and you don’t have to sit cross-legged and say Om a lot. You can do it whilst walking or at work, even doing the washing up.
The process is simple, yet it is more challenging than it appears; however, it becomes easier with practice. It is not about removing negative thoughts. It is about accepting them and acknowledging their existence.
The Mindful Meditation
If this is your first time meditating, start with sitting on your sofa or lying down on your bed, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Each in and out breath counts as one; focus on your breathing and count up to ten in your head. When you get to ten, repeat the process. Soon you will start having intrusive thoughts trying to stop you from focusing on your breathing. Don’t try and get rid of the thoughts; acknowledge them and return to your breathing. You can name them such as, ‘ah, that’s the comment I made yesterday.’ Or ‘Ok, you’re my appointment tomorrow.’ Practice for five minutes.
And that is it; it is a simple little meditation that can positively impact your life over the next few weeks.
Things to Give You Positivity
Aside from meditation, there are other things you can do to improve your outlook on life; they don’t involve shopping sprees that’s fleeting positivity. This is about being active in your life to create a more optimistic view.
The six things I have listed below will help you be more flexible in your approach to dealing with negativity. Some of them take a bit of practice to build up into a routine, but a pattern is good for depression.
- Start a gratitude journal. Writing down things we are grateful for gives us positive thoughts; it could be saying thank you for the air that I breathe. Even if that is your only entry for day one, it is a start.
- Watch, read, listen to good things, turn off the news and limit social media unless you follow inspirational people who are positive in their posts. Try and watch more comedy and listen to uplifting music.
- Are you waking up in the morning to an annoying alarm? This is going to set your day off with annoyance and a jolt. I bought myself a light alarm clock, and I wake up naturally every morning. You can buy them second-hand off of eBay, and they start your day off right, which leads to a better outlook on the rest of the day. Lumie is a good brand.
- Self-care is essential when it comes to looking after our mental health. There is a saying which states that self-care isn’t selfish and it isn’t. Discover 50 ideas to look after yourself here.
- It is the little things in life which bring us the most pleasure, the big events are few and far between. It could be the smile of a child, a dog or cat doing somthing silly, an anecdote you heard. When a little pleasure happens, write it down in your gratitude journal.
- Change the way you word things; instead of ‘I have to’, change it to ‘I get to.’ If you are faced with the washing up, rather than ‘I have to wash up’ change to ‘I get to wash up’, it makes it sound more exciting and positive.
I hope these suggestions help you bring a more positive outlook to your life; I know they have helped me, and I still practice them to this day. They will allow you to introduce positive thoughts into your life, which will soon outweigh the negative.