I was diagnosed at one point in my life with clinical depression along with PTSD (aka Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) for reasons I won’t go into and I was too embarrassed to talk about my feelings with my friends and family. For a long time, I'd wallow in my negative thoughts...I was insecure and had low self-esteem. Walking around, it literally felt like I had a constant dark cloud looming over me. Sometimes I was told that my problems weren’t exactly something I should concern others with. Once I realized I needed help, I did something about it and began my healing process. Eventually, it got better and I learned a few things along the way.
I’m NO mental health professional but the 7 tips below are ways that have helped me either by self-help books, therapy, or just from my own discovery...
1) Remove yourself from Negative surroundings (i.e. people, situations, etc.)
Unfortunately, it's easy to fall into any type of unpleasant situation - you find yourself at the wrong place; you're with people who exude sour vibes; or something bad is happening in your life that you feel won't get any better.
I've been known to act impulsively but have come to learn that there are usually consequences if I don't weigh out my options. Generally, you'd want to think about whether what you're going to do will cause any major trouble for you. Basically, don't do anything stupid or something you'd regret. If you're feeling pressure, distract yourself with some other activity or excuse yourself from the situation.
Nowadays, I'll try and make a conscious effort and see how something or someone can affect me. Will I benefit from said situation/person? Whether it’s a toxic work environment, relationship, etc., it’s best to do something about it by walking away and never looking back. Under these circumstances, if you choose to go in deeper, you'll only get yourself into a position that may be difficult to get out of.
2) Do something that makes you feel ALIVE
In my case, it's makeovers (specifically makeup and interiors) and travel. Whether you love to read, geek out on certain hobbies, partake in outdoor sports, or working out - keep doing it! No matter who we are (even the Negative Nancy's of the world), there's always something that brings each of us joy. Anything that makes us feel good about ourselves, about life, what have you...will continue to spread a positive energy within us. When we feel great, it shows, and we become naturally pleasant to be around.
There's a reason you're passionate about certain things in your life - it gets your heart pumping, you're giddy, and the best part?? You'll find others that share your same passions, which, brings me to number 3...
3) Surround yourself with People you Admire
Whether you surround yourself with people you admire professionally or on a personal level, make sure that you make it a habit. When you seek peers who make everything or everyone around them light up, try and befriend them. You will often find yourself inspired and, simply...well...happy.
I am one of the shyest (maybe quietest) people you will ever meet - so I’m not the most social person - but put me in a room with people who have the same interests as me or even do/say things that inspire me will get me motivated to better myself by having more confidence and courage to get what I want out of life. Too many times it's a competition between people and not enough of us empower one another.
4) Stop Trying to be Someone you’re NOT
I still struggle with this but it gets better with time. I used to always want to please people even though I didn't feel right about something. There's nothing necessarily wrong about appeasing others but sometimes it's not worth it if it makes you feel crummy.
Often times, I’d agree with others even though I really didn't care too much on the subject; I'd stay at a job I didn't really enjoy because I didn't want to let my colleagues down; and I'd often listen to unsolicited advice so that I'd look like I was making the "right choice." It doesn't make any sense why a person would subject themselves to that but it happens.
I've learned that, no matter what I do, someone will always talk smack (to my face or behind my back) and I'd only just stress myself out if I kept up a facade. There's always a tactful way to disagree with someone or something. Sure you'll get people who you might make angry but it's not your problem...it's theirs. You can't make everyone happy so you might as well do what you need to do to get to where you want to be.
5) Think intentionally and have faith
My "cousin" from Colombia told me she practiced intentional thinking and was amazed by what this form of thinking brought to her life. When one door closed in her life, another amazing opportunity showed up. It inspired me in so many ways (thanks, Maria!). She mentioned that, basically, intention isn't something you do but is part of something bigger...an energy in the world around us. When you have a purpose or desire, you'll think of ways to achieve something greater.
Also, have you noticed negative people tend to attract the not-so-great things in life? "Friends" who aren't loyal, things seem to go wrong on the daily, they get sick, etc. When I was in my negative funk, my judgment was clouded and all I attracted was nothing but bad luck. I couldn't shake it...couldn't figure out what it was. When I got the help I needed and I slowly started to get better, I changed my way of thinking (willing myself to obtain a life I wanted)...hung out with people who did things I admired...and the results were ASTOUNDING. Almost immediately did I notice a difference. Whatever this phenomena is called - thinking positively and having faith - it's worth a try.
6) Refrain from using negative statements
Ever hear people say "I can't..."; "I never..."; "It's too hard... " etc? Yes, I hear it all the time and I'm afraid to say that I am sometimes guilty of it (especially when I'm having a particularly trying day).
Instead of using negative words or affirmations...turn these downers into something positive. We constantly learn from situations in order to grow. The hardships we endure will only make us stronger and, maybe, wiser. It prepares us for any storms along the way, if you will. Don't worry about how fast you're moving...if it seems like you're making slow progress, it's okay, because you're probably 2-3 steps ahead than someone else who isn't doing anything about their circumstances.
We're all capable of changing the way we view things. There really are no excuses if you think about it. The only people who are in the way of what you can achieve is yourself (and, ok, maybe negative people you should really steer clear from - see tip #1). Use these experiences to fuel your efforts and to show yourself and the others what you're really made of! You'll be surprised at how BAD ASS you could be.
7) Accept that hard times will lead you to something greater
It’s always easier to quit. There’s no question about that. There have been several times where I was faced with a major dilemma or that times were tough (especially financially). I'll tell you that when I first moved out with a husband and baby, it's not like we were rolling in dough. There was no way I was looking back and we willed ourselves for a better life, worked HARD at it, and things literally got better. Seeing how young we were, I could've left them (which, I'd never do...I'm just thinking worse case scenario) OR even go our separate ways, put our baby up for adoption, and continue to live with our parents.
The point is...DON'T GIVE UP. Sure you can take a step back to assess or recharge from something. If you give up, however, and you find that you're kicking yourself and asking why you quit then you'll truly regret your choice. Now this isn't to say you should NEVER give ANYTHING up. Do what your gut tells you. If it's affecting you personally in some form or another to the point where it's detrimental, then, yeah...you might want to rethink your situation.
So, here it is...my 7 tips to staying positive. Don't get me wrong, I still have struggles with this kind of thinking. I’m not perfect and I don’t want people to feel like I think I am. I do, however, want to put forth all the good things in my life that have brought me joy.
I hear constantly that people who post on social media are just fooling people or being "fake." Personally I think it’s great that these people want to share what brings them joy (especially when it's in line with what you're into). Trying to spread a bit of good never hurt anyone.
And, really, if you find things like that bothersome, it only takes one click to exit.
~ XOXO, Mari
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