People describe me as being a positive person so I thought I would share some tips I use to stay positive. Of course, sometimes I also find it difficult to stay positive and upbeat about things – sometimes you just have to feel down and let yourself have a good cry. But on most days, I think that I push myself to be positive. It’s a habit that was passed to me be my parents and also reiterated in my Buddhist practice. Here are some ways I stay positive:
- I know that everything is impermanent. Nothing stays the same forever – the seasons, our bodies, friendships, jobs or lifestyles. I remember being miserable in Hong Kong because I didn’t like the lifestyle or the work ethic there. But within two years, I moved back home. It all changed. So during difficult times I try to be positive because I know that things will eventually change and harmony will be restored – and when things are great, I appreciate and cherish the good times because I know that it won’t last forever as well.
As Thich Nhat Hanh says ‘Impermanence is just as capable of bringing about happiness as it is of bringing about suffering. Impermanence is not bad news. Because of impermanence, despotic regimes fall. Because of impermanence, illness can be cured. Thanks to impermanence, we can enjoy the wonder of the four beautiful seasons. Thanks to impermanence, anything can change and transform into a more positive action’.
- Knowing that sometimes not getting what you want is a blessing in disguise. I applied for a very intense role when I was just 19 years old and missed out after the first interview. I was devastated – it was the job of my dreams – or so I thought. Two years later, I started working for an even better bank in a role that was more suited to me. The role I missed out on wasn’t for me, and it wasn’t the right time either – missing out was a blessing in disguise.
- Understand you’re not the only person in the world with that problem. When I was younger I thought I was alone in how I felt. With boyfriends or school grades or friendship conflicts, I thought I was the only person in the world experiencing that pain. But as I grew older – and as the internet became a more prominent part of our lives – a quick google of any problem will result in forums and ways to help you to feel better. Knowing that I’m not the only person out there that’s suffering somehow makes me feel better. We aren’t as alone as we think.
- Read stories about people who turned their situations around. Going to the earlier point, a google search often results in stories about people who had been in a similar situation and how they turned their story around to be better. This could be a bad breakup where they eventually met their soul mate later, or a business failure that resulted in them finding a new career path that suited them more. I love reading stories like this – especially when I’m down – because it reminds me that the sun will shine down some day – even if it’s not today!
- Quotes. I love reading quotes from the Buddha, Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh in particular. Also quotes from wise folk like Marie Forleo or Marianne Williamson to make me feel better. They calm me down and help me to see that things will turn around.
- Be mindful. Often my negative thoughts will whir in my head and I won’t be able to focus on the task at hand. That’s why I find that being mindful – that is telling my mind to come back to focussing on something as simple as breathing, walking or sitting on the couch and feeling the sensation of my feet on the ground – helps me to forget about the negative thoughts. I may not feel positive immediately but I’ll at least feel grounded which will push away those negative thoughts.
- Be healthy. I know this appears on many lists but I have to say, that being healthy makes me more positive than usual. Sleeping well, eating the right foods and exercising frequently makes you feel good which generally pushes away the anxiety and negative thoughts. Keep yourself fit and healthy and you’ll feel even more positive than usual!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and will use them if you are feeling down one day. What do you do to stay positive?