How living Positively Positive can combat Lockdown blues
Being positive has huge benefits to our well-being and mental health. But in the current climate you may have difficulty in having and maintaining a positive state of mind.
So what does being positive mean?
It could be singing your way through your day or doing a little tap dance ending with jazz hands when you see something that makes you happy, but that’s not what I’m getting at here.
Being positive is a unique and personal experience. You could argue there is no clear definition even thought there is one in the dictionary….
What positive means to one person could be very different to the next person as it will be relative to their own needs and desires. Someone could see being positive as being grateful for everything they have. Others may see it as ignoring the bad weather and going out for a run anyway, as it is the benefits from running that makes them feel happy.
However, the benefits of being positive are universal to all.
It can reduce stress. If we don’t let things worry us as much, our bodies don’t become tense. Therefore we get less muscle aches and pain. Being less stressed has even been suggested to lead to a longer life.
Being positive can help you to respond to a negative event in a more productive way. For example, If you are made redundant then all can seem lost. Our brains conjure up thoughts about not paying the mortgage or never getting another job. Looking for the positives in such a situation can help you identify more options with the possibility of a positive/happy future. If we could stand back and say “hang on a minute, I’ve got years of experience so I can get a job” or “maybe this is an opportunity for me to re-train and do something I love”, or even “maybe it’s an opportunity to take a rest – thank goodness I can have a break”. Don’t get me wrong , being made redundant can hurt (I know from personal experience) but it’s our reaction to these type of situations which help us to move forward. It’s ok to feel the negative emotions and it’s important to acknowledge them, just don’t focus solely on them.
How can we become more intentionally positive?
- Learn about What drives you, what’s important to you, what are your values? Knowing about ourselves helps us to understand our thoughts, behaviours and actions (or in-action). You will also learn to make better choices and decisions that suit you.
- It’s like anything in life, you have to learn how to do things and do it regularly to embed it. You are not born knowing how to walk, you have to learn, you also have to walk before you can run – so make your expectations fit your current situation.
- Let it go. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself how negativity serves you. After all being angry, grumpy, exhausted takes a lot of energy and keeps you right where you are.
- Watch your language. Saying words such as ‘never’, ‘can’t’ and ‘just’ must be eradicated from your vocabulary. How many times have you heard, “oh it was ‘just’ something I rustled up” when there is an amazing banquet sat it front of you when you’ve been invited to a friends for a ‘light lunch’. Don’t down play your contribution and effort. Be proud and celebrate it.
- It’s true that if we get the optimum amount of sleep each night, it helps our immune system, our mood and our energy levels amongst other things. So turn off the tech and get a good night’s sleep every night.
- Get support. It’s ok not to know how to do something. Getting help can save you time, energy and money. Plus people love to help.
- Find a role model. Who do you admire? What do you like about that person? What do they do that aligns to your own values? What is their story? What can you take from their journey and implement into your own?
- Body language. How do you walk? Are your shoulders back, head up or head down, hunched up in your coat? Be conscious of your posture. Do a ‘power pose’ – they do make you feel so much better. (Google Amy Cuddy and power poses to know more).
- Exercise and diet. Healthy body and healthy mind!
- When was the last time you helped someone. Seeing other people thrive or benefit from something you’ve done can bring great joy. Try it and you’ll see!
Now this isn’t an all inclusive list. These are some of the things I’ve learnt on my own personal development journey and have worked for me. Having a positive state of mind has many benefits and widens your vision to further possibilities. You can build resilience by letting go of the negative behaviours and focus on the important stuff. After all we all want less stress, better health and hope that our situation can change for the better. We need to practice, practice, practice and remember, you have a choice. So what’s it going to be?
Joanne Thompson – Success Coach, Mentor, Facilitator and Author of the ‘Positively Positive Journal’. Copyright Joanne Thompson Coaching.