3 tips for how I try to stay positive
Staying positive is not not allowing yourself to feel any negative emotions and being happy all the time. Staying positive is feeling all of your emotions but not letting them control your thought process.
We have to embrace all of our emotions but for me, staying positive is about learning how to process my feelings and move on from negative thoughts. During a course of CBT I was able to work on this topic with a specialised therapist and I was able to put certain strategies into place, especially at the start of my journey with a newly diagnosed chronic illness.
1. Challenge your inner critic
We all have 2 voices in our own head which are constantly in battle with each other to find a place of rest.
One voice criticises and one nurtures. If we listen to the critic too much we can become stuck in a negative cycle of thought and lose our nurturing voice, which is what helps us to encourage our self love, and empathy.
Ask yourself if you would speak to a friend this way. If not, can you find a way to argue against the inner critic. Our thoughts are not actually reality and most of he time our worries never happen. Not allowing the negative, critical thoughts take over will leave more room for the positive thoughts to come through.
If you are experiencing negative emotions then a great way to process them and move through them is to look for the positives within those feelings and also in other parts of your life, there will always be at least one positive that you can bring to mind. Changing your thought process and re- training your brain will help you to see these positive things more easily. I am fascinated by the fact that humans are more likely to concentrate on a negative then a positive and studies have shown that it takes 5 positives to cancel out just 1 negative!
I read an incredibly inspiring book called The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer which discusses ways in which we can start to work with our inner voices in order to find peace and let go of boundaries within ourselves.
2. Write a gratitude list
You can write a list of gratitude daily, weekly or even once a month. It will help you to concentrate on what makes you happy, what you are appreciative of in your life and also what matters to you. You can change this list and go back to it as often as you like.
I like to write in my journal each night and I jot down a few things which I am grateful for from my day. This can be anything which makes you feel happy and positive about your life and who you are. Even if its something tiny, its important to find positives in the small things and appreciate what you do have rather than concentrating on what you don't.
3. Look back in order to be able to acknowledge your progress
Taking time to acknowledge what you have achieved instead of concentrating on what you haven't is a great way to focus on the positives in your life.
When looking back we often find it hard to see change in ourselves especially if it has been slow and gradual. Its important to celebrate the small victories because a little bit of growth is still growth. If you can find the small victories then you can be less self critical of your achievements.
We as humans love to obsess over our imperfections but we never obsess over the things which we love about ourselves.