Monday, April 16, 2012

Becoming a Positive Person - 11 Helpful Steps

For those who know me, they would suggest I'm not suited to write an article on this subject but things have changed. Recently I've consciously turned over a new leaf. I've done a lot of soul searching. I've done some reading and even took a class from the local University. I'm no expert but I think I've learned a few things the last  couple of months that might help someone else. If my ideas help you, please let me know. I love being able to help others and I'd be motivated to share more if I actually knew my thoughts/words/experiences helped someone else. Please excuse my grammar--I'm a scientific/mathematical minded person--not an English major.

It seems that most people who are negative beat themselves up. Feeling inferior, worthless, and pathetic are habits of a negative person. Feeling frustrated with and constantly acknowledging weaknesses will always keep a negative person from feeling joy and happiness. If you find yourself in this boat, GUESS WHAT?! You don't have to be this way!!! Decide RIGHT NOW to start forgiving yourself. Make a list on paper or mentally of your qualities, talents, positive attributes--c'mon everyone has them. Being around someone who doesn't like you is miserable--especially when that person is YOU!! Do you have some sweet pancake making skills or are you a good listener? Can you run a mile or change a diaper without wrinkling your nose? Did you make someone smile in the last week or do your laundry today? If you can do any one of these things or things like them, then I think you're awesome and now it's your turn to find that out too. The little things really do add up. Appreciate the amazing things you DO do and the qualities you have. When you do this and finally have a clear head, then you can work on ONE weakness or problem area at a time. Focusing on all of your problems at once just causes you to be constantly frustrated and you'll never improve.

It's the whole glass half full or empty paradox--either you can think about all the things you don't have (you'll always be severely lacking) OR you can spend time being grateful for what you have (you'll see that for most things you really have enough--if not too much). You choose: Be constantly miserable or ridiculously happy.

No, it's really not the fourth quarter--it's first thing in the morning and you're as tired as if you've played a whole ball game. You've got work in 30 minutes or a crying baby or a 4 year old whom you deeply love but there is simply no mute button! Tell yourself out loud or in your head, "I CAN do this!" I CAN get through today and no matter how tough, I CAN put a smile on my face and enjoy it. If it helps, visualize yourself doing what you need to (with a smile on your face). Believe in yourself. Tell yourself that you ARE awesome. Don't spend your morning fretting about inadequecies or problems or lack of sleep. Buck up and get to it! :) Tell yourself you can and you will.

Being positive is sooo much easier if your life is more organized than it is chaotic. One of the best ways to reach that organizational bliss is to figure out the priorities and place them first on your list. Figure out whatever is the most important to you and put your best energy into those. When what is most important to you is being taken care of the stress relief is AMAZING and you will have a significant inclination towards being positive! Try it!

Have you noticed that there are specific people or venues (i.e. blogs or facebook) where you complain? Do you have a co-worker you always complain to and you find yourself having to find more to complain about to beat their complaints? Look over your recent blog posts and facebook posts? Are they positive and uplifting or negative, sad, or complaining? If negative, try and avoid these people or social networks or make a clear and conscious effort to only be positive when in these situations. I hardly go on facebook anymore. Most of the people on there complain it seems and it is a HUGE waste of time---for the most part. I still check it occasionally, but I've made an effort to only post things that are positive. Follow the advice from Thumper (I think) in Bambi "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Seriously. If you don't believe--no worries. I KNOW He is there and He does listen and answer prayers. Try it. Try and believe. You ARE His child. He will help you. He wants you to enjoy life--not trudge through it!

You need to do this every day. Even if it is 5 minutes. Take a bubble bath. Go for a walk. Spend some time on Pinterest.:) Read a book. Excercise. Drink a milkshake. Whatever it is that puts you in happy land, do it. If you don't make time to enjoy life regularly, then life will pass you by. Pay yourself a little time each day. You deserve it.

When things go bad, ask yourself, "What can I actually control in this situation? For instance, say someone rear ends you. You can get out and go berserk and look like an absolute idiot and make someone else feel bad and then you can dwell on the accident and the costs and possible pain and rant and rave but does any of that change the fact that you were rear-ended? You have no control over that. You do however have the ability to control how you act. How about getting out of your car and seeing if the other person is ok? How about deciding immediately to forgive and nicely passing on your insurance information? In most situations when things go bad, we really have no control. We can't control the mean things someone said about us.  We can't control getting sick or laid off or loosing a loved one. But we can control our thoughts, actions, and emotions. Next time you are about to react, ask yourself, "What can I actually control?"

Most of us have had a conversation in our head about how we think a possible conversation might go with someone--especially someone we don't like. We get worked up thinking how someone is going to say mean things to us (like a boss or family member) and we let them have it. Even though the conversation doesn't really happen, it happened in your head and you see that person differently. "How could they have said that about me?" you might think--even though you are judging someone else and putting words in their mouth. Next time you find yourself doing this say to yourself, "NO, I won't go there!" Put that conversation out. It hurts you and your relationship with whomever you're imaginarily (yes I made this word up) conversing with. You will waste a lot of time, energy, and happiness by having these conversations in your head. Choose today to stop. I think you'll find you get along with people so much better once you do.

To this day I still have no idea who it was but someone once paid for my fast food at the drive up window. My husband and I got up to the window to pay and the kid was kind of astonished and said that the person  in front of us had paid for our whole meal (or greasy gluttony--whichever way you want to look at it.) :) How nice was that! I felt awesome knowing someone was so kind and generous. Think how awesome the giver felt! Think of how much easier it will be to be positive when you're looking out for little ways to be generous. Stick  some quarters in a vending machine, pick up someone else's tab, help the lady with 3 kids and two carts (one full of kids, the other full of diapers) out to her car--this happened to me this week. THANK YOU! It's great to be on the receiving end but it's even better to be the giver. Think of something you will do today or tomorrow to be nice to others. It's hard to feel down when you're thinking of good.

11. LAST IDEA....
Ok, so no idea if this will help anyone else--please tell me if it does. I was praying a month or two back. I was feeling extremely irritable on a daily basis. I would have lots of "bad days," with an occasional good day in between. I couldn't figure out why I was having such drastic mood changes. It was taking a huge toll on our family and on my happiness. I took it to prayer. I begged and pleaded for help. The answer came as a soft voice whispering in my head - "don't eat late at night." What? Did I just make that up? I believe in inspiration though and I decided to try it. The next night I didn't eat anything after dinnertime--other than drinking water. I was feeling a little hungry but I figured it was better for my body anyway. The next morning I woke up with a clear head and no more crankies! I continued to go without food at night and the difference in my mood and temperament has been astonishing--AMAZING. I have no idea if this will help anyone else. Please let me know if it does. What an easy change with such amazing results. If this doesn't work for you, try praying for a similar miracle!

I hope these ideas can help you in achieving a happier life, full of positive thoughts!!! Let me know your thoughts or suggestions. I'm still on this road to being a positive person but I now know I can be that happy positive person I always hoped I could be!


  1. Thank you for #10... just because I might be having a bad day doesn't mean I can't make someone else's day. ;)

    1. It really is true. Its like an instant pick me up when you help someone else. :)

  2. Number true...I find myself doing that a lot. thanks for the reminder

    1. I have a hard time with #9 too. I have to constantly remind myself to stop. Good luck!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing, I've been thinking about this since you posted it...and I'm even trying #10...SOMETIMES. :) It's hard when you have a long commute and don't get home 'til late. Keep up the tips!


    1. Liz, the most important thing is trying so you are doing great! As long as you are trying then you are moving forward. I'm sorry about the long commute!

  4. Just to share a story about #10: I was having a pretty long day, and I stopped by the Drive-Thru Starbucks on my way home from work for a little treat. When I got to the window, the same thing happened to me: the car in front of me had paid for my drink. But then the Barista went on to tell me that this had been going on since about 9 that morning. All day long, people had paid for the car behind them, and all day long people were passing it along. That TOTALLY made my day. Just to think about a whole chain of people, all doing something kind for the next person. And OF COURSE I paid for the car behind me too -- how could I not?? Ever since then, whenever I find myself grumbling about inconsiderate strangers, I remind myself that there's a whole bunch of really kind strangers out there too. ^.^