It recently came to our attention that we might not be as positive as we thought. By venting about coworkers and complaining about how busy we are, we’re sending more negative vibes into the world than we’d like. So, starting now, we’re making a vow to be more positive. Here are eight little habits we’re incorporating into our daily routine.
Every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed, make a note (mental or physical) of things you’re grateful for. Voicing the best things about your life twice a day puts everything into perspective and often makes you realize there are a ton of great things that are sometimes overshadowed by negativity.
…And Random Acts of Kindness
Doing something nice for someone else is great on two levels: It makes them feel good and, selfishly, makes you feel great. Complimenting a coworker on her eye makeup or buying coffee for the guy behind you in line takes no effort and, if you believe in karma, could mean good things for you.
Do Something Active Every Day
Remember Reese Witherspoon’s speech in Legally Blonde about why her friend couldn’t have killed her husband? (Here’s a quick refresher just in case: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.”) As silly as that is, it’s true. You don’t have to do a full boot camp every day to reap the benefits—just make a point to move more, whether that means taking the stairs to your office instead of the elevator or parking a little farther from the grocery store.
Listen to Happy Music
Hey, there are times when you just need to listen to The Smiths on repeat and feel some real emotions, but if you’re really looking to become more positive, choose music that will make you feel that way. You don’t have to toss all of your Radiohead albums, but if you’re feeling any negative type of way, hit play on some Jack Johnson and try not to feel optimistic.
In theory this should be simple. In reality, mindfulness takes practice. Slowing down reduces stress and calms your mind and body. When you stop rushing through everything, it’s easier to think clearly and maintain an optimistic outlook. An easy way to put this into practice is to try eating meals without your phone or computer in front of your face and actually enjoying your food.
Studies (like this one from the Journal of Psychiatric Research) have shown that smiling causes a reduction in stress-enhancing hormones and increases the production of mood-enhancing hormones. Plus—great news—your smile doesn’t even have to be genuine. A study in the journal Psychological Science found that when you’re stressed or flustered, even a forced smile can decrease your stress and make you feel happier.
Cut Back on Social Media
A study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that a group of people who pledged not to log onto Facebook for a week reported being happier than a group who used the site as usual. We’re not saying you should go cold turkey, but consider scaling back on your Insta-stalking.
Don’t Compare Yourself with Others
This is a hard one, but focusing on yourself instead of comparing everything you do with what the people around you are doing is a huge part of staying positive. The less you worry about being as successful or pretty or happy as your friends and acquaintances, the more energy you can channel into making your life the best it can be. (And yes, this one is easier if you’re also cutting back on social media.)
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