One of my biggest challenges when it comes to personal-development is the ability to retain a mostly positive outlook on life. In the past few years, I have delved into this topic internally in the hopes of creating a happier life with more contentment.
In this article, I would like to share some of the strategies that have helped me along the way and continue to service a growingly more positive approach to life on the daily.
Challenge negative thoughts. Each time a negative thought arises we need not play into its downward spiral. Instead, we actually have the power to choose how we react. In my Relationship Anxiety post, I got into this in detail. In essence, I have discovered that upon the arrival of one of these mental blips the best approach is to recognise it and then view it from an impartial perspective. Accept it for what it is; an unfriendly voice passing you by. Try to distance yourself from dwelling on or engaging the thought. You will soon realise they have less power over you then you once thought.
Live in a positive environment. Consciously surround yourself with positive people and experiences. Do work that you are passionate about, take up a hobby that gives you time away from everything else, find a partner that shares your values and vision for the future. Create your life as you want it to be, rather than accepting what currently is (if you are not happy). In starting this blog I have realised that sometimes the best things come out of nowhere and just require a little commitment and courage.
Add value to someone else’s life. This one is simple. I am a huge believer in karma. We get out what we put in and what goes around comes around. Help out, listen and encourage those you care about (or even a complete stranger) to follow their own dreams. In my design business, I get a huge sense of happiness and excitement when I hear from a past client whose company I helped establish is taking off. My input into their branding at the very beginning helped them create their own version of a great lifestyle. It’s inspiring and I hope you all get to experience the joy of helping someone else win.
Exercise, eat and sleep well. Having battled the occasional bout of insomnia I now value every second of shut-eye I get. When you’re tired the world can seem bleak and simple tasks grow in size. Train yourself into a good sleeping pattern and you WILL enjoy the benefits. Get to the gym, or get outside in the fresh air. Try to do something every day that gets your moving and breathing, even for 30 minutes. Accompany these self-helping pastimes with a healthy and balanced diet and you will give your body and mind the chance to grow and serve you well for years to come.
Be present. Move mindfully through your day. I discuss mindfulness in my Relationship Anxiety blog and it is a powerful tool in keeping yourself grounded in the present moment. If you think about it, our negative thoughts come from replaying the past or predicting the future. When you notice these thought patterns creeping in try to return your senses to the current point in time. What can you hear, see, smell and feel? What are you doing? Commit to experiencing it 100% and watch those other thoughts fade into the background. If you are interested in learning more I am currently reading this great book.
I find the art of positive thinking to be an on-going task that requires work and focus. Over time though, as you practice these and similar techniques you will find they become second nature. You will one day realise you are doing them subconsciously and that your life and reactions to its many experiences have changed for the better.
Tim is the Founder and Creative Director at Fuel Media Limited, and the passionate lifestyle writer here at To Whom It May Concern. He resides on the beautiful North Shore in Auckland, New Zealand.