We always hear about the power of positive thinking and the great effects that happy thoughts can have on our lives. And really, it makes sense doesn’t it? Focus your energy on the positive rather the negative things in your life and your path is bound to take a turn for the better. The problem is: things are not always that easy. Sometimes life can be a bitch (pardon my French) and bad things do happen once in a while no matter what you do.
Like most people I’ve been through my fair share of sh*t storms (again – sorry) in my life – from bad breakups to having very little money through to working horrible jobs or losing loved ones. Some situations were relatively easy to overcome but others had me laying down for days and made me want to burn every single self-help book ever written. But despite all my whining I kept at it. I kept hoping for the best and looked really hard for that silver lining which (thankfully) eventually came…
So in case you’re going through the same situation at the moment and feel like nothing is going right in your life, I thought I’d share with you a few techniques that have always helped me to get of of my ‘funk’ in the past:
1. Pay attention to your thoughts
It’s really easy to give into negative self-talk without even realizing it but little nagging thoughts such as ‘I should be married by now’, ‘I suck at this job’ or ‘I’m sure he’s cheating on me’ can really take their toll on your psyche and snowball into much bigger issues. The key is not to avoid these feelings but rather to confront and dispute them.
Whenever you have a negative thought try to do this little exercise:
Write your negative thought down on a piece of paper as soon as possible.
Then try and analyze your thought as rationally as you can. Ask yourself these questions: ‘Why am I feeling like this? Is this thought really justified?’ For example: if you thought ‘I suck at this job, I’m sure my boss is going to fire me’ you might want to ask yourself: ‘What happened to make me feel like this? Am I just blowing up one incident at work today and turning it into a big generalization?’ Then think about times where you’ve actually performed your job very well and list them down as well.
Then try and put a positive spin on your negative thought. For example: ‘Everybody makes mistake once in a while. I may have messed up my presentation today but I have learned from it and it will make me a better worker for the future’.
It can be daunting to write down your thoughts at first but just like everything else positive thinking takes practice. After you’ve done this exercise for a while you brain will begin to think more positively automatically.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
It’s a well-known fact that Misery loves company. When times are tough it can be tempting to seek out the company of negative people who will comfort you in the fact that the world is a horrible place and that there is nothing you can do about it. But really, there’s nothing to benefit from these kinds of relationships. In fact they can only make things worse and drag you further down into a depression hole. As such it’s best to avoid negative people as much as you can, at least until you are feeling stronger mentally and are able to brush off their negative comments more easily.
Instead surround yourself with happy, positive people who love you and will make you feel good about yourself. Positivity can be a truly infectious thing!
3- Do something fun
I’m a big believer that laughter can cure almost anything. Whenever I’m feeling down I like to watch funny videos on YouTube or old sketches from my favorite comedians. Alternatively, you could organize to go out with some girlfriends or indulge in some trashy reality TV (I find watching shows like Honey Boo puts my problems in perspective for me really quickly). If you don’t like TV, then how about listening to uplifting music or reading a self-help book such as The Power? Self-help books can really help you harness the power of positive thinking and provide you with lots of additional tips.
4- Exercise & Eat well
How boring, I know. The last thing you probably feel like right now is going out and facing the world let alone EXERCISE, right? I promise though, shaking your booty will actually make you feel tons better. Exercising releases natural happy endorphins and is also a great way to get you out of the house. If you don’t believe me then at least trust Queen Oprah – she knows what she’s talking about!
And since you’re on such a healthy roll…how about swapping the comfort food for some more healthy choices? McDonald’s is not your friend here and sadly no one’s ever snapped out of depression by eating fried chicken.
5- Write a gratitude list
When times are tough it can be easy to forget all that is good in our lives. There are always reasons to feel grateful so if you’re struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel then take a piece of paper and write down at least 5 things that you are grateful for right now. It could be that you have a wonderful pet just waiting to give you a cuddle when you get home or it might be that you have people who love you…no matter what it is take time to thank the Universe for your blessings. Keeping track of the good things in your life will help you put negative thoughts into perspective as well.
Finally, if things are really bad and you don’t feel like you can’t cope anymore, please remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Whether it’s a friend or a healthcare professional, there will always be someone who is ready to listen and give you the tools towards happiness.
Wishing you many beautiful, happy thoughts…