The year 2020 was a difficult one for all of us but the dawning of 2021 brought hope for a new start. Unfortunately, the pandemic hasn’t magically disappeared and, by now, many New Year’s resolutions have already been left behind. If you find yourself feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
Just because the year ahead is likely to be another fraught with challenges, however, doesn’t mean you have to give up or give in. You have a hand in creating your own destiny and it all starts with an optimistic attitude. A little positivity goes a long way and we’ve compiled several simple tips to help you get started. Check them out below!
1. Commit to a positive frame of mind.
Having a positive attitude starts in your mind. We all have a running dialogue of self-talk in our minds, but it may go deeper than you realize. Self-talk is influenced by your subconscious – it belies your truest thoughts, questions, and beliefs. Whether your self-talk tends to be positive or negative may depend on your personality, but it is something you can work to change.
If you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, it may take some work to turn things around. When faced with a challenging situation, take a moment to look for the silver lining. Avoid the impulse to focus on the negative and try to see the other side of the story. For example, if a friend cancels your plans at the last minute, think of it as an opportunity to do something for yourself instead of focusing on the negative.
2. Get rid of the things that drag you down.
It can be difficult to think optimistically when you’re feeling weighed down. We’re all affected by stress and worry, but if you’re the kind of person who holds a grudge or who likes to simmer in resentment, you may find it that much more difficult to create a positive attitude. The best thing you can do is learn to let go. By decluttering your mind (and your home), you make room for new and better things to take the place of negative thoughts and insecurities.
Clearing your mind of negative thoughts and experiences can be difficult, but once you do it you’ll feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. Start off simply with a few meditation sessions to relax your mind and body – you might even engage in mindfulness, allowing some of your burdens to come to the surface without letting them affect your mood. Some people find it helpful to write things down – by putting your thoughts on paper, it may help you release them from your mind.
3. Be mindful of the things you have to be grateful for.
It’s difficult to stay positive when you spend all your time focused on the negative. That may seem like an obvious statement, but here’s what it means: if you don’t acknowledge the positive, all you’ll see is the negative. One of the simplest things you can do to cultivate a positive attitude is to start paying attention to the things you have to be grateful for.
A simple way to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude is to start a gratitude journal. Research shows writing down the things you have to be grateful for can boost optimism and improve your sense of well-being. Take a few moments out of each day to write down a few things that bring you happiness. You may also want to look for opportunities to express gratitude to others.
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4. Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself.
After a year of forced isolation and social distancing, it’s easy to feel like life is at a stand-still. We’re all stuck in a place of waiting – waiting for the pandemic to fade and for life to return to normal. In times like these, it can be difficult to stay positive when it feels like nothing matters. Instead of playing into negative thoughts like these, try setting goals for yourself as a means of turning your thoughts forward.
Long-term goals are important for personal growth and short-term goals can help you stay motivated along the way. A year into the pandemic, you have a pretty good idea what’s practical and achievable, so set a few short-term goals for yourself along with one or two things you want to accomplish by the end of the year. Each time you make progress toward one of these goals, you’ll feel a renewed sense of commitment and positivity.
5. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.
Personal growth is a difficult goal to achieve and it’s easy to become frustrated with the setbacks that are bound to occur. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a little time to care for yourself. There is nothing selfish about self-care and sometimes it’s all you need to release pent-up stress so you can renew your focus and resume forward thinking.
Self-care can work wonders for your mental and emotional well-being, but there may come a time when you need something more. If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or negative thinking and it’s keeping you from living the life you want to live, don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or even a licensed therapist. To make things even more accessible, online psychiatry services are available online so you can access telepsychiatry without leaving home.
Even in a so-called “normal” year, life can be tough. It has a way of throwing challenges at you one after the other, sometimes so quickly that you have trouble keeping your head above water.
Instead of focusing on the struggles that try to weigh you down, try to take each experience with a grain of salt. If you reframe your attitude and commit to a positive outlook, you’ll find that while life may still be difficult, it can also be fulfilling. Put these tips to work in your own life and you’ll eventually start to cultivate a new perspective that will carry you through this year and into the next.