We all have that one person in our network. The complainer. The pessimist. The person you can spend 5 minutes around and feel stressed and worn out just by listening to them. There are people in this world who just live in the negative. I have one in my life and recently after a long conversation with them I felt like I was pulling my hair out due to wave after wave of negative stories. Honestly I felt like a washed out dishrag afterwards. And it got me wondering. Why is it that people find it so hard to be positive?
A few hours of google-fu later I found the answer. Apparently it’s a psychological phenomenon called negative bias. It’s a common human trait to fixate on the negative. It dates back to our stone age hunter gatherer days when we had to constantly be vigilant for danger. Now that makes sense in a world full of predators, but it makes no sense as to why we still do it it today. We are now at the top of the food chain after all. Constant negativity today is harmful to ourselves and to the people round us. However luckily there is a way to override this genetic programming and choose a positive life much more suited and beneficial to our modern lives.
So here is my #101 guide on how to be a positive person, see if after a long week at the office you can implement some of these ideas into your life and see how much better your world can be.
Notice the good
Have you ever realised that it is easier to notice something bad than something good? For example; you might get a stream of compliments from a lover but one little less than perfect remark and that’s what you remember. (I know I have done this, Mr T is very good at pointing out when I do this). Try and notice the good things more. When you get a compliment notice it. Avidly focus on good things for 10 secs for example the sun is shining, you cats are playing. Notice the good and you will see more.
Turn the conversation around
When you can feel like you have been complaining in a conversation for a while or someone else has try and turn the conversation in a positive direction. Sometimes just asking someone if they have something they are looking forward to helps lift the mood. If in doubt try and pull a positive story from somewhere, even the last funny video on Facebook can be a great mood changer. I mean who doesn’t like cat videos right!
Choose your stimulus
What is it that you invest your time and energy on. Choosing where your stimulus and input comes from makes a huge difference in your outlook on life. 10 years ago I was watching the news and I realised how depressed and anxious it made me, the adverts inbetween tv shows bugged me and I decided to quit TV. I now haven’t had a television for 10 years and it is one of the best decisions I ever made. Of course we have Netflix and HBO and if there is something I hear about going on in the world I check it out online. The difference is I now choose what I watch and what I invite into my life. You can do this with your Facebook feed and un-follow negative feeds and yes you can do it with your social circle too. In fact that is probably one of the most important areas where you can choose your input. Surround yourself with positive people and your life will feel nicer. It’s not rocket science it’s just choice.
Slow down and enjoy your life
It’s easy to miss opportunities to be positive when you are rushing around like a headless chicken. In a fast paced world irritation runs rife. So slow down. Plan breaks and be mindful how you use and enjoy your time. Making enjoying your life the most important thing in your life will shift your focus from pessimistic to positive overnight. Don’t wait for your pension to slow down start savoring you life right now. (I mean it right now).
Sing and dance
Music has one of the most uplifting effects on our moods. If you are feeling low find a favorite tune, sing along and bop around in the kitchen. I used to find that listening to happy music on the way to work started my day so much better than just watching the other commuters on the platform. And I am pretty sure that I amused them when I forgot where I was due to the awesome music and danced a bit on the platform too!
Spread it around
Positivity breeds positivity. Think about it if you see someone smiling you smile too. Say hello to strangers, smile at the bus driver, compliment a colleague in the way they look. See if you can do at least five things to spread positivity each day. Making others feel happy makes you feel happy, it’s simply a win win situation.
Of course there are many ways to be a positive person these are simply a few ideas to get you started. Adopting the attitude of gratitude is another powerful way to be positive which you can read about here. The most important part of being a positive person is choosing to be a positive person. You have to reprogram your genetics a little and take control. You want positive life then you have to change your attitude to your life. However as you can see the smallest of change in your habits can and will turn you into a positive person.
Have a happy weekend 🙂