As much as we all want to be happy, it’s hard to stay positive when so many things in life can cause stress, worry, or sadness.
It may seem like it’s impossible to keep your spirits up when life keeps throwing curveballs your way. While that may be true sometimes, the fact of the matter is that you have more control over your emotions than you think!
Here are some ways to ensure you stay positive and happy no matter what life throws at you.
Understand your outlook
No matter how bad your day has been, there is always something to be grateful for. Stop whatever you’re doing right now, whether that’s reading this or running errands or working at your job, and identify three things in your life to be thankful for.
Did someone compliment your outfit? Thank them. Did a coworker help you through a challenging task? Thank them. Did you find $5 on your way to work?
Thank it! Remembering these little things will make a huge difference in how positively you perceive each day and can instantly take away stress.
Celebrate the little things
It’s easy to get stressed out about big things—but that stress isn’t doing your health or happiness any favors. Instead, celebrate small successes along the way.
For example, if you have a presentation coming up next week, don’t focus on getting a promotion or landing a new client; instead, take joy in smaller wins like finishing an outline for a report or learning how to use different tools at work.
When setbacks occur, see them as opportunities to learn.
Our mind is our biggest asset, so it makes sense to take care of it. Being aware of your thoughts can make all of a difference in how we feel about our lives. Mindfulness can help you be at peace with who you are and show gratitude for what you have.
It’s easy to get caught up in stress and anxiety over things that may or may not ever happen, but by practicing mindful meditation each day, we can begin to focus on what’s happening now without worrying about what could be or has been. This goes for both good experiences as well as bad ones.
Focus on what you have, not what you lack
If there’s one piece of advice I can give to anyone trying to stay optimistic, it’s to focus on what they have, not what they lack.
For example, if your happiness is dependent on having that big-screen TV in your living room or that luxury car in your garage, then chances are you won’t be happy without them.
Instead of thinking about what you don’t have—or worse, wishing for more—set a goal to find joy in those simple things you already have.
Counting blessings is one way of increasing your happiness levels because people who do tend to experience an improved sense of well-being.
Find time for self-care
It can be difficult to find time to take care of yourself. It’s important, however, to make time for self-care; otherwise, your work performance may suffer.
If you feel like you’re too busy to take time out for yourself, try setting aside a specific block of time each day (or week) as me time.
You may even consider booking a massage or manicure at your local salon—it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take much time out of your day.
Other things that might help are taking a walk during lunch or using headphones while doing chores around your house. Just do what works best for you—you deserve it!
Ask for help when you need it
We all struggle with negative thoughts or feelings at times. We may even feel guilty admitting them to others. But we don’t have to struggle alone.
Whether you talk to a trusted family member, friend, or counselor, asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re weak—it means that you are strong enough to accept your feelings and get support.
This kind of honesty will strengthen your relationships as well as keep your body healthy in many ways. Help is out there when we look for it.
Sometimes reaching out can be hard but remember that people do care about you and want what is best for your life. That is why they are willing to help!
Enjoy every day, but appreciate more special occasions even more
One of the best ways to stay happy is to make a list of your favorite things, activities, or people in your life. Then try to make sure each day includes one (or more) of these elements. It’s a great way to appreciate both small and big moments.
And if you have any items on your list that are no-brainers like pets or a job that you love, don’t forget to put them on there at least once per week.
Appreciating what we already have makes us happier—and will help us better deal with anything else that comes up in our lives.
Practice gratitude (daily!)
A major way to stay positive and happy is by practicing gratitude. This can sound cheesy, but being thankful for even tiny things can make a big difference in how you feel about your day, life, or job.
By making a conscious effort to appreciate what you have – from that sweet latte at your local coffee shop to your favorite sweatshirt – will help ground you in positivity.
Make it a goal to write down three things every night that made your day great. It doesn’t matter if they’re big accomplishments or small pleasures; they’re yours to enjoy and appreciate.
This kind of practice will gradually raise your baseline happiness level so that when obstacles arise, they won’t hit as hard as before!
Eliminate negative self-talk
It’s human nature to have a negative bias, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. Being mindful of your thoughts is one way to train yourself to keep negativity in check.
If you notice that you’re prone to using phrases like I don’t know how I did that, or I can never get X right, work on catching yourself before these thoughts spiral out of control.
Instead of thinking of them as absolute truths, try rephrasing them as questions—and ones with answers.
Turn off your TV/phone/computer/social media screens 30 minutes before bedtime (at least!)
When we’re stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, which keeps us awake. A lack of sleep makes us anxious, and irritable and can increase levels of cortisol even more.
If you’re having trouble sleeping through the night (or if your alarm goes off at a really annoying time in the morning), try cutting back on all technology for 30 minutes before bedtime to help reset your body clock.
You’ll start to feel better in no time.
Staying Positive and Happy: It’s Easier Than you Think!