Becoming A Positive Person

Any of my family members reading this will be in stitches, because I can be a right Moaning Myrtle. I don't mean to be, I just say whatever I feel, both good and bad, and I tend to get uncomfortable a lot because I'm highly strung and anxious. I get through life by making plans in my head, and if things interfere with them I go into meltdown.

However, a few weeks ago my friend Jessi, who is truly a ray of sunshine, the kind of person that makes the most simple things special, told me that being positive really is a choice she makes every day, and that resonated with me. In every situation it is up to us to find the upside and brush off the downside. I'm not sure how much I subscribe to the theory that thinking positively brings positive things to you, but I do know that there are already way too many negatives in the world without me adding to them.

It's no secret that I struggle with my own mental illness, so it would be glib of me to tell you to 'just think positive!' if your illness makes that difficult, and I'm not suggesting it can cure you, but in my own experience I have found that making the effort to see the good, even if I see the bad too, has made me feel more in control of my own thoughts and emotions.

First of all, I've simply been cutting out the negative nellies. It sounds simple, but it can be hard with real life friends and family. Online, however, I've learned not to worry too much about unfollowing, muting, or blocking people who aren't positive or helpful, and constantly moan about the Tesco man, their cup of tea, or other trivial matters instead. They absolutely have a right to say what they like, I won't stop them, but I will stop listening and choose to remove that bit of gloom from my life.

On the flip side, I try and put out positivity myself. It's a lot harder to give out compliments in real life because unfortunately we live in a society where they can be met with distrust, so I like to do my bit through social media. I'm part of local groups on Facebook for rock painting, the community cafe, and village news, and I'll leave nice comments on there helping people or leaving compliments where I can, and the same with Twitter and Instagram. Another way I like to spread the positives is by filling in feedback forms, leaving good reviews, or tweeting companies if I receive good customer service or enjoy the experience.

I'm sure I've said it before, but I personally find it really worthwhile to write down the good things that happen in my day or week. I'm quite literally taking note of them, and it's nice to reflect while I write them and when I look back. For my Instagram stories I made some '5 Good Things' templates which you are more than welcome to download and use, and each week in my diary I have a prompt such as 'lucky to have', 'a memory made', and 'best thing I saw this week'. If I know that those questions need answers I find myself actively looking for them and allowing myself to be open to more good things.

While those methods all help me to welcome as much positivity as possible, I accept that there will still be tough situations, so I search for lessons and opportunities within them. Recently I had to have a blood test, and although I'm wary of blood, needles, and pain, I saw it as a chance to prove that they don't hurt and use that as encouragement to give blood. Only yesterday I chickened out of an interview and loathed myself for giving in to anxiety, until I decided to remember that disappointment next time I'm anxious to push me to go for it. 

This doesn't mean I'm a zen guru who rides around on a rainbow unicorn by any stretch of the imagination. I'll admit that I'm quick to anger and slow to let go of grudges and things that hurt me. It's part of who I am as a person, I'm passionate and I feel things strongly, and quite often I want to scream at/shake people, but this whole process is about learning to accept those emotions then deal with them or let them pass, making more room to focus on feelings like gratitude, comfort, and joy.

What makes you feel positive?



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