Being a positive person — someone who focuses on the good and strives to be optimistic, is a true art-form. In a way, positivity is a skill, as much as it is a trait. This skill needs to be nurtured over time and even the most ardent of positive thinkers can tell you, it’s not always easy.
Life can get you down sometimes — family pressures, career stress, world events – all seem to conspire to bring us down and dampen our moods. It’s at the times of stress that optimistic people call upon their arsenal of positivity tools to help get them back on track. In fact, positive people have certain key behavior’s and practices that help them to be better equipped to reject the negative and embrace the positive.
Here are five weapons you can use when pessimism tries to creep its way into your life:
1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Avoid unnecessary drama and focus on what’s really important in life. Getting dragged into petty disagreements, gossip or mania, will absolutely do great harm to your positive mind-set. Don’t sweat the small stuff by involving yourself in, or worrying about things that aren’t important — focus on the things that are truly important in your life and you’ll find you’re achieving your goals and dreams.
2. Flush Out Hatred and Anger
Feelings of anger will do more harm to you than the person you’re angry with. When we hold onto resentment, it drains us of life-sustaining positivity and we stagnate.
If you are upset with someone, take some alone time to grapple with your feelings and make the conscious decision to manage your feelings and not the other way around. The key is to acknowledge how you’re feeling and why and to make a decision — either make amends with this person, or consider keeping them out of your life. Whichever you choose, not letting anger or bitterness fester inside you is absolutely vital.
I want to add that depending on your particular situation, forgiveness is a very healing act of positivity. Even if you never see or speak to the person again, forgiving them in your heart can be liberating — and that goes both ways
3. Find Your Fortress of Solitude
Having a place or special time to decompress and rejuvenate is crucial. This can be a quite room or sitting in the park. The important thing is to have a place to gather your thoughts and do some self-reflection, or to set aside some time to pray or meditate.
Don’t let the day get away from you without simply breathing. Contemplating, reflecting, relaxing — however and where ever, please find time for you.
I have a friend with 4 kids and between his job and family life, he finds it hard to get some time to himself. He tried many different ways and places, when he finally went on a hike in a local nature preserve. He goes there at least once a week and sometimes just sits on a rock by himself, even for just 15 minutes. This is his special place and it’s working for him.
4. Know Who Has Your Back
There are “friends” and then there are friends — those people who always have your back, like you have theirs. It’s important that we surround ourselves with people who uplift us through companionship and encouragement. Positive people usually seek out and develop relationships with people who enrich the sense of positivity in their lives. Find your support network and look to them as a source of strength, just as you should be for them. If you have trouble making new friends, fear not — family is also an incredible source of support and inspiration. But, don’t overlook the obvious. Do you love to read books? Maybe join a book discussion group? If you like to hike, find a local hiking club. There are many ways to meet new people. The objective is to cultivate relationships with people who will support you, as you will them.
5. Practice Kindness and Gratitude
An act of kindness goes a long way in helping to heal our world. Yes, there are ways in which you can significantly make the world a better place, such as volunteering for a charity or helping the less fortunate. But, we shouldn’t overlook the simple things too — a kind word to a co-worker or even a stranger could make all the difference in the world to them. Being kind and caring is vital to positivity. Caring, concern and a sense of love for other people will help you to feel good about yourself and the world.
With kindness comes gratitude. The kinder you are, the more complete you feel and this results in a sense of gratitude emerging inside you. Being grateful for what you have and not needing to always get and have more, creates a sense of contentment and peace inside of us and this greatly magnifies our positivity.
Really, positive people have many amazing traits and qualities that help them to stand out in the crowd, but to summarize, here are five key traits that any of us can cultivate:
- Focus on what really matters in life and let go of the minutia
- Let go of anger and bitterness so you can focus on you being happy and content in life
- Breathe! Find time and/or a space to decompress and rejuvenate your mental strength
- Surround yourself with positivity and positive people; know who your real friends are
- Be kind to others and yourself and, show gratitude