Sometimes life will serve us all with conditions that may seem impossible to think positively about, but this is almost rarely the case.
I know this because within three months of each other, both of my childhood dogs and my music teacher, who was also a close family friend, passed away.
However, in the midst of school resuming, I had no time to devote to truly getting over these things, and depression and anxiety soon dominated my life.
I began to see a therapist because I knew I wasn’t feeling up to par, and she’s taught me how to change my negative thought patterns and to put things into perspective.
We could all stand to be more positive, so here are some tips for doing just that the next time you start to see a little too much of Holden Caulfield in yourself.
The first step in becoming a more positive person is determining why you’re not in the first place.
Take a week to pay attention to your thought process when good and bad events happen to you. Write them down, look over them, and think about how you could change it.
For example, when I got A’s on tests, my thought process was, “Oh, but it’s three points away from a 100, this score doesn’t matter because I’m not in prep school, I’ll never go to Harvard.”
Now a positive thought process may look like this, “I genuinely earned this grade, I’m proud of the time and effort I devoted to this.”
Now that you understand the pattern of your thoughts, the best way to improve them is to practice making them positive.
When bad things happen, it can give you a very limited perspective, and especially for those struggling with depression, it seems as though our mind can only spot negative things.
Though turkey and pumpkin pie is still a month away, it’s never too early to be thankful. Every day, either upon waking or before drifting to sleep, remind yourself to be grateful of three things.
These three things can include good health, your mom, dad, siblings, friends, lovers, your talents, a job, your kids, or anything that makes you feel better or improves your perspective.
To happen to live in a developed country and be raised to speak English, the global lingua franca, is one thing that I am grateful for and it provides me with so much perspective.
Once you have this positive thought pattern down, don’t hesitate to share it with others! Buddha said it well, “Happiness never decreases from being shared.”
Sharing can be in the form of a nice comment on someone’s outfit, looks, achievements or personality. Compliments make both you and the other person happy, so go for it!
Another way to share this positivity is to give it back in the form of volunteering. Studies show that people who volunteer are happier and in turn, live longer than those who do not.
I’ve reaped this positive effect myself by volunteering at a day care center for young children. Being around futures filled with unlimited possibility and unconditional kindness does wonders for the psyche as well as the community.
Featured Image: Bigstock