I've struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life. In 2020, I declared to myself that I was going to gain control over my emotions and no longer allow negativity to hold me back. I've had successful days and 'a flaming van speeding towards the fireworks factory' days. I do have more hope and optimism on a consistent basis than I've had in years.
I've said before that I believe advice is really just one person sharing experiences that have worked for them and I recognize everyone is very different. Here are ten things that I've tried over this past year that I've found very helpful. I confess I still don't do some of these things as much as I should, but when I do, they are the magical wand towards positivity, happiness and success.
1. Be grateful. Say thank you to the cashier or to your kids for doing what was asked or your partner doing something around the house. Appreciate everything that is done, no matter if it is big or small. I am sure you don't have everything you want, or you've had some very tough times, but there probably are a lot of amazing things in your life. One great thing to do is take five minutes every day to list all the things you are thankful for in your life from air to breathe to having internet access to having a car to drive to knowing there is someone who loves you deeply. The more you appreciate all the good thing in your life then the better you will feel.
2. Live in the moment. Emily says I am horrible at multi-tasking, so being focused on one thing should be easy for me. But I let me mind wander or I start thinking about the mistakes I made in my past or start worrying about the future. There are studies that show that people are more effective when they put all their focus and energy on the activity that they are doing at that moment. One will be more successful if they don't allow the mistakes of their past to haunt them or constantly worrying about events that haven't even happened yet. Embrace the now and fully immerse yourself into it.
3. Care about the person but not what they think. I know that I've spent too much time in my life trying to defend myself or prove that I'm right or trying to pass the blame. We are with people all the time, so it is hard to stop caring what people think. Instead of putting our value and confidence in how we are perceived, we should spend way more time being kind, generous, compassionate and benevolent to everyone in our life. If we worry more about our positive actions, then we will become a person who doesn't need to worry about how others see us.
4. Take a few seconds to breathe. When someone does something that annoys you or you are frustrated that nothing seems to be going right, then take a few seconds to take a deep breath. Just for a few seconds take yourself out of the situation and then take a huge breath; it will almost always make you calm enough to handle the issue. Another tip for when someone does or says something that makes you upset, take a few seconds to think about the things that you like or love about them before responding, because it should remind you this is someone you value.
5. Believe your dreams have come true. One of the best ways to view your deepest dreams and goals is to believe they have already come true, but you just can't see them yet. They are on the way, and you just need to keep on working, planning, learning, persevering and believing. Don't give up or lose hope.
6. Wake up every day with one of the first thoughts being how you can help someone today. One of the ways to push out negative thought about yourself is to focus on a positive thing you can do for someone else. Thinking of ways to make the world better at least for one person helps us see things everything more positively.
7. Reach out to someone from your past and encourage them. You probably have many friends or significant people in your life that you haven't seen in years. Or maybe there are people who you haven't ever let them know how much you appreciate them. Today is a great day to let someone know how they've impacted your life or how much they mean to you. One of the great natural highs is knowing you made someone else feel good. Plus it is always valuable to create more lasting relationships that can help enrich your life in ways you can't imagine at the moment.
8. Be generous. One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is donating money to a worthy cause, giving to those in need or even just doing something like paying for a friend's lunch. Being able to help and give to others helps you feel abundant and successful.
9. Be excited about paying bills. If you are paying bills, then it means you have enough money to pay for it. You are also paying for services that were rendered to you, so it is right for them to get what they deserve. Bills are good, because it means you got what you wanted and now, you're giving what is rightfully the other service. We shouldn't dread bills, but rather appreciate them. Be happy to give out money, because it will come back to us.
10. Be silly and playful. Take some time each day to just have fun. Take some time to laugh. Take some time to do what makes you happy. Take time to just let loose. Tell a joke. Sing a song. Do a silly dance. Life is too short to be serious all day.