“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
Smiling faces and upbeat conversations.
A world full of creativity and authentic people.
Everyone leaping out of bed each day and truly celebrating a new day.
People looking forward to the day ahead because they’re being a contribution, using their skills and talents in a way they enjoy whilst making a difference.
This is how I imagine the world if everyone loved life.
Can you imagine a life where everyone was happy and fulfilled?
There are two ways to view life
I know everything in life has a yin and a yang; two sides to everything and therefore two ways of looking at every situation.
I understand this, however I cannot help but wonder how much more enjoyable life would be if there were more positive people in the world. If more people were optimistic and focused on the brighter side of life.
If people were driven by their dreams rather than their fears.
There is no doubt that in life shit will always happen. We will lose people we love, we will fail at things we attempt, and sometimes we’ll just feel tired, frustrated and fed up.
However if we started each day with the intention that it was going to be our best day ever, imagine how different our lives would be.
We’d be much better equipped to deal with those crap days and the times when everything in life seems to be conspiring against us.
I believe there are two ways to view life, either as an optimist or a pessimist.
I consider myself an optimist.
I honestly don’t see any benefit to viewing and ultimately experiencing life with a negative mindset, especially when there is an alternative choice.
At the same time, there are days when no amount of positive thinking or self-help book reading can drag me out of my negative funk.
When I’m in one of those moods, people annoy me, I hate society and interacting with the world is something I try to avoid.
I feel horrible and my energy levels become extremely low.
I feel isolated and misunderstood.
I get angry, upset and disillusioned.
Luckily for me, after spending a day or so in this negative space, I begin to annoy myself.
I see that I’m focusing on all things negative and allowing my fears to control me.
I get frustrated with myself for losing sight of everything wonderful in my life.
Because I am typically an optimist and I fill my life with positive energy on a daily basis, I believe this gives me the ability to pull myself away from the dark cloud that threatens to overshadow my life.
The pursuit of happiness is exhausting
According to statistics on the Mental Health Foundation’s website, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in Britain. Additionally, women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men.
People are struggling, especially us women.
Although I thankfully haven’t suffered from a mental illness, I have seen how life can suck you into a dark all consuming negative hole, sometimes when you’re least expecting it and I know the strength it can sometimes takes to pull yourself back out of that place.
I have negative days simply due to every day stresses and concerns in life and regularly think about people who must be dealing with serious life challenges.
I empathise with them and think they can be forgiven for feeling like they want to give up, when simple everyday things such as bills and finding my purpose bother me.
We’re all just trying to figure out how to be happy as ultimately happiness is what we all want. We also want it to be easy.
But it’s not easy, not in the slightest.
The pursuit of happiness is exhausting and life can be a real bitch.
It is relentless.
There’s always someone or something challenging you. It’s like a constant test to see just how much you really want to be happy.
I get so close to what I want. There are even times I actually get what I want, then life goes and throws a curve ball. And I’m like Really life? No, but seriously, really?
It feels like life is teasing me. As though life is actually saying to me, do you really want this? I’m not so sure… Show me how badly you want this.
I start to question, is happiness even possible? And even if it is, is it worth the struggle?
Then I remember that life could be so much worse and that it could change in the blink of an eye.
I am also conscious of how common anxiety and depression are and how quickly both can take hold.
Often these thoughts are enough to make me sit up, count my blessings and get back to my usual positive, optimistic self.
Negativity breeds negativity
Whatever view you choose to have on life, you will always find evidence in life to support your viewpoint. If you believe life is a series of negative events and experiences, it will be.
I’m not saying that if you think positively life will be a bunch of roses. Like I said, life is a delicate balance of yin and yang, and we need adversity to learn, grow and practice gratitude.
However, approaching each day with an optimistic outlook increases your chances of experiencing more happiness and fulfillment than if you adopt a negative mindset.
I’m so tired.
Work is so overrated.
I still need to make lunch.
Urgh. I have to go grocery shopping after work, so annoying.
Occasionally, these are some of my thoughts when I first wake up – normally if it’s cold and wet outside.
I’ll do 10 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes mediation before I start the day.
I can’t wait to jump in the shower. I love the sensation of hot water on my skin in the shower and it’s my best thinking spot.
I get paid to help hundreds of young people figure out their next steps in life, which also allows me to live comfortably.
I’m so thankful I can afford to buy healthy organic food and I have time to prepare it.
These are just some of the thoughts I have when I start my day focusing on all the positive aspects of my life.
When I start the day in a negative mindset, I normally stay in bed for longer, end up being late, which means I get caught in rush hour traffic with people driving like inconsiderate idiots – me included.
I’m in no mood to listen any of that self-help happy, clappy crap (this is how my negative mind views it), so I don’t bother to listen to an audiobook or The Daily Boost daily motivational show.
I start the day in a negative space and often that sets the tone for the rest of my day. I become attracted to all things that align with my negative mindset, when really what I need is an injection of positive energy.
Thankfully I have optimistic people in my life and usually after having a quick
moan rant to one of them, they’ll challenge my negative outlook and help me to put life back into perspective.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again
Having a positive outlook in life does not make you immune to life’s challenges and setbacks.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t have bad days when you can’t see anything worth looking forward to or find a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Adopting a positive mindset does however make you better equipped to deal with life’s obstacles and curve balls when they come your way.
Each day is a new opportunity to start over and with a positive outlook, you can leave any negative experiences in the past, knowing today is a new chance to feel joyful. And if you stumble again, you don’t need to write off your entire future and the world, you simply need to go to bed knowing that tomorrow you get to try again.
Sharing is Caring
What strategies do you use to maintain a positive outlook on life?