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10 Super Easy Ways To Stay Positive Every Day

10 Super Easy Ways To Stay Positive Every Day

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking it’s impossible to be positive every day. However, extenuating circumstances aside, it’s quite possible to start your day with a positive mindset. When things go wrong, there’s always a silver lining to keep you above water, even if you’re swimming against the current.

There are many ways you can maintain a sunny disposition in even the worst of situations. Be sure to:

1. Make a plan

Things won’t always go according to this plan, but if you set out a list of goals you want to accomplish by the end of the day (or week), you’ll always have something to strive for. By making a to-do list, you ensure that each day you experience will be at least a little different than the one before it. Plus, when you check off that last item every day, you’ll go to bed knowing you did much more than simply go to work, come home, and watch TV.

2. Have a routine

Although you appreciate variety, there are some things you should do every day. Take some time to stretch and exercise, even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Use quiet mornings to spend a few moments in deep thought, or the time right before bed to reflect on what you accomplished throughout the day. If you have a hobby, set aside a specific block of time to work on it every day. Once you get into a routine, you’ll have specific things to look forward to.

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3. Appreciate the small stuff

How do you feel when you spill coffee on yourself, first thing in the morning? Or hit every red light on the way to work? Do you think “Ugh, this happens to me every time”?

Obviously, this is an overreaction. You simply don’t make a big deal about all the times you avoid spilling coffee on yourself. And there have definitely been times you’ve hit every green light on the way to work that you didn’t jump up and down about. It’s an odd phenomenon that spilling coffee on yourself is enough to start your day off badly, but not spilling coffee on yourself isn’t enough to make your day absolutely incredible.

Maybe it’s time we start celebrating these victories all the time, like that football player in the commercial: “Woo!!! 44, that’s me!” (C’mon, you know the one…)

4. Smile

It sounds cheesy, but starting your morning off with a smile can set the ball rolling toward an incredibly positive day. Keep that smile on your face as you walk past people on the street and in the office. Not only will it subconsciously keep you in a great mood, but it may also have a contagious effect.

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Especially on Mondays, when many people are feeling pretty crabby, try to be the catalyst that lightens up everyone else’s day.

5. Use positive vocabulary

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine asked how I was doing. I replied, as a courtesy, “Not too bad!” (with a smile on my face). He responded with, “Not bad? I want to hear ‘ecstatic’, ‘incredible’, ‘amazing!'”

There’s a big difference between “not bad” and “amazing”. The former makes it seem like you’re amazed that you’re not feeling atrocious, whereas the latter is bursting with excitement. Express yourself with vivacious vocabulary (and that cheesy smile) to spread positivity throughout your life.

6. Spend time with positive people

Nobody likes a “Debbie Downer.” If you find yourself surrounded by people who thrive on being unhappy, ditch them immediately. Obviously, your friends will have their ups and downs. But if they are constantly trying to bring you down with them, you need to take control of the situation before you lose your sunny disposition.

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Find people who exhibit the same excitement for life that you have, and you’ll never experience a dull moment.

7. Do something nice for others

Being positive isn’t all about yourself. Spread the love around! You could pick up your wife’s favorite flowers on the way home from work, or volunteer at a soup kitchen during your free time. You’d be surprised how good it feels to help others out and make their lives just a bit easier. If we all took time to pay it forward, we could set off a chain reaction of good deeds that spread throughout the entire world.

8. Control your own destiny

No one can force you to be positive; you have to make it so. It might take work, but the rewards are definitely worth the effort. Don’t just sit back and hope to get promoted; put yourself out there and make sure your boss sees how hard you’ve been working. Don’t wait for your future husband to sweep you off your feet; go out there and find him.

Your dreams will never become a reality unless you decide to go for it.

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9. Don’t beat yourself up

Everyone has bad days, and everyone makes mistakes. Don’t waste precious time kicking yourself for some bonehead decision you made. Instead, use what you learned to help yourself improve the next time a similar situation arises. If you went for a job interview and didn’t get a call back, think about how you could have presented yourself a little better. Then, view that lesson learned as ammo for your next interview.

Life is a learning process. If you’re not learning, you’re wasting your time.

10. Do something different

Getting caught up in the daily grind can make you bored and complacent. Try to do something new every single day. It could be something simple like using your GPS to find a different way home. Or something more drastic like picking up that musical instrument you’ve always wanted to learn. Learn to cook a new meal. Take that book off your shelf that you’ve been dying to get into. Take your family out for an impromptu ice cream date.

There are infinite experiences to have on this Earth, and only one life to experience them all in. So what are you waiting for? Don’t waste a minute!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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