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Last Updated on February 9, 2020

How to Be More Positive: 15 Habits to Take Up

How to Be More Positive: 15 Habits to Take Up

Every day we are bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of bad news courtesy of the 24-hour news cycle. So, how to be more positive?

Let’s be real: staying positive can be incredibly difficult in this day and age.

Constantly hearing about tragedies, political unrest, or the impending doom of climate change can be downright exhausting. Fortunately, there are plenty of tried and true methods for taking control of your own life and exuding an infectious positivity that will have you and everyone around you smiling silly.

1. Get an Exercise Routine

One of the most common self-care recommendations you’re likely to hear is that you need to exercise more. Well, I hate to break it to you — because I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it — but it is absolutely true.

First and foremost, there is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help in the fight against many common mental health ailments like depression and anxiety. Exercise can even help to fend off ailments that come with aging like alzheimer’s and dementia.[1]

While physical activity alone is good for your physical and mental health, making it a routine that you keep up can also be incredibly beneficial way how to be more positive.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is so much more than the self-care buzzword-du-jour that you see popping up in articles left and right or plastered across self-help books in your local bookstore. The truth is, practicing mindfulness is one of the most powerful methods of managing stress and reducing anxiety out there.

In reality, practicing mindfulness is as simple as paying attention to how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and considering why, at that moment, you are feeling the way you feel and thinking those particular thoughts.

Once you’re a pro at living in the moment, you’ll find that it helps you stay grounded and in the moment, keeping you from worrying about things that are out of your control.

3. Find the Funny

Humor is a powerful tool on how to be more positive. Also, learning to find the funny in your life can help to improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and battle depression.[2]

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Let me explain what I mean when I talk about finding the funny. Finding the funny doesn’t mean going out to your local comedy club every week (though the comedians would certainly appreciate it) or actively seeking out funny things. It’s actually about being able to find the humor in every aspect of your life, especially during the more challenging and difficult times.

Being able to find the funny in everyday situations will also help you make those around you more relaxed and positive, spreading the good vibes far and wide.

4. Meditation

Meditation is another tried and true method on how to be more positive and reduce stress and anxiety in your life. While meditation was once seemingly relegated to hippy-dippy types, it has officially hit the mainstream, helping a lot of people and, realistically, anyone who has access to YouTube and a desire to practice meditation. [3]

Meditation has been stripped of the mysticism that used to surround it, and with the mysticism went much of the wariness and negative connotations. Meditation is simply the practice of focusing the mind through various exercises to achieve mental and emotional clarity while training attention and awareness.

When you practice meditation, you are really just investing in yourself, taking the time to purposefully look in on what makes you tick and why you think and feel the way you do.

5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

This one is pretty simple. Cutting out toxic people from your life and instead surrounding yourself with other happy and positive people has a compounding effect.[4] When people around you complain less, you tend to complain less, too. When people laugh, you laugh. Happiness begets happiness!

Another great reason to surround yourself with positive people is that you can learn a lot from them. Seeing how other positive people react to hardships and negativity can give you something to emulate and aspire to.

Also, it’s just generally nice to be around friends that will gas you up and help keep you positive! No one likes a Negative Nancy or a Downer Derek.

6. Tell Invasive Thoughts to Shove Off

Everyone is their own harshest critic, but they certainly don’t have to be. Negative thoughts can be pervasive, and it can be difficult to regulate them or shake them off as simply a passing thought.

However, if you learn to recognize when you’re having negative thoughts and are able to see that they aren’t helping you achieve anything, it can make dealing with them much easier. Telling yourself that you aren’t good enough doesn’t help the situation, either, so why let that thought in at all?

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When you’re able to better regulate invasive negative thoughts, you can narrow your focus onto positive, helpful thoughts that actually work to propel you forward instead of holding you back. This is one of the harder things to master, but doing so will possibly make the greatest impact on your outlook.

7. Balance Your Diet

The key to increasing positivity through your diet is to try and break away from fad diets that promise fast results and instead focus on eating a balanced diet that will keep you healthy. While many fad diets do in fact help with rapid weight loss, they only do so by putting your body through some dangerous things. [5]

Dehydration, the development of poor eating habits, yo-yoing weight loss, and malnutrition can all come as side effects of fad or crash diets. Developing healthy eating and nutrition habits can also help you to lose a ton of weight and feel great doing it.

A properly balanced diet focuses on the best, most important foods first that will help you maintain your physical and mental health.

8. Let Nature Be Your Guide

One of the best on how to be more positive is to head out into the great outdoors. The constant stress and noise of living in urban spaces can take a serious toll on your mental health, and heading out for a weekend camping trip or even a short hike in the woods can help you reconnect with nature.

Spending time outdoors can refresh your perspective and give you a much-needed break which, in turn, helps you remain positive in the face of adversity.

If you live somewhere where getting out into nature is not really a possibility, you can still reap the benefits of the outdoors by immersing yourself in a green space, like visiting a park in your city for a couple of hours. Pro-tip: walking barefoot on grass is amazing. When was the last time you did it?

9. Take Up a New Hobby

Starting up a new hobby can seem like a daunting task. There is so much to learn when first starting out with a hobby — however, that is, in fact, what makes it so great for improving positive thinking!

Learning should be a lifelong experience and outside of college and university, hobbies are one of the best ways to continue learning and experiencing personal growth. Not all hobbies have to be expensive , either, which makes it ideal for self-improvement.

Stargazing, bird watching, calligraphy, gardening, exploring your city, and discovering new art and music are all inexpensive (or free) ways to keep things fresh in your life and expand your mind.

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10. Practice Dealing with Rejection

Rejection can be harsh. Getting shut down, whether in social situations, romantic situations, or while looking for a job can put a damper on your mood for weeks after the initial rejection.

The key to how to be more positive and being able to deal with rejection appropriately is to actively think about and practice how you’ll react. It costs nothing and works wonders to dampen the blow.

If you receive a rejection letter for a job, send back a letter thanking them for their time and consideration. If rejected romantically or socially, remaining positive and seeing the upside will make you look like the bigger person and even do wonders for your self-esteem.

11. Cultivate Optimism

When it comes to how to be more positive, building upon your optimism is key to your success. Optimists have a positive explanatory style, which essentially just means that they believe that the good things that happen in life are due to their hard work and perseverance.

Pessimists, on the other hand, have a negative explanatory style, meaning that they believe everything that happens to them is because of forces out of their control. Between the two, it really comes down to taking personal responsibility.

Positive thinkers are capable of attributing not only their successes but their failures to their own doing and are able to learn and grow from their experiences.

12. Focus on What You’re Grateful for

Another fantastic way on how to be more positive is to take stock of what you’ve got in life and acknowledge to yourself that you’re grateful for whatever it is that makes you happy.

Just hear me out. Expressing thankfulness and gratitude can actually improve your mood and how much joy you experience. [6] Even simply writing down a list of the things you’re grateful for throughout a day can make a huge difference.

Soon you’ll find yourself giving your car a good pat on the dash for getting you to and from work, thanking just about anyone who helps you in any way, and generally spreading positivity everywhere you go.

13. Start an Achievable Bucket List

You can’t become a positive person if you’re stuck in a rut and feel like you have nothing to aspire to or to achieve. The easiest way to how to be more positive and get yourself moving towards your life goals is to write them down into a bucket list.

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Your bucket list can be comprised of experiences and achievements as well as more esoteric things you’d like to accomplish .

The key to a great bucket list is to write down achievable goals. Sure, you can write down that you’d like to earn a bazillion dollars, but that is going to sit, untouched, on your bucket list for quite some time. Focus on the here and now and you’ll find that your accomplishments translate directly into positivity in your life.

14. Find a New Favorite Book

There’s nothing quite like reading a good book cuddled up on a couch. While it can be hard to find time to read if you have a busy schedule, purposefully setting aside and taking the time every day to read can have some serious positive benefits.

Reading isn’t just a way to entertain yourself, either. It can improve empathy, brain function, vocabulary, and overall mood! Joining a book club can also expand your social circle. They say that the print industry is dying, but I say go to your local bookstore, browse around until you find an entertaining looking book, and get to reading!

15. Explore Yourself

Finally, last tip on how to be more positive is to learn as much about who you really are as you can.

Sounds easy, right?

All you need to do is practice any or all of these habits to improve your positivity. In doing this, you’ll likely find out what really makes you happy in life, what is important to you, and what kind of person you want to be.

No one is holding you back from becoming a more positive person, so get out there and make it happen!

Featured photo credit: Hudson Hintze via unsplash.com

Reference

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Dan Matthews, CPRP

A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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