Easy Ways to Create a Positive Headspace for Yourself

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that my resolution this year was—is—to be more positive. In the post that I wrote about this resolution, I detailed the ways in which  it has changed my life mentally, physically, and emotionally. I wrote about how all the positive changes I was creating were putting me in a much better headspace, but I didn’t mention that one of the best byproducts of this is how much easier it’s become to pull myself out of a bad headspace. Not only do I no longer get as down as I used to, but I also find it much easier to bring myself out of that negative space now.

Being that I’ve always thought that it’s pointless to have good thoughts and not share them, here’s a list of all the ways I create a more positive headspace for myself.

Turn negatives into positives

It’s so easy to find the negatives in each day: I hate waking up early; my train is late; it’s so cold outside; I’m hungry. But it’s actually just as easy to find positive things about your day: I’m so glad I woke up this morning; I have a cheap, convenient, eco-friendly way to get to work and uni, even if it is a couple of minutes late; I love winter fashion and I have tons of great coats and scarves to choose from; I have the ability to walk out my door and find any kind of food I want, at any time I want, and I have the money to pay for it—not everyone is so lucky. See how much longer the list of positives is?

Be grateful

I’ve made a habit of listing a few things each morning that I’m grateful for. It makes the day so much more bearable and puts me in a good mood. It’s such a positive way to start the day! I find that once I start listing things I’m grateful for, it’s hard to stop.

Thank you, not sorry

It’s so important to replace negativity with positivity when you’re talking to people. Know the difference between when you need to apologise, and when you need to be thankful. Just don’t go overboard and cut out “sorry” completely—taking responsibility for your poor actions is just as important as being grateful for what others have done for you.

Be nice to people, but also be nice about people

It’s one thing to be nice to someone’s face. But the true judge of character is how you speak about someone behind their back. Thinking negative thoughts about others and spreading hate about them will only serve to make you unhappy in the long run. It’s nice to be nice!

Be nice to yourself

It’s so, so hard not to be your own biggest critic. But wherever you can, practise a bit of self-love. Compliment yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. You’ll be amazed how much happier and more confident you’ll feel.

Take it slow sometimes

I’m a big believer in me-time. But I’m also a big believer in staying productive, and often these two things clash. I get in over my head with projects and assignments and work, and I begin to burn out; but feel too guilty about taking a break to stop. At times like that, you need to remind yourself that the world doesn’t revolve around what you accomplish. You can’t be your best you or do your best work if you’re worn out. Pause for a moment; read a book, watch some Netflix, catch up with a friend, take a nap, do some exercise. Do what makes you feel rejuvenated and at ease.

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Breaking: It’s May And I Still Haven’t Given Up On My New Year’s Resolution

Full disclosure, I’m not the best at follow-through. I forget to text people back, I’m awful at replying to emails, and I’m constantly giving up on tasks that aren’t immediately easy. Not surprisingly, my New Year’s resolutions usually go the way of my unanswered texts and emails and failed tasks.

Most years, my resolutions end up being fairly cliché ones: drink more water, eat healthier, actually utilise my gym membership, go to all my lectures—you get the idea. Perhaps I’ve failed at most of them because subconsciously I don’t really want to achieve them; I have no impetus or particular motivation to stick to them. Or maybe it’s because they’ve all been focused on extrinsic things. That’s why this year I decided to indulge in a little bit of introspection to find something that I genuinely, truly wanted to change about myself.

Of course, I’m far from perfect, so I had a lot of less-than-ideal attributes to choose from. I need to be more patient, more conscientious of my surroundings, more environmentally-aware, less selfish; the slightly embarrassing and very confronting list is as long as Santa’s naughty list (which, after this introspection, I’ve decided I’m more than likely a part of). But the one thing that I’d been noticing increasingly over the previous few months was how pessimistic I’d become.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a totally glass-half-full kind of girl. I’m not the first to find a silver lining or to look on the bright side of a situation. My motto has always been “expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed”; I’m my father’s daughter in that way (and in most other ways, too). While that was a pretty fail-safe outlook—I was rarely surprised when things didn’t work out for me—it also cast a very dark cloud over my life. I was always anticipating things going wrong; so much so that when something went right, I couldn’t even enjoy it because I was so busy wondering when the other shoe would drop.

So there it was. I decided I would be more positive. No more expecting the worst. No more anticipating failure. The funniest part was that once I had settled on my resolution, my first thought was, “I wonder how long this will last before I give up”. It took effort to push that out of my head and tell myself I could do this.

I’m proud to announce that I’m still sticking to my resolution. It’s not quite halfway through 2018 yet, but this is probably the longest I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution. And let me tell you, it has worked wonders in my life.

I started by encouraging myself when I felt like I couldn’t do something. I forced myself to go places and do things I didn’t particularly want to go to or do. I made sure I was speaking more positively about others as well as about myself; it’s made me feel good about those around me and my relationships with them, and also about myself. I put a real effort into consistently building up myself and everyone around me. It has made me infinitely more confident and optimistic.

I’ve come to realise that my pessimism was preventing me from achieving so much. There were tons of things that I wouldn’t even attempt because I thought I would fail or because “what’s the point anyway? I’m just one person, how can I make a difference?”. In the past few months I’ve become more conscious of my environment and of those less fortunate than I am. I understand now that although I’m just one person amongst billions, my actions have impact and can create change in the world, even if that change is small.

My newfound positivity has made me more patient and empathetic toward others and myself. I’ve learned the difference between “thank you” and “sorry”. I used to apologise for everything—I assumed I was being a burden on those around me. Now I realise that although I sometimes need to apologise for something I’ve done—”sorry for making you do this for me”—other times I need not apologise for my actions, but instead thank someone for theirs—”thank you for helping me do this”.

I’ve even noticed physical changes! I sleep better, my skin is clearer, I get fewer headaches (they used to be as frequent as twice daily), and I have more energy. I find it easier to interact with people I’ve never met and I’m more receptive to others reaching out to me.

In sum, a seemingly small adjustment of my outlook has created positive changes in pretty much every aspect of my life. I’m blown away by the massive turnaround I’ve experienced. The good news? You don’t have to wait until 2019 to do a little self-renovation.