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Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Negativity is addictive. It’s easy to fall into an endless cycle of anger, sadness, and general unhappiness. It’s easier to just let the emotions be than it is to fight it and let happiness overtake you. The hard truth is, more often than not, happiness just feels dangerous. What comes up most come down right? You can’t appreciate happiness without the pain, but letting happiness into your life feels scary because you know what can come next.
While that’s not untrue, there’s more to the story. Yes sad things happen, scary things, things that cause you to feel angry or frustrated or upset. Reasons to just not be happy. It’s part of life and we can’t escape it (as much as we’d all love to!).
This is not to say you shouldn’t react accordingly to a situation. But after an appropriate amount of time, its healthy to let go of negative emotions. Holding onto them only hurts you, and you deserve better. So how can you CHOOSE to be happy? Here are 9 easy ways to get past the negativity:
- SMILE | This is the easiest thing you can do in the world, simply put a smile on even when you don’t feel like it. There is a negative stigma behind forced smiles but hear me out. There have been scientific studies proving that a forced smile psychologically tricks your brain into thinking you are happy. It also relieves tension in the jaw which physically makes you feel happier! No reason not to try! Think of it as dressing for the job you want, not the job you have!
- FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE | Sometimes this is hard, we’ve all been there. But try to find the positive, try to find something good about the situation you are in. If you can’t; count your blessings because there is still something good happening in your life so find it, and focus hard on it.
- USE THE LAW OF ATTRACTION | If you need encouragement to be happy, try asking for it. The law of attraction states whatever you put out in the universe is what you will receive. So put out positive, happy thoughts to receive it back!
- MAKE A TO DO LIST | This seems random I know, but if there is something you need to accomplish, make it into a to do list. Write down every single task you need to accomplish related to it. Break it into as many steps as you can. Then go through the list, making a big celebration out of crossing each one off of it. Between the act of distracting yourself and the act of celebrating milestones, no matter how small, the tiny positive actions will add up resulting in a more positive demeanor! Whenever you get the chance to, productivity is a fantastic boost to your confidence!
- LEARN SOMETHING | Go as big or as small as you need, but focusing on a new activity inspires positivity! Maybe its a new activity such as knitting, or a new sport like basketball, or perhaps more practical such as budgeting. Whatever it is, focus hard and the excitement of starting something new and accomplishing something will rub off!
- TREAT YOURSELF WELL | Self care is so important, and during times of negativity it becomes more important than ever. In fact, people who bring self care routines into their daily or weekly lives are found to be happier in general! Whether its physical such as a manicure, or exercise, or mental such as meditation or journaling, find an activity or routine that you can fit in as often as possible to recenter you.
- SPEND TIME WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE | Your personality tends to take on characteristics of the three people you spend the most amount of time with. So choose these people wisely. If they are negative people, chances are you will feel negativity no matter what you do. You don’t need to surround yourself with people unrealistically happy or positive all of the time, you just need people who are open to accepting happiness when appropriate!
- HELP SOMEONE ELSE | Here’s a big secret that no one wants to say out loud: helping someone else is addictive because of how it makes you feel about yourself! So get out there, help someone carry their groceries, pay it forward in the coffee line, or better yet, volunteer at a local non-profit! Doing something for someone else, is a guaranteed way of helping yourself just as much! Focusing on someone else’s issues makes yours seem smaller and less important. I
- COMMIT TO YOURSELF | No matter what has happened, you deserve happiness. You deserve to feel emotions that aren’t negative. You deserve to feel joy. So commit to yourself, make a promise to make yourself a priority and to accept that you are worthy of happiness.
When choosing happiness doesn’t work
Here’s the surprising twist to everything aforementioned. Choosing happiness is difficult, we’ve discussed this already. But it also doesn’t work if your heart isn’t in it. In fact it will make you feel worse by increasing your stress levels and making you feel badly about yourself for ‘failing’. So what do you do?
What it comes down to, is pay attention to your emotions. They are there for a reason, and there is nothing wrong with being angry and being sad and everything in-between. It’s when you stay in the those emotions for longer than appropriate to the situation and it begins to negatively affect your life, that it becomes dangerous.
So listen to the emotions, and make sure you are focusing on the correct emotion at that time and understand why you are feeling this way. If you’re not sure why you are stuck on a certain emotion and the tricks above aren’t helping, please get some help. Therapy is beautiful and soul enhancing so please don’t be afraid of your emotions, just be open to understanding them! I promise, it will change your life!