Hey everyone, I hope you have had a fantastic week!
Somebody asked me this week “how do you stay so positive?” and I really wasn’t sure how to respond at first. It is something I take for granted. I have always been someone who tends to ‘look on the bright side’ or to find a positive in any challenging situation. I know this will sound crazy but it has only recently really struck me that not everyone has the same ability to have a naturally positive outlook.
I do think that having a positive attitude is achievable though. I believe it is like building muscle. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, there are tools, techniques and strategies that you can use to help you establish a more positive mindset.
I have reflected a lot on the question I was asked and decided to share some of the things that I use personally and things that I have come across in my capacity as a coach and lifelong learner!
Here are my tips…
Learn to BREATHE properly
I am guilty of this one. Unless I make a conscious effort, I tend to spend most of my working day ‘shallow breathing’. This is where you breathe from your chest rather than from deep in your diaphragm. Shallow breathing means that you don’t take the lovely deep breaths that enable oxygenated blood to flow through our system. When we deep breathe, our brains release endorphins (also known as happy chemicals) in to our blood stream and in turn helps to reduce stress.
The only time I consciously deep breath is when I meditate first thing in the morning or when I sleep! I am trying to be much more conscious of taking just a few moments a day to focus on my breathe, focus on where it is coming from and to take some deeper breaths to support my system.
Take some exercise
This week we had a couple of warmer days here in Cumbria which was divine. One of my good friends phoned me up late one of these beautiful afternoons and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. Over the Winter I have got in to the habit of just working all day and then heading home. It has been very easy not to see any real daylight and not to experience any fresh air during the day.
We went for a beautiful walk around the local harbour front. The air was fresh and it felt so good to have some time to unwind after a long working day before heading home. It was also great to spend some quality time with my friend rather than just catching 5 minutes here and there.
Exercise also releases endorphins in to the blood stream. The challenge, I think, is that people view exercise as something ‘formal’ that needs to be done and that it needs to take a long time. It really doesn’t. Making small adjustments to your daily routine can make a big difference. For example, walking up or down stairs is exercise, going for a ten-minute stroll at lunchtime is exercise. It doesn’t have to involve gym kit to be good for you.
Use Essential Oils
Our sense of smell is incredible. When we smell something, it has the power to trigger emotions because smells can be linked to memories. Smells are evocative! For example, when I smell natural Lavender, it reminds me of being on holiday with my parents in the Isle of Wight walking through lavender farms at a stately home. If I close my eyes, I can see us all there.
If you can sense that your mood is low and in need of uplifting there are some beautiful oils that can support you. For example, Peppermint oil is the Oil of the buoyant heart, and citrus oils such as Orange and Bergamot are uplifting. Using a 100% pure essential oil that you inhale is so powerful as it hits the receptors within your brain within seconds and can uplift you pretty much instantly.
Be in nature
If ever I find the need to calm and restore myself, I always go to nature for some peace and tranquillity. I love just watching waves, or walking on the grass, or standing for 5 minutes and feeling the sun on my face, going for a long walk in the fresh air or listening to the birds singing. All of these things relax me and bring me back in to balance.
When you are focusing on the beauty that surrounds you, it is much easier to settle your mind and remove the anxiety that is causing you stress
Find things to be grateful for
When we are feeling low it is easy to think that there is nothing to be grateful for. For me, having an attitude of gratitude is the quickest way to change your mindset and to improve your mood. No matter how bad things seem there is always something to be grateful for. Find a journal or a piece of paper and just start writing. It doesn’t matter how small these things seem. Once you start your brain down the path of looking for things you are grateful for, it will continue to search for more.
Find people who have a positive mindset and spend time with them. There is a famous quote that says you are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you have surrounded yourself with people who do nothing but find fault or complain, it will be no wonder that you are feeling low! Find people with a more positive outlook and spend time with them.
I wish you a positive weekend!