Are you suffering from the life blues and lacking motivation? Know that every so-called ‘problem’ emerges originally from a mindset and a certain way of thinking. Every solution also emerges from a mindset.
Think of having a depressing day, and you will likely have one. Think more positive thoughts, however, and your day is likely to turn out better.
Let me share with you eleven practical ways to help you feel more positive about your life:
#1. Reframe your current situation – and look for the opportunity in your ‘problems’.
Instead of focusing on the problems or challenges that you are experiencing that are making you feel down, focus on finding solutions to improve your situation, making you feel better and bringing you more joy. Remember, problems are only ‘problems’ if you choose to see them as such. See them instead as opportunities to create change for the better, and ask yourself what meaningful changes in your life you could make.
E.g., If money is tight, take the opportunity to bring healthy packed lunches to work, or get to know one of your colleagues better and car share. If you are feeling demotivated, take the opportunity to try out a new hobby or sign up for a class and make some new friends.
Opportunity is everywhere. What you look for, you will find…..
#2. Look ahead to the bigger picture and make meaningful goals for the whole year ahead.
Nothing can be gained from beating yourself up over goals you may have made and that have already fallen by the wayside. So instead, think about what would make the year ahead an amazing year for you- in all areas of your life, including at work, in your career or business, at home, in your family and relationships, in your personal life, your finances, your ‘play and passion’ life, and your emotional and spiritual growth.
See yourself in your mind’s eye as if you are already there at the end of the year, having achieved all of the changes in those areas you would love to make. Step into that picture in your mind – and feel how great it feels to be in that place.
Use that mental picture and those great feelings associated with that picture to fire your hunger and motivation to make that great year you have envisioned happen.
Then create a plan of action, break that plan into manageable steps – take the first step and keep going from there.
Setting your intentions and writing your goals down as if you’ve already achieved them can help you direct your focus.
You may wish to use this format to do so (simply fill in the blanks!)
My name is (fill in your name)…………………………..
It is (insert the date exactly one year ahead from now)………………………………………………..
I have had an amazing year, and these are the reasons why………………… ……………………………………………………………………
*simply imagine you are already at the end of the year and are reflecting on the changes you have made this year and the things you have achieved, and write them all down (in the past tense).
#3. Live with an Attitude of Gratitude.
Lift your mood by focusing your energies on taking stock of everything you have to be grateful for in your life and away from focusing and ‘homing in’ on what you don’t have or feel disgruntled about.
Write a list of everything and everyone you have to be grateful for at this present moment in your life– and keep asking yourself the question ‘and what else do I have to be grateful for? ‘and what else do I have to be grateful for ?’, and ‘what else?’.
Keep repeating the same question until you have compiled an exhaustive ‘gratitude’ list. Then, keep this list easily accessible and re-read it often to lift your spirits whenever you need it and remind yourself of all the good in your life.
And make sure to keep adding to the list as you think of more things!
#4. Be kind and compassionate to both yourself and others – and make sure to SMILE more!
Give up being your own harshest critic, treat yourself as your own best friend, and make a conscious effort to treat yourself and others with love and compassion. Participating in simple acts of kindness (and smiling more!) releases endorphins, the natural chemicals in our body that make us feel happier. Lots of scientific research confirms that smiling and being kind can lift your mood! The bonus is that both smiling and acts of kindness are contagious. You will also encourage others to be kind and find yourself putting a smile on others faces also as they see you smile. You will be triggering their endorphins/their natural ‘feel good factor’ too!
#5. Connect with others and spend time with positive, supportive, and encouraging people that you enjoy being around.
It’s all too easy to feel sorry for yourself and turn into a bit of a hermit when you are going through a period of feeling low. Spending time with people you enjoy being with and who are positive, encouraging and supportive of you will help lift your mood. Their positivity will nourish you and feed you, and you will also find yourself becoming more positive.
However, if you find yourself struggling and suspect that the feeling of wanting to hide under your duvet is a bit more than a dose of the ‘blues’ and you feel genuinely depressed and anxious, then seek professional help. There is no need to try and deal with feelings of being low on your own.
#6. Plan events, a get-together, break away, or holiday to look forwards to.
Research has shown that even the anticipation of a holiday or family get together you are looking forward to can make you feel excited by releasing endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good factor. Start making your plans for enjoyable events now, and visit places you’ve never been before.
And feel the difference having things to look forwards to makes.
#7. Make healthier eating choices a priority.
Cut down on ‘quick fix’ sugary snacks and reaching for comfort foods. Be honest about what you eat daily and consider what changes you could make to improve your diet and physical health. For a body full of energy and vitality, you need to feed it the best fuel!
To help avoid the highs and lows of mood swings and energy, eat foods that are digested slowly and release energy at a steady level. Eating whole-grain bread, oats, vegetables, and avocados will help balance out any mood and energy swings.
#8. Boost your mood with Vitamin D.
Studies are constantly reiterating the mood busting benefits of the vital vitamin. As our skin largely manufactures Vitamin D through our exposure to natural sunlight, you may not be getting your required daily dose, especially in the dark winter months.
Foods such as fortified breakfast cereals, dairy, eggs, and oily fish, including salmon, are rich in Vitamin D. You may also wish to try taking a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months and make sure to get outside in natural daylight as much as you can.
#9. Take daily exercise–and know that it’s ok, it that doesn’t necessarily mean having to go to the gym or throwing yourself into a major fitness regime!
Even a daily dance in your lounge to some loud music, playing with your kids in the park, doing some morning stretches or taking a walk at lunch time will release enhanced feelings of well being and release natural feel-good hormones, and help lift your mood.
#10. Do more of the things that bring you joy and make you happy.
Ask yourself what it is that you feel passionate about/fires a spark inside you/what activities bring you joy – and do more of them. E.g. start a new hobby/learn a new skill/do something you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to, meet up with an old friend, spend quality time with family, take and make time for ‘you’ to do whatever you enjoy doing.
Even something as simple as lying in a bubble bath, going to a coffee shop, or reading a good book can change your mood and how you feel!
#11. Get out in the fresh air as much as possible and reconnect with nature.
Breathe in new clear fresh energy and let all staleness and tension go. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the stresses and busyness of the materialistic world we live in.
Go to the park, get up the hills, spend time at the beach, or beside a lake or loch. Notice the tiny buds on the trees and the snowdrops pushing through the ground. Hear the birds. Feel the wind in your hair. Smell the sea air. Touch and savour what is around you. Enjoy simply being still for a while and simply notice what you notice. Breathe in clear fresh energy and as you breathe out, let all staleness and tension go.
Spending time in the natural countryside away from your normal routine- and appreciating the beauty all around you – can help you refresh and recharge, help you reawaken your senses, give you a general sense of well being and make you feel renewed.
I hope you find these tips helpful.
Know you have a choice to dwell on low feelings, or focus on trying to do something about them. However, if you are struggling to shake off your low feelings and suspect you may be experiencing true anxiety or depression, please do seek professional help.
I encourage you not to try and deal with ongoing feelings of being low on your own.