Last month I did daily blog posts on things that I am thankful for.  There were days where I felt that I was really grasping to find something to write about.  That is, other than my family and close friends, who I am always thankful for!  It was just that some days really were just ordinary days where nothing amazing happened, or nothing stuck out as exceptional. 

This seemed to be happening more towards the end of the month.  At first I felt that maybe I was “running out” of new things to be thankful for.  I mean, how many times does a reader want to hear that I’m thankful for great weather or cuddles from my pets? 

But then, after giving this some thought, I realized that while I may not have had easily reachable things to write in my daily posts, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t being thankful.  More likely it was that having spent a number of days working on posts that pointed out positive things that I was thankful for, I had changed my overall mindset to one that is more positive.  And to be honest, that is probably something that I am most thankful for!!

In looking back to before I started that Month of Thankfulness, I realize that I had been more likely to look at the negative side of things.  And in doing that project, in becoming more positive in the way I view things, I have realized that it isn’t just me who has the tendency to look at the negative side of things. Almost everyone seems to look for the negatives.  There are very few who can, without much thought, view things in the positive light most of the time.

But we all can work on becoming more positive in our outlooks!  Purposeful positivity can make it easier to be positive by nature!  But it definitely takes practice.  And it takes the commitment to want to work on it. 

I am putting forth a challenge to anyone who is reading this to mindfully and purposely work on being positive for this month of December (or for whatever month you may be seeing this post)!  Let’s see if we can all enter the new year (or new month) with a better, more positive outlook!  

And to help you with this, I am offering these suggestions on how you can accomplish this challenge:

Suggestion 1 – Get a small white board (like the one pictured above).  Every morning write down something (or many things) that is positive.  I like to keep a motivational quote at the top of mine and change it up from time to time.  And then I add new things every day underneath that quote.  It’s become a ritual of mine to write down positive thoughts or reminders for the day before I make my morning cup of coffee.  It sets a positive mood for the day! Some days I will go back to the board at the end of the day to add some great things that happened during the day.  Then the next morning, before I wipe away the prior day’s writing, I can look at what was there for the day before and have a happy reflection or a motivation to have another positive day ahead!

Suggestion 2 – If you find yourself annoyed or upset about something, write down what is upsetting you.  Even if you think you’re too busy to do it right then and there, take the moment to jot it down.  When you have time to look at what you wrote, ask yourself 2 questions … 

  1. Is this something that I can control?
  2. In relation to everything else, is this REALLY that important?

If you answer the first question with a “yes”, then write down the steps that you can take to change the negative into a positive and then take those steps!  If you answered that question with a “no”, then ask yourself what you can control.  Also ask yourself … if I have no control over this, how can I accept that it is the way it is, and not let it have a negative effect on other things in my life?  Don’t forget,  you can control how you react to something/someone.  Feeding the negative is your choice.  If you don’t feed it, it cannot thrive!

If you answer the 2nd question with a “no”, then you have realized that this is honestly of such little importance that it is not worth your energy to give it thought.  Don’t let something that is of little importance suck the joy out of everything else!  Take your pen and cross out that negative thing!!  Erase it from your life as something to take up your energy!  If you answered “yes”, then you need to take time to work through what needs to be done for this to not be a negative.  Write down all possible solutions, even if you feel that they are not really attainable.  Writing them down may actually help you find something that will work!  Or it may get you to the point of being able to answer the question with a “no”.

Suggestion 3 – Really listen to and consider the advice of friends/loved ones!  Just griping about something is not going to change anything!  Yeah, sometimes it feels good to be able to vent.  But it feels even better to figure out what to do about it!  So, if you plan to bitch, moan and complain to a friend or loved one, allow room for their suggestions.  Don’t cut down any advice, even if it won’t work.  I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve been on the receiving end of a person’s “vent session” and were probably frustrated when they blocked every suggestion you gave, quickly responding with why it couldn’t work.  After a few rebuffs, you probably stopped making any more suggestions and felt like ending the conversation.  Don’t be the one to push away any suggestions.  Thank the person who is trying to help!  They really are concerned and trying to help make things better for you!  Write down their suggestions, even if you don’t think they will work.  Later, look at them objectively.  They still may not work, but at least you should give the suggestions an honest appraisal!  And, in looking at them with fresh eyes, you may find a different solution.

Suggestion 4 – EXERCISE!!  Don’t say that you have no time to exercise!  Make the time!  Seriously, MAKE THE TIME!!  Everyone can find 15 to 30 minutes to exercise in a day.  It doesn’t have to be an hour long session at the gym.  It could be a walk around the block.  Or you could look for a zumba video on YouTube and dance for a few minutes! Exercise releases endorphins!  Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain to create positive feelings!  Did you know that endorphins are structurally similar to morphine?  But they are something that your body naturally produces.  So you get the benefit of pain reduction and mood boosting without the negative side effects of the drug.  In addition to the mind boosting power of exercise, if you increase your activity level, you will physically be healthier.  And you will physically look better too.  Your clothes will fit better, your skin will glow!  And these in turn will contribute to positive feelings! 

Suggestion 5 – Meditate!  This one can be more difficult for some people.  Some people never really got into the idea of meditation, or they may not know how to even start.  There are a ton of guided meditation apps out there.  But I am going to suggest you download an app called Enliven.  It’s not guided meditation.  This app will provide you with a daily motivational quote, which will get your mind thinking in a positive manner.  But in addition to that, you can touch and hold a spinning icon on the app for a couple of second and you will hear wonderful meditation music.  Then just close your eyes and either try to “blank” your mind (very difficult to do, I know) or try to bring to mind things that are positive in your life.  Think of a good friend, your fluffy pet or a beautiful sunset.  Or picture a green meadow with flowers blooming, the sun shining warmly on your skin and a soft breeze blowing.    Whatever you need to bring your mind into a peaceful, positive state, do this for a few minutes or longer.  You will feel refreshed afterwards.  I do this in the morning, before getting out of bed, and again at night before sleep.  But you can do this at any point in your day. 

As an example, let’s say you’re on a crowded subway and the person next to you keeps pushing into you, whether purposefully or not.  Definitely a negative, stressful situation!  Plug in your headphones and do this exercise.  You’ll be much more relaxed and realize that while that person is kinda being a jerk, that’s their negativity and it doesn’t need to make you feel negative.  And, keep in mind that the negative situation will end once you get to your stop.  It’s not a forever thing!

The ability to be positive, especially in today’s world, is not easy.  It will take work.  But the more you work on it, the more it becomes a habit, and the easier it will be to think positively first, rather than going to the negative.  And it is definitely worth it!  Those who think positively, attract positive things into their lives! 

Good luck and let me know in the comments if any of these suggestions were helpful or if you have more suggestions, definitely add them there!!  I’m always open to hearing what others think and can add positivity to my life!