10 Ways To Stay Positive

1. MOVEMENT
The key to keeping a positive outlook is movement. Exercise is good for both mind and body, producing endorphins which lift your mood and can help eradicate depression. Thousands of years ago people were always on the go. They had no choice because their survival and way of life depended on it!! Over the decades however, as transport and technology have gradually transformed our lives, we’ve grown accustomed to the false idea that the less we move, the happier we are, THIS IS A MYTH. We need physical exertion because it is good for our well being and it is crucial as it promotes a positive disposition. My advise is to take a brisk walk in the fresh air, join a gym or a sports team, arrange to meet up with friends for a coffee rather than communicating through Facebook to save time, even just take the stairs instead of the escalator! There are countless activities we can gradually insert into our daily routine which will make a huge difference to the way we feel and by introducing small physical changes to your day it will gradually become a way of life.
2. BE THANKFUL
How ever awful the state of things get, I always find it possible to think of something I'm grateful for. I then hold on to it like I would a special gift that I've just unwrapped. Usually it helps if its something I take completely for granted like "I'm grateful for the opportunity of going to Uni in such a beautiful, historical city" or "I'm grateful I've woken up to a clean supply of drinking water" - that's one that really struck a chord with me quite recently. How many of you, just like me, take that luxury for granted? For many this would be an answered prayer! It's an absolute necessity for maintaining life and there it is at our fingertips. BEING GRATEFUL for such a blessing enables you to view things from a completely different perspective.
 
 
3. SMILE
This screams 'cliche', I know everybody says that a smile makes a huge difference to your day but thing is, it really does. A smile can give you a positive vibe even if you are having the worst day and feel like you're crumbling inside. Just walking through Durham town and lifting your head to acknowledge people with a smile lifts your spirits, especially when they return that gesture. A smile is infectious and it never fails to ignite that warm glow that creates a positive sense of well being from within. I know many people will not be looking at you and will miss it, some may look
straight through y’ouch, let’s face it, doesn’t sound an appealing option to boost your spirits. BUT it is crucial not to allow negative thoughts to impact so don't take it personally, keep going because one person will respond and you can't put a price on that feeling. Great thing is, you've probably made their day too!
 
4. TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR APPEARANCE
I always find that making the smallest effort such as painting my nails or putting on my favourite skirt can impact on my mood. Yes folks, do not underestimate the power of the freshly manicured nails! We all know how difficult it is to make an effort with our appearance when we are not feeling great and consequently how easy it to adopt a couldn't careless attitude. Of Course we ALL need those comfy PJ days once in a while! It’s our right to have those days where we throw our cares to the wind and just enjoy chilling. If you're not in a great mood however, putting that extra bit of effort in can make you feel so much better. You are simply concentrating on a little pampering which all us girls deserve.
 
5. TALK WITH YOUR FAMILY, SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It is so tempting to hide away and cut yourself off when you’re feeling down. You think "I really don't want to burden others with my negativity" so pulling that duvet up over your head to retreat sometimes seems like the best option. This is a lie of course and a dangerous place to be because it contributes to our negative mood, causing us to sink lower. Shutting out the people who care is a huge mistake!! When I feel down I never hesitate to call up my mum or arrange to meet with friends. It can help put your day in to perspective. Talking helps you realise that the stuff making you feel down is not that bad. Working through it with support from the people you trust, removes its power and enables you to see past the issue.
 
6. HAVE ‘ME’ TIME
Work Stress Work Repeat! Yes uni can get a bit intense sometimes, so much so that you think you will never relax again. But no matter how much work you have, it is probably going to be more
productive for you to set aside at least half an hour each day to just chill. Working flat out because you have convinced yourself that this is your only option is not a healthy choice. Whether in that time you choose to nap, go for a walk, watch a bit of tv or read a book is entirely your choice but it is a period of time that is essential for your well being. You need to take time out otherwise your brain will go into overload and not function as effectively. This will not help you stay positive and will in fact have the opposite effect,so be kind to yourself and take a break.
 
7. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Classical, jazz, Hip Hop, House, Heavy Metal, Indie, Pop, Disney.... Film, Funk, the list is endless and so whatever you are in to, listen to it. You could even compile, like I have, your own personal 'Positive
Playlist.' Here’s a few of my top POSITIVE songs which are guaranteed to boost your spirits:
Move On Up - Curtis Mayfield
You Make Me Feel So Young - Frank Sinatra. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners Bust It - Young MC
Happy - C2C feat Dean Martin
I am what I am - Gloria Gaynor
Mambo No 5 - Lou bega
Material Girl - Madonna
The Best is Yet to Come - Michael Buble
I Want You Back - Jackson 5
Do with it what you will!
Scientists have even produced evidence that suggests that listening to music that we enjoy can make us feel happier and more positive!
 
8. LEARN TO LOVE THE HATERS
We've ALL got them! Those people who judge us severely for what we say, how we chose to spend our days, what we post on social media sights, what we wear, how we look, our relationships with family and friends.......now a key ingredient to staying positive is learning to, in the perfectly expressed lyrics of Taylor Swift, "Shake it Off".
Don't worry I'm not going to go all philosophical on you but a famous Greek academic called Aristotle did say,
'There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing'.... Doesn’t sound the most appealing way to spend you life does it? My advise for staying positive therefore is to make yourself a bit like a reflective shield so that every negativity fired at you by other people, every judgmental expression, every spiteful word and criticism, is not absorbed, but simply deflected. To absorb will allow the negativity to take hold and weigh you down.
This is not good for anyone. You have no reason to prove yourself to others and if they have a problem with how you act or what you say, then that is their issue, don't make it yours.
 
9. SLEEP AND EAT
WELL DUH...... I know you are all aware of just how important sleeping and eating is and I am stating the obvious when I say this; its kind of compulsory to life, never mind positive living! Genuinely though, how we sleep and eat is key to our mental well-being. People, especially students, often neglect their health when they are stressed or feeling down. We should be getting at least 7-8 hours sleep per night in order for our bodies to function properly, and lack of sleep has been associated over the years with symptoms of depression. Our bodies need time to recover and sleep allows this important function to take place. When you sleep your subconscious has time to process the events of the day. Without this your brain will literally be overloaded and this will have an negative impact on your day to day living. Eventually your concentration, judgement, alertness and of course, your over all positivity of mind will be impaired.
The foods we eat also impact dramatically on our positivity. Refined sugars for example, can give you a great instant boost making you feel extremely happy and positive.... but this is short lived and often swiftly followed by a drop in mood. This low brings about a feeling of slovenliness and lethargy, which has an extremely negative impact on our mindset. SO, if you want to kick start your day in a positive way I would advise against sugary cereals or snacks; try porridge with fruit or avocado on toast topped with tomatoes. These foods will fuel your body sufficiently until lunch time and give you the required energy to get on with living. Reviewing your diet and replacing existing foods with healthy choices is well worth doing!
 
10. MUSE AND ENTHUSE
In a world full of technology, Netflix, computer games, mobile phones, X box etc it is so easy for us to become distracted from the things that really matter. We become so lost in these imitations of real life that we actually prioritize them above our own. I have been so guilty of this in the past! It was The Sims for me. I know there is nothing wrong with watching TV and using this as your down time but when you’re more concerned with trying to get a character married on a computer game, than going downstairs to get breakfast, then you’re outlook needs reassessing! I'm not going to start ranting about the world of TV or technology and shaming those who embrace these incredible devices. I love them myself and realise they have great worth. Watching Netflix or any form of entertainment can be a great way to teach us about life, if we listen and look past the fact that they are set in a far away Galaxy or that the characters all have magic wands. There are also
some amazing documentaries and other informative channels that challenge and teach us, enabling us to understand a wealth of topics that we may never have heard about if it were not for the exposure they get on these devices. What I am trying to say is that to maintain a positive mindset we have to strike a balance and be aware how easy these distractions can absorb our time. It is good for us to leave them for a while and step out in to the fresh air. To embrace a hobby that is actually impacting on your own life, whether it is sports, arts or some other physically related activity, will have a great impact on your well being. This has worked for me and many other people I know. Finding a hobby that does not involve sitting in front of a screen is a great way to express yourself through something you may have a natural talent for or will just allow you to have fun! Either way it leaves you with a great buzz which lifts your mood and contributes to your well-being.