It’s Positive Attitude Month. It might seem funny that having a positive attitude is celebrated in just one month, October, but it is an important reminder that all our attitudes and outlooks could use a bit of a tune-up from time to time. Here are 7 ways to live more positively starting today.
1. Start your day with positivity.
Plan ahead so you can engage in mood-improving and resilience-building activities first thing in the morning. Make your lunch and pick out your outfit the night before. In the morning, set your intention and mood for the whole day. Maybe do some yoga or journal or sit on your deck in the quiet watching the sunrise with your morning cup of coffee. However, you spend the first waking moments of your day, make sure that you spend them in activities that will set you up to have a positive attitude during the hours that follow.
2. Take care of your body.
Body self-care comes in a variety of forms, each helping you feel better. Make sure to exercise. Even low-impact aerobic activities such as walking boost the production of serotonin, our happy hormone. Prioritize adequate hydration and sleep so your body can function optimally. Eat healthy foods to fuel your body for all the obstacles you face in a day. Nutritious foods such as antioxidant-rich Aronia berries help protect your body from stress and illness.
3. Spend time outside
Study after study shows that our bodies were meant to be outdoors at least part of the time. Spending time in bright light during the day helps regulate our Circadian rhythms and allows us to enjoy more restful sleep at night. Taking time out in nature can reduce anxiety and depression. Whether you take time to work in your yard, take a walk around the neighborhood, or hike in the woods, your body, and your mind will reap the benefits.
4. Reframe your thinking.
It is so easy to fall victim to a negative mindset, especially when the news and social media seem to be full of strife and criticism, but you have the power to change your thought processes. For example, when you witness someone struggling, rather than mentally criticizing them, think compassionately and remember a time when you were struggling and send them a positive thought. Choosing to think positively when you face negative thoughts may be difficult at first, but it will eventually become second nature with practice.
5. Curate a positive environment.
Surround yourself with thoughtful people who feed your mind and soul. Avoid gossip. Definitely avoid the comments on social media. Participate in activities you enjoy and invite like-minded people with you. By controlling the situations that you can, especially during your leisure time, you can elevate your mood and lead yourself to more positive thoughts throughout the day.
6. Practice gratitude.
Whether you do it first thing in the morning or last thing before bed, aloud or in writing, alone or with your family, practicing gratitude daily will remind you of your good fortunes and make your difficulties easier to bear. Setting a goal to name 5 or 10 things you are grateful for each day might take some effort at first, but eventually, you will be looking at your whole day through the lens of gratitude, and naming those blessings will become easier.
7. Give yourself grace.
We are not perfect. None of us are, not even that person at work who seems to have it all together all of the time. Be kind to yourself. When you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it. Fix it if you can, apologize if you need to, and move on. If you miss meeting one of your daily goals one day, acknowledge it and start fresh the next day. We cannot be loving and compassionate to others unless we give the same care to ourselves.
You may be practicing some or all of these techniques already, but if you’re not, it’s never too late to start. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to build all seven habits right away. Experts say it takes between 18 days to almost a year, with the average being about 2 months, to build a new habit, so pick the one you feel you’ll have the most success with and start there. Even though October is Positive Attitude Month, you have the rest of your life to practice positivity and reap the benefits.