Life isn’t always easy and when you consistently give in to negative patterns of thought, higher levels of stress follow. Your outlook on life is something that you can affect, it impacts your mood and it shapes the way you view the world. When choosing positivity, you can start seeing the world in a different way, and you may reduce your stress level in doing so. Here are six simple tips to help you relieve stress and start cultivating a more positive attitude.
1. Choose to see the silver lining
Positivity isn’t necessarily something you’re born with. Though some people simply have a “glass half full” kind of personality, being positive is as much a choice as a personal characteristic. You may not be able to completely turn your outlook around overnight, you can commit yourself to trying. When times get tough, pause and try asking yourself what there is to be learned from the situation rather than immediately focusing on the negative. You may not always be able to do it in the moment, so come back to the moment later and see if you can find the good that came of it.
2. Recognize and reframe negative thoughts
While some people seem to have a knack for finding the silver lining, I, and others, have to work at it. Most of us have an ongoing dialogue running through our heads and the direction that dialogue moves can have a significant influence on your outlook. When you notice your thoughts trending negative, take a moment to pause and reframe them and focus on the good in the situation. Challenge negative self-talk and, even if you can’t completely turn them around in the moment, try to at least reframe them in a more constructive way.
3. Make time for self-care on a regular basis
When you feel like you’re always on and don’t have any time to yourself, it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of negativity. Exhaustion contributes to stress, so make self-care a priority and take time to rest your body and recharge your spirit at least a few times a week. Self-care is everything from paying your bills on time to something you’re doing entirely for yourself. Once you've taken care of your bills, give yourself a manicure or spend the afternoon making your own lip gloss. You might even invite a friend over and mix your own perfume. Whatever you enjoy that gives you energy works perfectly for self-care.
4. Prioritize positive relationships
As if living through a global pandemic weren’t stressful enough, social isolation and loneliness can make matters worse. Make time for the important people in your life and don’t waste your time on toxic relationships that bring you down. Try to connect with at least one person you care about on a daily basis, even if it’s something as simple as sending a text message. If you’re comfortable with in-person interaction, meet for coffee or go for a walk on your lunch break. Stay masked!
5. Take care of your physical and mental health
Stress and poor mental health have a two-way relationship, exercise can have a positive influence on both. Exercise releases endorphins and feel-good neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine which can help relieve stress and boost your mood. Just 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week combined with healthy food choices makes a huge difference. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues consider seeing a virtual psychiatrist to get the help you need.
6. Start keeping a gratitude journal
Try cultivating an attitude of gratitude by starting a journal or simply making a list of things you’re thankful for. After a while, gratitude will become a habit and when times get tough you’ll have a mental list of good things that can help you turn your attitude around.
It takes time and intention to reframe your outlook on life. If you’re looking for a way to relieve stress, choosing and working toward a positive attitude could make a difference. Try out some of the tips above to get started.