Practicing Positivity

Photo of older man riding a bike

Is the glass half full or half empty? Is it really a big controversy when we have the opportunity to take advantage of a free refill? Either way, there’s still a personal investment involved in changing your mindset. Sometimes the state of our emotional health can be impacted by how we’re treating our bodies. The good news is that, with a little effort and motivation, you can develop an optimistic, hopeful and confident outlook. Setting goals and having regular check-ins with yourself will help you commit to self-care and realign your thinking in order to keep a more positive outlook – even in difficult situations and through challenging times. 

“Especially now during such difficult times, the importance of hope and a positive outlook is crucial to working through the stress of the pandemic,” commented Aileen Brady, Community Alliance COO. 

Be Mindful – Be right here, right now – not buried in yesterday or consumed with tomorrow. Focus on cultivating a state of consciousness that is present and available, attentive and non-judgmental. 

Be Grateful – Acknowledge and appreciate what you are grateful for; situations that have blessed you. And make an effort to actively express your gratitude – chances are it will bless you as much as those you’ve thanked.

Eliminate the Negative – You can avoid negative thinking by focusing on gratitude. But it can be difficult to stay positive when you’re surrounded by negativity. Do your best to limit your exposure to the people, places and things that bring you down. With practice, you can resist worry and fearful thoughts.

Make Yourself a Priority – Make an effort to routinely engage in positive actions and interactions that feed your spirit and improve your quality of life. Take time to discover exactly what this means to you. 

Give Back – Invest time and energy in serving people and projects that bring purpose and meaning to your life and to others, too.

Practice Positive Self Talk.

Positive self-talk can make a dramatic difference in our ability to cope – especially during stressful situations. Make an effort to commit the following phrases to memory and create some meaningful phrases of your own.

  • I will make myself a priority. Taking care of myself is important because I am important.
  • I can use the power of my friendly smile to help lift my own mood.
  • I can choose not to allow someone else’s bad mood to rule my day.
  • Not everything goes my way, but I will find ways to accept circumstances, adapt and adjust.
  • I can learn to enjoy the unexpected, even if it’s not what I originally wanted.
  • No matter how many times I fall, I can still get back up. 
  • I have dealt with more difficult situations, so I know I can get through this. And better days are yet to come.
  • This situation is hurtful, so I will make an effort to be extra kind to myself.
  • I can practice positivity by encouraging someone else today.

6 Everyday Ways to Promote Positive Mental Health:

1. Make positive connections. Reach out to family and loved ones. Social connection is an important way to reduce and prevent symptoms of depression. 

2. Focus on eating healthy. Depression and anxiety can lead us to skip meals or eating low-quality “junk foods” that can contribute to low moods. Eating nutrient-rich foods – like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains — can contribute to a balanced mood.

3. Create a gratitude list. Find 3 things to add to it daily. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude supports a resilient “psychological immune system.” 

4. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep. Poor sleep has been shown to significantly worsen the symptoms of many mental health issues. 

5. Limit your screen time. Excessive screen time is generally linked to progressively lower psychological well-being.

6. Get moving, outside if possible! Find a form of fitness you really enjoy – hiking, biking, basketball, walking the dog. Getting outdoors is a huge bonus, too, because exercise and being outside both work to reduce depression and anxiety.

Dealing with Difficult Times Takes Determination.

Sometimes the best way to deal with stressful, overwhelming situations is finding proactive ways to limit them or avoid them altogether. Develop your own strategy for confronting people, places or things that you already know will trigger you. This may mean making changes to your lifestyle, relationships and even your daily routines. It’s a good idea to practice your coping skills before you find yourself triggered so you can easily use them when you need them most. This includes establishing a list of safe, trusted people. And it can also mean putting together a list of phrases that can help you get out of sticky situations.

Here are some ideas:

  • “You’ve given me a lot to think about.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “Let’s talk about this later.”
  • “Interesting…”
  • “That’s not going to work for me.”
  • “No thanks.”

Have an Exit Strategy

Be aware of your own warning signs that you’re becoming triggered. Pay attention to negative situations, images, thoughts, moods and behaviors that can alert you that a crisis could be developing. And create a list of coping tools that can help – things you can do to take your mind off problems when it’s not convenient to reach out to a support.

Here are some ideas:

  • Excuse yourself and take your leave
  • Go for a walk or run
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Listen to an uplifting podcast
  • Read thoughtful, inspired meditation

According to Carole Boye, Community Alliance CEO, “When we maintain a positive outlook, we have power over our own lives rather than letting the difficult times dictate our response.”

Help is Within Reach

At Community Alliance, we offer a full range of integrated health services including primary and psychiatric care, mental health and substance use counseling, rehabilitation and employment services, supportive housing, community, family and peer supports and more.