How to Be More Positive: 5 Key Methods to Have an Optimistic Mindset

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Do you feel like you are always burdened by your stressors in life? Is it your performance at work? Is it your relationships? Is it financial troubles? Is it grief or loss? Ever had a panic attack? 

We are always confronted with something. Human as we are, we cannot close ourselves off from our emotions. To be removed from it or to overly indulge with it is both not beneficial. We can’t dismiss it, we can’t deny it, nor get drowned by it. Balance is the key. 

Sometimes, staying positive is difficult. It is easier to be consumed by our troubles and despair but at some point, don’t you think its enough? 

I am such a nocturnal creature. I can’t help but my brain just functions faster and better at night. But I can’t continually sleep late or wake up early with less sleep than I should. One time, I was at my hotel room, resolved to sleep early after reading an article about how our circadian rhythm must be followed. I have closed the lights, switched off the television, and put away my phone. 

I did sleep, but in the problem was I have woken up in the middle of the night as my thoughts run in full steam. I’m having a panic attack. My activities the following day has crept up on me and my heart is beating faster than it should. This is not good. Let me read something about this. Shit. I’m having anxiety about the fact that I’m having an episode of anxiety. Sounds familiar?

Or sometimes, we are just negatively thinking from a mood swing, an event, someone cuts us in traffic, or you know, just an off day in general.

I am no expert but let me share with you how I try to be more positive at times of depression, fear, or anxiety. I will not claim to have perfected these methods, but the following are some of the ways that have helped me cope and I hope you will try too.

Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. Let’s do this together.

1. Meditation

Meditation can help in clearing your thoughts with breathing techniques. I personally do a guided meditation with the help of meditation apps like Tide or some meditation podcasts on Spotify. If you are a beginner, I recommend trying on searching for meditation sounds to help yourself calm down.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Practicing meditation helps me to become more positive as I filter my thoughts and collect myself. In a few minutes, I am allowing myself to take time, for me. Because sometimes, even if we are physically alone and isolated, it does not guarantee that we are spending time with ourselves. We think about stuff constantly. We are still occupied. Meditation frees me for a few minutes to spend time with myself, as a form of self-love. I come out more positive than before when I do this, so I beckon you to try it too if you haven’t done so.

2. Playing music with positive lyrics or instrumentals with an optimistic beat

When I feel down, I always turn to music. I crank that volume up. Especially in the car, I sing along loud with my upbeat playlist. When I feel tired, I feed myself music for productivity. I search for genres under focus or concentration. It really helps me to calm down and concentrate.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Whenever I needed to write but don’t have the motivation to do so, I play instrumentals and it works like magic. My focus is laser sharp and I have a newfound optimism in writing. I feel inspired. Music has that influence in me, and I know it doesn’t work with everyone, but you can try to do it and see for yourself if it works.

3. Writing on a journal

When I feel confused, sad, fearful, uncertain, any negative emotion, or even gratitude, I write in my journal. I keep many notebooks, a digital notebook in Evernote, and some hard, old school journals. I have a personal journal, a to-do list notebook for work, and a notebook when I write bullets from the books I read.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Writing helps me a lot to clear my mind. It feels like offloading the data that occupies my brain and transferring it to a thumb drive, in the form of my notebook. The anxiety, when put to paper, has a calming effect and brings such positivity in me. I feel like a chapter of my life is written, and answers will come in time. It helps me so much to recover from stress and worries and fears.

4. Listening to educational and entertaining podcasts 

I think by now, we have established how much of an auditory learner I am. Podcasts for me is such an effective platform as it allows you to learn and be productive at the same time. Unlike watching videos, you will not end up sitting or lying in bed, occupied. You can be driving, washing dishes, fixing stuff, running, or doing any other mechanical tasks and still learn.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

 I listen to content that varies from comedy to educational. There is a lot of good content available. You can search and try some of the topics you enjoy and look for a podcast that you will find valuable. When I learn from this platform, either from interviews or conversations, I feel like time is not wasted and this leaves me happy and positive. 

5. Intentionally spending time with friends and family

Sometimes, when we are down, nothing beats an intentional conversation with our closest friends or family. If you are like me that is hesitant to unload troubles with other people, a simple conversation will do. Just being around a supportive community helps a lot. And if the conversations go deeper, then well and good. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I know, we are busy. But one thing I learned is to be more intentional in setting-up dates and schedules for a time to get together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or elaborate like a getaway. A simple coffe date, sleep overs, or a dinner will do.

Sometimes we just need to breathe and laugh. We don’t have to sulk in each other’s troubles. A good laugh reminds us of who we are, what we used to be, and what we can be. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to be positive around our peers and family. And once we start smiling, it helps to ease the pain. We can gain a new perspective on life. Sometimes, I am just surprised. Maybe you will too.

Share your thoughts

So you have a method on how to be more positive that I haven’t covered here? Leave a comment below and who knows, you will help anyone, or even me, to explore that technique of yours.

Together, let’s continue to push forward towards an optimistic mindset so we can be more productive and create a positive effect on others and in our community.

Cheers, and cheer up!

How I Overcame Powerlessness and Self-Pity

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

I wonder why I let myself spiral in this state. The state of powerlessness and self-pity.

I have allowed negative thoughts and feelings pester my head and I filled it with so much unhelpful garbage. I have always helped myself, I love self-help and productivity but somehow I have allowed the self-loathing thoughts to fill me and occupy me. 

It started as a thought. I am useless, why am I like this? What’s wrong with me? There’s something wrong with me? There’s something wrong with me. What started out as a thought, a question became a sentence. And what turned out to be a sentence, became my truth. And that self-conceived “truth” became my reality. I lived the misery. I entertained the sadness, I let the creeping feeling devour me and take me over. I have allowed myself to be conquered by my thoughts. 

It is really true, that what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve, It is true not only on positive stuff like running a marathon but also in depressing thoughts. The self-loathing thoughts will manifest on the outside, in the way you talk and carry yourself to others. You just couldn’t help the helplessness. The negativity will take over, it will overflow, and it will show. No matter how hard you try. 

Pessimism. I know I have been an optimist my whole life till recently. I have also doubted God in those times. I have sunk in a hole and I thought there is no survival and I thought I have reached a point of no return. I am convinced there’s no going back and I am doomed for misery and eternal condemnation if He is in fact true. 

The point is, I have not shielded or protected myself from this negativity. I have underestimated the influence of the podcasts and videos I listen into. I was hesitant at first, on the tolerant mindset of western culture. But in the end, I was consumed and I believed what they preached as true. 

Maybe it was the rebel in me. I always test the waters. I try to be bad at things. I test out people’s patience, I test the limits of how much I can push people. And it doesn’t always benefit me. In my experiments in life, I try to do bad things, not illegal stuff or immoral things to other people, but you know along the lines of being a mediocre employee, not study, or things that will push me out of the mould, the conventional, and tradition. It sucks that I tend to do that. And lately, it was pushing my belief system. I questioned my belief and the concept of truth in my life. 

Well, I think at the end of the day, its a question of which belief system worked for me. I was better when I’ve had God than without Him. I never felt more alone than when I relinquished my faith. Believing in God is a rational choice but is beyond logic. It takes a leap of faith and it takes a certain humility towards being human. And I am human. Even if I’m a rebel, I am still human and I can’t escape my tendencies as one. I am bound by my earthly flesh and I would like to believe that I am beyond all of it, but I am not. I am but human. Built with flaws and weaknesses. I am not perfect just like everyone else. I am hackable, my perception is limited and I am just as fragile. 

If I choose to be helpless and godless, I choose to serve myself. If I choose to believe in faith and in God, I have chosen hope. I have chosen to believe that there is more. There is more to life. That I am not of this world. That there is something beyond all this suffering. There is more. There is hope. There could be a reason why I suffer on this earth because I simply am not a citizen of this world. We look forward to a day when God will liberate me and end all of the human pain and suffering. 

It was a philosophical journey. I was looking at the existence of God, not at a personal level but on a philosophical perspective. I will not stop learning. I will still devout myself to learn more but this time, be more careful on the things I feed myself. After all, there is no joy in knowing that my life is meaningless. If I was only a carrier of genetic code to pass unto the next generation. If I continue to believe that, I will just turn into dust without hope.

So I choose hope. I choose faith in better things. I choose to believe in the promise of salvation.  I choose to believe by faith in Christ that He is gracious to accept me despite my flaws and imperfections. I choose grace, that despite me being a sinner, I am still welcome in the kingdom of God and claim His promise of eternity. A place where my human mind could not conceive and imagine. I am human, I have consciousness. 

The human consciousness can not be explained. It is a topic that even the great scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins cannot answer. Alister McGrath said, Christianity is more complex, it goes beyond rationality. It is more sophisticated. Indeed, it is more difficult to explain, it is difficult to encompass. Even the great scientist and polymath Blaise Pascal has resolved that it is irrational to wage against the existence of God. Rene Descartes believed in God, even Isaac Newton.  They are rationalists, logicians, mathematicians, the fathers of the scientific revolution. They have questioned the existence of God too, and they have resolved to believe that He exists. What makes me think that I am more of a rational thinker than them? It is hypocritical of me to do so. 

So again, I have anticipated all the arguments against God. I think I  have covered all the contentions possible, but at the end of the day, for me, it went down to the belief system that will bring me hope. A reason to wake up. A motivation to continue, press on, and hustle. Not for money, not for anyone, not for me, but for a greater cause beyond the limits of my mind or of this world.