Five Tips to Boost Positivity

A couple of days ago, around lunch time, I was standing on a street in Midtown Manhattan waiting to meet up with a friend. Midtown during the week is a crowded area and around noon the streets swell with office workers and tourists. As people walked past I heard snippets of conversations and began to notice a common theme. Groups of well-dressed, obviously well employed men and women were most often venting their frustration at colleagues, significant others, and family members.   

People pretty much uniformly want to feel happy and fulfilled in life. But the older you get the more you realize that being happy all the time is an unrealistic expectation. Life just has its ups and downs. Often the most irritating things to deal with aren't major health problems or tragedies. They are the grocery store running out of something you need right away (if only I had gone yesterday!), an annoying colleague at work who always seems to get away with doing half of what you do (do they even need this job?), a boss who lacks basic communication skills (how do these people get to be in charge?!), the washing machine breaking down right when you need something in an hour for an event, your significant other fighting with you when you decide you are too tired to follow through with plans, etc. The good part in each of these scenarios is that you have money to go to the grocery store, a job, access to a washing machine, or someone who loves you enough to get annoyed when you don't meet expectations. In these moments of annoyance though, positive thoughts are elusive.

So how can you get through the week (or the day!) elegantly and positively?

Here are five tips.

1.  Eat healthy

Yes, that chocolate bar or package of crackers may seem like the only thing you have the energy to eat after a long day or when you are running out the door in the morning. However, Googling quick healthy recipes on your way home from work and spending ten minutes making something more nutritious will help you get a good night’s sleep and will make tomorrow a better day. Having a healthy breakfast plan can make you feel much more confident to face the day and save time needing to get extra food halfway through the morning. Bonus points if dinner includes vegetables and breakfast includes fruit! 

2.  Get enough sleep  

If you go to bed at 1AM and have to get up the next day at 6AM, you are going to start your day off feeling annoyed from the start. Plan when you want to get up so you can start your day with the small success of getting out of bed on time and feeling well rested. Count back from your wake-up time how many hours of sleep you need so that you will know when to go to bed the night before.

3.  Exercise  

Doing some kind of physical activity will help clear your mind and release healthy endorphins. Not a fan of the gym? Take a walk. By the way, walking around your apartment or house doesn’t count – get out in the fresh air and enjoy seeing the flora and fauna. Need extra motivation? Download a fitness app to track your steps and set goals for yourself.  

4.  Spend some time each day on something that interests you

There is a lot of talk about work-life balance these days. In practice, depending on what kind of work you do, it can be hard, or feel nearly impossible, to follow the advice to shut off and focus on yourself or your family. But it’s really important to spend a little bit of time on hobbies or interests that you enjoy each day. Even just a few minutes will give you a feeling of control over your time, a better sense of perspective, and remind you just how varied and wonderful life can be. Plus, it will give you a time to look forward to each day.

5.  Find positives

Look for the good in people and situations. Maybe the grocery store running out of what you needed will push you to substitute something else that can become a new favorite. Maybe that annoying work colleague will help you get a promotion faster because your work will shine brighter alongside her work (or the lack there of). Or if it doesn't help earn you that promotion maybe it will push you to find a new job that just might be the dream job you didn't quite believe existed.  

For some reason, things we perceive as negative always seem to grab our attention more than the positives. If you are on the look-out for positive things you just might notice the really nice work colleague who might be fun to talk to, or the nicely manicured garden you pass by every day, or even the pretty pictures on your monthly wall calendar.  

Challenge

Today, every time you feel irritated try find something positive to feel happy about. Share in the comments how it goes and if you have any tips for dealing with annoying situations!