With COVID numbers in decline and vaccinations on the rise, things are finally starting to look up. Though 2020 was a difficult year for all of us, 2021 has the potential to be great. After a year of canceled plans and social isolation, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
While the return to normalcy is imminent, we’re all carrying a lot of baggage from the previous year. If you find yourself struggling to stay positive even as things start to improve, you’re not alone. Don’t let negativity stand in the way of you enjoying this bright new year. Be intentional about identifying and addressing negativity and choose to see things through a positive lens.
Here are 7 simple tips to inject your year with a little positivity.
- Acknowledge and address negative self-talk.
Everyone has a continuous stream of self-talk running through their heads on a daily basis. Though you may not always be aware of it, this inner dialogue reflects your attitude and can impact your emotions and your perceptions of the world around you. The first step in cultivating a positive outlook is to acknowledge and address that negative self-talk – especially when you’re the subject. Treat yourself kindly and do your best to give others the same treatment. When you stop thinking negatively, positive thoughts won’t be far behind.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude through journaling.
There’s no denying the difficulties of life but just because it gets hard sometimes doesn’t mean it’s all bad. You have plenty to be thankful for and there’s no better way to start cultivating a positive attitude than through recognizing and appreciating what you have by starting a gratitude journal. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you keep things in perspective. When times are tough it’s easy to focus on the negative, but by intentionally recognizing the good things you’ll be able to challenge (and hopefully change) that negative attitude.
- Reframe negative thoughts through a positive lens.
As you start to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, the atmosphere in your mind may start to shift toward the positive end of the spectrum. Embrace this change and take the initiative to challenge negative thoughts when they do come around. When something unexpected happens, hit the pause button on negative thoughts of worry or stress and try to think of it as an opportunity to adapt or to try something new. Reframing negative thoughts takes practice but the results are well worth the effort.
- Take care of your physical and mental health.
You may not realize it, but your physical and mental health are closely linked. If you’re having a hard time cultivating a positive outlook, shift gears and try focusing on improving your physical health for a while. Eating well, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep will help you feel your best and when you’re feeling well, you’re more likely to be positive. You don’t have to do a major overhaul of your life, either – small and simple changes can make a big difference if you let them!
- Look for opportunities to lift others up.
When you’re feeling blue, sometimes the best thing you can do is stop thinking about yourself and do something nice for someone else. Positivity is contagious, so if you can do something simple to brighten someone else’s day, their mood might catch on. If nothing else, it will distract you from your negative thoughts for a little while which may be all you really need.
- Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself.
Life is stressful, there’s no denying it. If you spend your life enslaved by that stress, however, you’re bound to be miserable. Rather than focusing on the seemingly endless cycle of worries and obligations, take some time to set goals for yourself. Having a few personal goals to work toward can give you a sense of purpose – it gives you direction so you’re actually working toward something and not just treading water, trying to stay afloat. Set a couple of small goals you can achieve in the short-term so when you do achieve them, you’ll enjoy renewed motivation to work toward your long-term goals.
- Draw support from others and seek help when you need it.
When you feel like you just can’t overcome a negative thought or attitude, reach out to a family member or friend for support. Sometimes the simple act of sharing your worries with someone else makes them seem more manageable. If you’re struggling to cope with a stressful situation or having difficulty changing habits that contribute to negativity, consider seeking professional help. Talk to your doctor or chat with a psychiatrist online to get the help you need from home.
The beginning of a new year provides the opportunity for a fresh start, but it’s up to you to make the necessary changes to turn that potential into reality. Things are far from perfect, but change is coming and the best thing you can do is welcome it with a positive attitude. Put your negativity on the back burner and try some of these simple tips to start cultivating a positive outlook for 2021.