Are you in a job you can't stand? A relationship that's going nowhere? Can't seem to shed those last 10 pounds? Well, without sounding like a bad TV commercial, I'm here to help.
We're all guilty of whining, complaining and copping out, especially if, like me, you have any bit of Irish blood in you. It seems to be in our nature. The problem is, we've become desensitized to our complaining, and negativity has somehow creeped its ugly way into our daily lives.
Commenting on the poor weather, the dark evenings, the government's latest scandal or basically anything we can complain about, has an indirect effect on our interactions and daily habits.
Think about it: The more you rant, the more negative your mindset becomes, and the more effort it takes to consciously focus on changing your attitude to a more positive one.
It's not half as hard to be motivated about having a good day when you initially wake up. Firstly, you're probably still half asleep, but also your mind is in a good, neutral position.
Not only that, according to leading positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, when you experience a negative emotion like fear, anger, stress or worry, a response akin to "fight or flight" is generated.
When faced with whatever threat you put in front of yourself that elicits a negative emotion, your mind closes, narrowing your options to escape the imminent danger as quickly as possible. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Now consider the reverse: Frederickson has found that when the mind is occupied by positive thoughts and emotions, more options are considered, and a general openness to experiences and opportunities replaces the previous narrow mindset.
Leading a more positive life is easier said than done if you're not aware of your negative habits in the first place. Also, it can be hard to reverse what may be a lifetime of perfecting the language of complaint.
It is no coincidence that those who seem to get what they want in life are always happy and upbeat. The truth is, once you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
How does one live a more positive life? Here are eight simple steps you can take every day for a happier and brighter life:
1. Change how you look at things.
It is easy for me to sit here, write this article and objectively tell you there is something good in every situation. It is hard to become a glass half-full kind of person if, to you, it was always half empty.
It takes time, mindfulness and a willingness to change, but it can be done. Once you start paying attention to the positive aspects of a situation, it becomes impossible to ignore them. Soon it will become second nature and you will instantly see the light in every situation. Because there is one.
2. See the opportunities in your setbacks.
As the old cliché goes, "For every door that closes, another one opens." You just have to be willing to look for it. Step back from your situation, take a deep breath and reevaluate your surroundings.
You won't see the alternative opportunities presented if you're hung up on not letting go of your setback. You won't see the new possibilities that lie ahead if you're retracing your steps back down to pathway that didn't work out. Have faith that it didn't work out because something better is around the corner, you just need to keep going.
3. Wake up every morning and choose to make it a good day.
We have the power to make a choice every morning that today will be a good day. It will be a good day because we will make it so. This I know from experience.
Even on those days where everything seems to be going wrong, the world is out to get you and the universe is testing your patience, only you can decide if this will bother you.
Consider my very recent scenario of running out of petrol on a motorway, with no idea as to where I was. Instead of panicking, I weighed my options, made a few phone calls, threw on an extra jumper, whipped out the new book I had just bought and lost myself in another story until help came along.
Granted, it is not a life-or-death scenario, but you would be surprised at how many people would panic in that situation, cursing their bad luck while frantically screaming, "Why me?!"
4. Do something every day that makes you happy.
Laugh, dance, read, run, sleep, write, sing, cook, eat, kiss, play, etc.
5. If you decide where you are is not where you want to be, move.
If you want to live in Australia, move to Australia. Research how to get there, how much it's going to cost, where to live and work toward getting there.
If you believe you'll be happier living in another place, even for a little while, then go. If you're not enjoying it as much as you thought, you can always come home. It's always better to move than live to regret it.
6. Quit your job if it's making you consistently miserable.
Have faith in yourself to pursue something you believe will bring you happiness. If you find yourself being put down in work, complaining about your boss a little more than you probably should or feel in any way bullied in your workplace, quit.
Life is too short; it is not worth it. You will find something else. Trust in your abilities; there is always work if you look hard enough for it.
7. End a bad relationship.
If you are constantly feeling undervalued, unappreciated, unloved and unsupported, what are you still doing in a toxic relationship? Instead of leaving the power to make you happy in the hands of someone else, make your own happiness first.
Energy attracts energy, and good vibes are drawn to good vibes. If you put the time into making yourself into a happier, more positive person, that is the kind of person you will attract.
8. If all else fails, try the #100happydays challenge.
Seeking out small positives in everyday life can have a profound effect on how you view your surroundings, especially if it is done as consistently as every day for 100 days.
Why not give the challenge a go, see it as your social media journal and find something that makes you smile. Sometimes the positives in our everyday lives are overlooked because of our fast-paced lifestyles.But, when you're actively making a conscious effort to document the little things that make you smile, you can't ignore them. You become more aware of their presence long after the hashtagging trend has passed.