Let’s face it: the last few months have been tough. Freezing temperatures, record-breaking storms, and crazy news stories may have left a lot of us feeling depressed or having negative thoughts. With springtime upon us, it’s time to shake the winter blues and renew those New Year’s resolutions to make 2019 the best year ever. Here are a few tips to help you nurture a positive mindset as you spring into this new season:
Some experts say gratitude is the key to having a positive attitude towards life and yourself. Writing down the things you are thankful for in a journal, jar, or memory box can help you focus on the good in life, even when times are hard. Having a record of life’s ups and downs is like having proof that things get better, cultivating a sense of security and optimism over time.
Make It a Group Effort
Despite the old adage “opposites attract,” the truth is human beings are social creatures, and we absorb others’ behaviors like sponges. Try recruiting friends and family to your cause; if it doesn’t catch on, join a group online or start one of your own. Incorporate positive posts into your social media activity, and encourage others to do the same. You’ll be more likely to keep your new attitude if it is reflected in your social circle.
Switch up Your Playlist
Sometimes there’s nothing more inspiring than hearing from real people. Perhaps that’s why positivity podcasts have taken on such popularity. There’s a whole range of motivational speakers, authors, entrepreneurs, and spiritual gurus with positive energy to share, and no reason not to soak it up. The average person spends 11 hours a day online, so why not spend some of that time plugged in to positive content?
Successful people value people, even those who don’t add value to them. More than performing random acts of kindness, generosity should be intentional, thoughtful, and tangible. One study found that both types of generosity activate an important part of the brain’s reward system, causing feelings of pleasure and well-being. Intentional, or “targeted” acts of generosity, however, affect the amygdala as well, lowering activity related to stress and anxiety. Kindness literally improves your mental state, and makes the world a better place for everyone.
Now that the weather’s warming up, spending time outdoors can improve mood, energy levels, and cognitive function. Exposure to sunlight also assists in serotonin production, which helps regulate things like mood and sleep. Add exercise to the mix to release endorphins and feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and increase the brain’s ability to learn and retain all your newly-minted good habits.
Now that you have some ideas to get started, it’s time to put them into action. Nominate some friends for a positive mindset challenge, head to the park for an invigorating walk, or download a positive podcast to motivate you on your morning commute. Find what works best for you—then stick with it!