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7 easy techniques to make you more positive

Good Housekeeping UK logo Good Housekeeping UK 10/01/2019 Anya Meyerowitz
a woman talking on a cell phone © Todor Tsvetkov - Getty Images

Sometimes remaining positive can feel like a tough task but particularly in January, with our brains still pining for Christmas and our bodies yearning to just be sedentary in front of Netflix, it can feel impossible.

But it turns out that it isn't. 

             

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Anyone can train themselves to be more positive, we just have to know how. So we spoke to effective behaviours expert and author of 7 Skills for the Future, Emma-Sue Prince, who shared seven techniques for becoming more positive.

'Happiness and being positive are yours for the taking with some very simple actions,' Emma-Sue explains. 'Try to bring some of these into your day-to-day and you will immediately feel the impact!'

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Write down what you are grateful for

Keeping track of all the things you appreciate in your life can improve your mood, health and sense of perspective too. Practising gratitude boosts your immunity, helps you sleep better, reduces depression symptoms. Reflecting on just a few positive things can shift your mind-set instantly. The best way to do this is to write a journal – either by writing down at the end of the day the good things that happened or finding some positives to be grateful for – i.e. your health, hot shower, coffee, good food, a home etc. Just writing down 3 good things is sufficient.

Embrace negativity

This doesn’t mean being pessimistic but instead accepting that negative experiences are just as important for our lives as positive ones. If you can accept that, then you’ll be better equipped to develop a positive ‘indifference’ to negative thoughts or set-backs and have a better way of dealing with them. Life has its ups and downs and we need to embrace each and every one of them and grow from them. Choose to do this right now with something that is not going so well for you at the moment.

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Rethink happiness

Happiness can be yours right now – in fact, it is yours right now, not something that is forever in the future. Let go a little and relax. Go with the flow more. Take some time to define what happiness and wellbeing really mean to you – they should be about balance, rewarding work, a loving relationship, a network of friends and family, good health; many of these things are inside your control. So practise letting go of the things that aren’t and accept them. That way lies real happiness and contentment.

It’s as easy as ABC… DE

Try the ABCDE approach of dealing with a problem or any event. Adversity, Belief, Consequences, Dispute and Energise. This is a technique introduced by positive psychology guru Martin Seligman and is all about understanding how you interpret something and what impact that has. What’s important here is to realise that it’s not the external problem or event that makes you feel a certain way, it is your own interpretation of it! Seligman’s students practised ABCDE for a period of time and noted down the results of the D and E part which is disputing the beliefs you have about a situation – and so change starts to happen - Energise.

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Ditch the self-help books

For years I read self-help books. I was quite proud of my collection! For some reason they made me feel better, but I rarely carried out any of the exercises in them. Did you know that publishers of self-help books refer to the ‘18-month rule’?20They say that the person most likely to purchase any self-help book is someone who, within the past 18 months, bought a self-help book that evidently didn’t solve their problems! They’re making a lot of money and they certainly made a fair amount off me! So just get rid of books, affirmations and CDs, they will not make you happy or more optimistic. You have to do that yourself, and you CAN!

Stop trying to think positively

Apart from anything else it’s exhausting and, if you become a Pollyanna by being continually overly positive, you may just find that you really start annoying other people. The way to healthy positivity is through getting to know yourself, taking responsibility and understanding how you tend to respond to things. After that, it’s about taking action.

Find ways to relieve anxiety and worry

We are all prone to worry and stress. It is up to us to manage ourselves to handle that. So look after yourself. If you’re working hard to a deadline, make time for an early morning swim or treat yourself to a massage. Make sure you relax and switch off properly in the evenings so you can sleep well. The fact is that the more you can achieve healthy optimism, the less prone you will be to worry because you will simply feel far more in control of your life and are more likely to accept that events that cause worry and stress are a normal part of our lives.


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