Let’s face it, people, it sure has been a hard year to stay positive and to see the glass as half-full. The bombardment of negativity, corruption, and a global pandemic sure has left us in a tailspin of uncertainty, fear, and constant worry, 2020 has been some kind of year! You may have also experienced a pendulum of emotions ranging from grief and sadness to counting your blessings and celebrating the little things in life that may have left you exhausted and off-kilter.

You are not alone!

It is important to know that feeling all the feels is okay and more importantly, essential to honor where you are in the process. This year is hallmarked with practicing humility and kindness for yourself, and did I mention patience too?

So if you are struggling some days to stay positive, know you are not alone. This year we may just have to practice the skills to be positive more than usual.

It has been shown through research that a positive outlook can help with a better quality of life, higher energy levels, lower rates of depression, better stress management, and coping skills, and better quality of life. Now, that doesn’t mean every day is going to be all rainbows and unicorns but I find that as humans we can be our own best science experiment. What if you tried it for a week and see if you feel differently?

So, can you train your brain to think more positively? You betcha! Knowing that life will always bring challenges and unpredictability, how can you face change in a more positive light? (mind you, not all circumstances may apply to this scenario). Perhaps a friend just canceled a much anticipated socially distant night out or long-awaited travel plans to see family was now postponed? Although disappointed, how can you look at this shift differently? Does it free up time for another activity? Is it an opportunity for you to catch up on some much-needed rest or read that book you have been eyeing for weeks? Begin to think more in this way and your disappointment or frustration may lighten up over time.

Another tip for aligning to more positivity? Try starting a gratitude journal to declare your gratefulness! Each morning I annoyingly ask my family…what are 3 things you are grateful for? In their eye-rolling expression and heavy sigh, they agree to my request. I know they will thank me later when they realize that it lifts their spirits and helps them start their day with zeal. It has been a helpful tool for me, especially on those grumpy heavier days.

Make sure to laugh: Sometimes you just got to have a good giggle. Watch a funny movie, call an extra silly friend, be creative in finding some light-heartedness. Maybe just wear a silly hat, or put on some funny clothes, to try to not take yourself so seriously all the time. Laughter helps lower stress and anxiety. Did you know there is a thing called Laughing Yoga? People would get together in a room and just laugh. Not only has this movement become popular over the years but it proved highly effective.

Keep good company. Ever have those people that drain you? You know the ones that make you have to take a nap or sit idle for the next hour because their company and negativity rendered you useless. Perhaps it is time to look at those individuals and figure out if their company suits you anymore? Begin to re-assess the company you keep. Perhaps reducing time with those that pull you down, or spending more time with those that lift you can bring a sense of calm and joy to your day. Now I understand that this can be tricky territory so if you need to be in the company of those negative Nancy’s then how can you keep it short and ground yourself before being in their presence.

Always be your own best cheerleader! That’s right people, realize how amazing you are. A good pat on the back for yourself can do wonders for your self-esteem. Positive self-talk can help regulate your mood and your feelings. If you make an error just try it again in a different way. Changing your brain patterns is a fabulous way to make headway (no pun intended). When you start to get into negative patterns of yourself, start that cheer and switch the pathways.

Now, remember, don’t expect each day to be a silver lining. Positive thinking is not about burying negative thoughts or emotions. Sometimes our lowest moments are the ones that help us make positive change. On those days where it is hard to be positive then count on your support team to help you through the day. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, being vulnerable, and needing to be lifted by those who love you, having your tribe can be a tremendous gift.