Living life from a positive standpoint can be difficult when faced with the stresses that daily living presents. From a psychological point of view, positivity is all in your mind, and is also ultimately dependent on how you’re feeling on any given day. Even the most optimistic and happy people have their down days, too. However, shifting your day-to-day feelings and general mood in an upwards, happier direction is critical to ensuring that you get more of what you want out of life, while feeling happier, motivated, and more accomplished in the process. In a nutshell, there is nothing more important to your own experience in the world than your own viewpoint of the world and the feelings you develop toward it, because the way you interpret your world is central to the emotions you feel. In order to help you uplift your perception of your life and subsequently the feelings you experience on a daily basis, there are three important concepts I think require some exposition and explanation on my part.
Self-esteem can be defined on the most basic of levels as belief in oneself. Having confidence in your decisions and actions can, at times, be one of the most important factors in shaping your mood. If you’re trying to get a project for work or school done and you think to yourself, “Well, everything I do is just worthless, anyway,” do you think that working on and dedicating time and resources to that project is going to be a positive experience for yourself?
Ensuring that you have a healthy level of self-esteem is not only critical to helping you feel happier, but also integral to the process of bringing positive change to your life and outlook as a whole. Being confident in yourself doesn’t mean being the person to start every conversation, or the daring one at parties – it just means having faith in yourself instead of doubt or simply complacency when it comes to things that you might do. Finding this belief in your own worth and potential is, simply put, the fastest way to make yourself feel more driven to do things, and happier about not only the results, but also the process to get there.
Positive attitude is very closely related to self-esteem as a good outlook can help you with boosting confidence just as believing in yourself can creates optimism. Attitude also helps you translate your wants and desires into actions; if your attitude towards something is placid and indifferent, how do you think your actions will subconsciously be? When going about day-to-day things that can seem mundane and repetitive, it’s best to remember that every situation that we could possibly be in is only what we make out of it, and nothing more. Our perception shapes our reality; we are nothing more than the sum of our thoughts.
A positive attitude can begin with focusing on the things in life that are good, even if they’re small. Thinking only in terms of negatives will hurt you in the end; thinking in positives only helps you to feel better about the uplifting and positive aspects of each day. Thinking optimistically rather than negatively when it comes to things that you perceive as undesirable or boring can help turn your feelings around if you struggle with self-empowerment.
Motivation is a combination of self-confidence, a positive attitude, and the way you approach a task. People often talk about “not being motivated” or “not feeling it” on a particular day when they’re supposed to be working, but really this feeling of being unmotivated and not driven to do the work that needs to be done is often the result of not having a confident, positive outlook on the task at hand. In the workplace it is especially important to ensure that all employees are motivated and positive about their work, since negativity can be contagious.
Motivation itself can come from many places, but it is most important that you take responsibility for yourself, should you lack the drive to do something. Many outside forces may influence you to do or not to do, but it is only you who can ultimately make that choice. For many, a sense of accomplishment comes with some of the most profound effects on mood and feelings – doing something imbues the doer with a sense of purpose, not doing something often has the inverse effect. It is often noted by philosophers that humans are greedy, yet lazy. They want results, but they do not want to work for it. By finding the motivation within your own self to do the things that you want or need to do, you can help yourself become a more positive person by not only experiencing the sweet feeling of accomplishment, but also by being able to motivate yourself in the future thanks to that very same emotion.
Dedicating yourself to moving your mood and day-to-day emotions in a positive direction is important; one cannot simply sit back and expect emotions to change themselves. And, in a strangely roundabout way, becoming optimistic starts with dedicating yourself to changing things that you perceive as inadequate or wrong in a positive way, but without thinking negatively about change (another way to say optimistic). It’s no longer about fearing that your work is inadequate, it’s about finding ways in which you can improve without focusing expressly on weaknesses that you may think you have.
It sounds circular and nonsensical, but the only way to become more positive about your day-to-day life is…to become more positive about your day-to-day life. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, and I’m not speaking in riddles to try to confuse you. Happiness creates itself, and spreads between people. Find the things in life that matter to you and bring you joy and love, and hold on to them. Focus on even the littlest things in life that bring positivity to you, and let the happiness and other emotions they bring light up the rest of your life. Your emotions are based on how you process the world as it comes to you. If it feels like you aren’t in control of your emotions, you can focus on changing how you think, and you’ll find that you truly can change how you feel.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
– Dr. Seuss