Baby Steps to Positivity

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Last year I began a challenge to write down at least one positive thought every single day. This was partly inspired from Pinterest, partly inspired from my mom. The idea is to take a small piece of paper, write down a highlight from your day, something you learned, a fun trip, an accomplished goal, etc. and put it in a jar. At the end of the year, read through all of your “happy moments”. They serve as a reminder of how lucky we all are, the things we worked hard to achieve, and help us appreciate all that we have.

At the end of last year, my mom read through her happy moments with me, and although there weren’t nearly 365 of them, it made me happy to hear about the positive things in her life, and I was inspired to do the same.

So in 2013 I tried to write down my happy moments. There were months where I was writing several per day, and months where I wrote nothing at all. The important part is not to be disappointed in yourself if you aren’t writing often; that defeats the purpose of the exercise. Make it a goal to write often, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t.

New Year’s Day came around in 2014, and I read through all of the notes I wrote. If you know me, you know I have a terrible memory. Reading through all of the great things from 2013 allowed me to re-remember them, and make less room in my brain space for any negative memories that may have been floating around.

Some of my happy moments from 2013
Some of my happy moments from 2013

I’ve been trying especially hard this year to write down all of the wonderful things that have been happening. I’m really looking forward to filling up my jar in 2014 and reading more and more happy moments in 2015.

I cheated a little and dug one out to share. Even a root canal can be a positive experience if you make it so : )

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It’s so easy to get bogged down with negative energy experiencing all of the terrible, awful, shitty things that happen in our world. The little things can ruin your day if you let them. Why not make the opposite true? Why can’t the little things make your day? Finding ways to remain positive can have a notable impact on your general disposition, relationships with others, and your work.

Aside from keeping my “happy moments jar” going, there are a few other little things that I’ve been doing to [try to] keep the positive energy flowing:

Favorite songs playlist

We’re lucky these days to have the luxury of streaming music seamlessly (add that to the jar!) through things like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc. One thing that I’ve been doing is scanning through my collection of music and adding one or two of my favorite songs from each album into a “favorite songs” playlist. When I’m feeling stressed, pissed, or just tired, I listen to this playlist. I find myself surprised about 5 seconds into every song thinking, “OMG I looove this song”, and then remember “Duh… I made this playlist.”

Positive emails folder

Studies show that work is a source of stress for 100% of people. Well, I made that up, but I highly doubt it’s not true… Some people are fortunate to work at places where the majority of their “work stress” is the good kind of stress; the kind of stress that challenges you, teaches you things, and helps you grow. Others may work at places where the entirety of their “work stress” is the bad kind; the kind that keeps you up at night, the kind that makes you want to drink, and cry, and plot to shoot up the place.

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One way to combat negative energy at work is to create a separate folder in your email to store all of your positive messages. These messages can be anything from compliments from others, great results, or just something funny a coworker said.

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Revisiting these every once in a while can sometimes be the positive boost you need to remind yourself that “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”

you-is-kind

Yoga

I did ballet for close to 20 years.

emma-still-ballet

And then I stopped. That halt in activity had such a negative effect on my body, my attitude, and my drive. In the last year, I’ve found joy through practicing yoga, as a replacement for dancing.

Whatever it may be– yoga, swimming, dancing, fencing — let it be a source of positivity. The best part about yoga or any other scheduled activity, is that it forces you to get out of the office at a reasonable hour! I love scheduling 6pm classes, which forces me to leave the office by 5:30. Taking an hour or so for class every few days allows me to focus 100% on myself, and completely disconnect from email, work, and the outside world; a very positive thing indeed.

Pinterest boards

This may sound corny, but creating your own Pinterest boards with happy thoughts and positive messages can have a strong influence on your ‘tude. In fact, some of the images in this post are from my Wise Words Pinterest board. When you’re feeling like you need a pick-me-up, jam out to your favorite songs playlist and scroll through your Pinterest board.

always-grateful

While all of these things have helped me have a more positive outlook, I also don’t want to make it seem like I don’t have grouchy days, pessimistic thoughts, and a negative attitude sometimes. No one is perfect, but these are just some of the things I’ve been working on to become a more positive Emma.

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2 Responses to Baby Steps to Positivity

  1. Mom says:

    So many of my happy moments come from you. The thoughtful things you do, the funny things you say, the many ways you make me proud to be your Mom, and the fun times we spend together. Here’s to filling our 2014 jar!

  2. Randy Zeitman says:

    I also find it helpful to note when you’re being courageous. So many times we need to appear happier than we really feel. Knowing you’ve been ‘sharpening your happiness saw’ will also make you happy.

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