Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, so why do some seem to breeze through each one with a smile while others trudge along, muttering under their breath the whole way? The way people choose to view their world determines whether they feel like heroes ready to take on any challenge or helpless victims of circumstance.
Many people believe that human emotions result from external stimuli. Fortunate events bring joy, and unpleasant circumstances cause sadness or anger. In reality, the opposite holds true — people create their moods through their thoughts and actions, meaning anyone can become more positive by practicing simple steps.
1. Wake Up with a Smile
Most people roll out of bed grumpily after hitting the snooze button more than a few times. Instead, each morning upon waking, think of one thing that day that will be sure to bring joy. Tackling long days becomes easier while looking forward to a pleasant experience.
2. Give Compliments Liberally
Compliments cost nothing to give, so pass them around like candy on Halloween. Everyone feels better when someone takes the time to say something nice to them. Giving sincere, specific compliments, such as “amazing job with finding ways to cut costs in that expense report,” will make coworkers feel appreciated.
3. Honor Your Promises
Not feeling up to attending a baby shower for a cubicle mate after saying yes to coming? Attend anyway and bring a gift. Promised to help your friend move over the weekend? Make sure to show up on time. Honoring promises tells people they matter, so unless something truly unexpected occurs, follow through.
4. Tip Generously
Most tipped employees make less than minimum wage, so when in doubt, tip and tip generously. Uncertain how much to tip for different services? Tip restaurant servers 15-20 percent of the total bill. Ordering out for delivery? Most delivery drivers use their own vehicles, meaning they pay for wear and tear as well as gas, so tip them like any other server.
5. Let Someone Go First
When waiting to ring up an overflowing cart worth of groceries, allow someone with one or two items to go ahead. When someone is waiting for a chance to merge, let them as long as doing so presents no safety hazards. In a busy parking lot? Let the driver with a carload full of little ones take the closer spot and park further away.
6. Pay It Forward
Paying it forward can take many forms. It can mean buying an extra coffee and danish to give to a homeless person. It can take the form of shoveling an elderly neighbors’ sidewalk after a blizzard without being asked. Practicing small acts of kindness will make both you and the people you help feel good.
7. Practice Self-Love
Everyone needs time to relax and unwind, so schedule time each week for self-care. Grab a friend or three and go out for pedicures and gossip swapping. Let the hubby watch the kids and relax in a hot bubble bath. Practice healthy habits like getting daily physical exercise and eating healthy foods most of the time (while allowing for the occasional chocolate indulgence).
8. Make Bedtime Gratitude Time
Before lying down to sleep, spend a few minutes reflecting on all the things you have to give thanks for. Instead of counting sheep, count blessings! Even the toughest days contain at least one grain of goodness, so celebrate that instead of focusing on worries. Those with families can start a practice of having each child share one positive experience they’ve had that day before tucking them in for the night.
Embracing the Positive
Every life contains both joy and pain, but focusing on the former rather than the latter instills a sense of gratitude and calm. People who choose to focus on the positive enjoy healthier self-esteem, larger circles of friends and greater success in life overall.