Inside: How to have a happy, positive life–plus positive affirmations to inspire you!
When I was first separated from my husband, building a happy, positive life out of the rubble of my old life seemed impossible. Then I lost my job. In the middle of a divorce and unemployment, a happy life seemed impossible.
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In many ways, failing at my marriage and being unemployed was what I needed to start over and build the life of my dreams. Many people who have been in a place of loss eventually realize the loss is what they needed to get where they wanted to be. This book gives some of my favorite examples.
When you are trying to figure out how to have a positive life after a major life disappointment like divorce or a job loss, there are two major building blocks to success. The first is having the right attitude. The second is having a healthy body so that you have the energy to do what needs to be done. These two building blocks are interconnected in building a positive life.
Live Life to the Fullest by Developing a Positive Attitude
Having a positive outlook starts with your attitude toward life. Use these tips to take control of your attitude.
1. Be in Charge of Your Own Story
Don’t wait around for someone else to save you; be the hero of your own story. Look for guides and mentors when you need one. All heroes have guides. If you let someone else write your story, you become a supporting character in your own life. One of my favorite quotes about taking responsibility for a positive life is by Sam Raimi:
“When we read stories of heroes, we identify with them. We take the journey with them. We see how the obstacles almost overcome them. We see how they grow as human beings or gain qualities or show great qualities of strength and courage and with them, we grow in some small way.”
2. Accept that Your Attitude Is a Choice
Understanding that you have a choice is the first step to making a change.
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal
One of the simplest ways to keep a gratitude journal is to spend a couple of minutes reflecting at the end of your day and write down three positive things you are grateful for about your day. They can be big things or the little moments like seeing a beautiful flower on your walk.
4. Use Positive Words to Describe Your Life
Our words have power. One of the interesting things about learning a different language is that some words can be translated and the meaning is understood very well. Other times, there is not an equivalent word in another language or the word is the same but the meaning is different.
When I was in college and visiting Germany I learned about how the same word can have different meanings in different languages. The evening I met my host family for the week, I had been traveling all day and by the time I got to their house, I desperately needed to use the bathroom. So after greeting them, I asked where is the bathroom. My host mother looked at me quizzically and showed me to a room down the hall from the living room. I walked in turned on the light and looked around. It was literally a bathroom. There was a lovely bathtub, a mirror, and a counter, but no toilet.
I left the room and asked where is the toilet and was shown to a different room with a toilet and a sink. I have always remembered this incident and it reminds me that sometimes we think we know what the other person is saying, but the message they intend to send may not be the message we are receiving.
Have a Chat with Your Inner Voice
Think about how your parents or other important adults talked to you as a child. For most people, this is how they think of themselves and this becomes their inner voice. If those messages move you toward a positive life, it is fine to let those messages stay. On the other hand, if the messages you heard or that you tell yourself do not support a positive life, change them.
One example is: “If I make a mistake, I am a failure.” This is not a helpful message and changing it to something like “To err is human” is a much better message to give yourself.
Language both describes our reality and shapes our reality. How you talk about your life is how your life will be.
5. Look for the Positive
What you focus on grows. If you focus on the positive, you will have more positivity. You will condition yourself to see the positive all around you. If you focus on the negative you will see more negativity. Do you remember when you first got pregnant? All of a sudden everyone seemed to either be pregnant or had a new baby. There were not more pregnant women and more babies, but your focus had changed and you saw more of what you were focused on.
6. Look at Challenges as Opportunities
I have a card in my office with the Chinese character for crises. I saw this card many years ago and was so captivated by the message I had it framed. The card explains that the Chinese word for crises is made up of the words danger and opportunity. I have since learned that this interpretation, though widely accepted in the Western world, is incorrect, but I still find the idea captivating. This quote by Winston Churchill serves a similar inspiration:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty
7. Look at Failure as an Opportunity to Learn
The concept of growth mindset versus fixed mindset explains this idea. I go into more depth on this in Why You Want These Fun Mindset Videos for Kids or you can read the book Mindset the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.
8. Banish Negativity
“When the negative thoughts come—and they will; they come to all of us—it’s not enough to just not dwell on it… You’ve got to replace it with a positive thought.” —Joel Osteen
9. Find Inspiration Daily
There are so many ways to do this: read a novel or a self-help book, get out and explore nature, focus on strengthening your spirituality, or put favorite Bible verses or inspirational quotes on cards to display and read daily.
10. Remember That Song from “Frozen”
Let it go. Don’t waste time dwelling on negative experiences or things that make you angry. Let it go. Move on.
11. Be Kind
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Ian Maclaren
12. Be Present
Stay in the moment. (If you find your mind racing from one thing to another, it’s usually because you are thinking in the past or future.) Stop multitasking. Try meditation.
13. Be Intentional about Who You Spend Time With
You become most like the five people you spend the most time with. Notice the people in your life. Do they increase the likelihood you will have a happy, positive life or do they add toxicity to your life?
14. Live Your Own Life
Stop comparing yourself to others. It robs you of joy. You are on your own journey.
Holding on to resentment or anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
16. Replace “I have to” With “I get to”
Whenever you think or say “I have to go to work/pay the mortgage/get groceries” with “I get to go to work/make my house payment/buy groceries.”
17. Smile and Use Positive Posture
Significant research indicates that if you use positive body postures and smile, you are more likely to be happy.
18. Make Someone Else Smile
This is the “pay it forward” idea. Giving someone else an opportunity to smile makes the world a better place, and what goes around comes around. A second reason to make someone else smile is that it will increase your happiness too.
19. Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems
You can find information on the problem-solving method I use and teach my clients in this article on empowered problem-solving.
20. Have a Hobby or Passion Project
To live a positive life, you need something to feel passionate about. You need some things in your life that are there just because you want to do them.
21. Pay Attention to Your Self-Talk
Your self-talk both reflects and strengthens your beliefs. Your beliefs become your reality because you see and experience what you expect to see and experience.
22. Take Time for Fun
Make time for individual fun or healthy fun with other adults and time with your kids to make fun family memories.
A Healthy Body Contributes to a Positive Life
It is important to take care of your body. There is a strong mind-body connection. It is much easier to have a positive attitude and manage the normal stresses of life when we take care to keep our bodies healthy. These three tips are an important foundation for keeping your body healthy.
One of the best things you can do to reduce stress, improve your mood, and reduce anxiety is to go for a brisk 45-minute walk.
24. Eat Healthily
Eat vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Minimize processed food.
25. Get Enough Sleep
Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Listen to your body. If you wake up a few minutes before the alarm goes off or wake with the alarm feeling refreshed and ready for the day, you are probably getting enough sleep. If you feel exhausted and have trouble staying awake during a meeting, you are probably not getting enough sleep.
You don’t need to start doing all 25 of these things today to have a positive life. Look at the list and pick one or two areas that you are not doing or that you could do more. Just start somewhere. When you have incorporated one new positive thing into your life, go back to the list and pick a second thing to work on. You will be amazed at how taking one baby step each day toward where you want to go will transform your life. Start today and celebrate your success.
Single moms, I made a private Facebook group just for you. Please join us in Empowered Single Mom Tribe to get the support and encouragement you need to live a happy, positive life.