How I maintain a Positive Mental Attitude
Over the years my family and I have been through our fair share of grief and stress. Death in the family, the separation of my parents and the illness and injury of loved ones to name a few, left me with some pretty serious anxiety issues. My anxiety began influencing other aspects of my life including relationships and my work life. I have had to change my way of thinking and train my brain in order to combat this. Here are a handful of things that I implement daily to help me maintain a positive outlook on life.
1. Positive Affirmations
I know some people are skeptical on self help and the power of positive thinking but I truly believe it has worked for me. If I wake up in the morning thinking "I wish I could stay in bed and sleep all day" I quickly remind myself of how good I will feel once I am up and conquering my day. I always replace a negative thought with a positive thought. For example rather than "I don't want to work today" I remind myself of how blessed I am to have a full time, self employed income that provides for me. I believe we can fuel our anxiety with negative thoughts and within no time we have created the worst possible scenario in our minds. By biting these negative thoughts in the butt with a positive affirmation I am able to calm myself down and prevent my mind from wandering further.
2. Short Term Goals
As a creative person my mind constantly has hundreds of ideas flowing through it and knowing where to start or which to prioritise can be extremely overwhelming. I find creating short term goals rather than focusing on the long term goal helps me to achieve more. What do I need to do right now to get where I need to be down the track? Each day I create a list of what I hope to accomplish and give myself a reward or something to look forward to, to help motivate me. If I achieve my goals throughout the day I give myself something to look forward to throughout the day or at the end of the day, such as going out for lunch in-between tasks, a bath, a long hot shower with some kick ass skin care or a glass of wine (lets face it, most likely a whole bottle). I am a huge believer in treating yourself for your achievements. I want to look back on my life and know I lived with purpose and enjoyed myself at the same time!
3. Be Honest
One thing I find a lot of people struggle with during hardships is feeling like they need to pretend they are okay to benefit those around them. I have learnt over the years to be honest to myself and my friends and family when I am struggling. If I am having a hard day I will always tell my mum or my sister and I find that I always feel better afterwards. During some of my tougher times I lived with a lot of denial or guilt when friends asked me to social events and I felt like I had to make up an excuse as to why I couldn't be there, when quite simply I was having a bad mental health day and needed to be alone. It is okay to be honest. Everyone copes in different ways and for me going out and being in crowds of people when I am low isn't best for me. If a friend invites me somewhere and I am really not feeling up to it I will tell them why. Taking time and working on yourself is a great thing and we should be able to tell the people who love us this without fear of judgement. True friends will respect you and support you.
4. Dont Compare Grief
I spent nearly two years telling myself that I had nothing to be upset about and that my life could be worse, which is extremely true but it resulted in a lot of built up trauma which came undone eventually. It led me to not being able to cope and having panic attacks with even the smallest amount of stress. Feelings are valid and we can not control them. Feelings are our bodies responding to situations and we should learn to not bury them but process them in a healthy way. I learnt to get in tune with my feelings and use some of the other methods I have mentioned to help me process them. Having the ability to see something positive in even the most horrible situation will take you a long way as well as recognising you are not alone. I believe we grow from grief and it is not a competition. We all have our struggles no matter how large or small.
5. Think of Yourself How You Think of Others
Another way I have retrained my brain when thinking about myself, especially my body and physical appearance is by thinking of myself the way I think about other people. When I am in public I look at other people in awe. I see people for their uniqueness and their beauty. I have thoughts like "That elderly lady just smiled at me, what a cutie", or "That person doesn't give a f*ck what anyone thinks of them, what a legend!" or "Hell yeah that lady took herself out for pancakes alone, she's living her best life!" or "Look at that beautiful woman and her stretch marks in that bikini". I then take this and put it into play in my own life. No one is looking at me and having negative thoughts about me and if they are why is their opinion valid? They do not know me, they do not know what I have to offer this world and if they have anything less than amazing to say about me they do not deserve my time or attention!
Ill finish up by saying my body is the vessel that allows me to have all of the amazing experiences life has to offer. To travel, to meet new people, to help people, to express myself through my fashion sense and hair styles, to laugh and to cry. Without it I would be nothing, literally nothing, so I am going to spend each day telling myself I am beautiful and making the most of this thing we call life. I hope you all can take something positive from what I have written and use it in your lives.