Following are ten ways to step up your positive attitude and overall well-being:
- Say what you mean. Are you afraid to express yourself because you’ll hurt someone’s feelings or your words might be misconstrued? Speaking up is much more than just saying “no.” When you don’t express yourself or stuff your feelings, people don’t have the opportunity to see and know the real you. Being true to yourself not only empowers you, it empowers those around you. So don’t be afraid to speak your truth. When you say what you mean you honor yourself and you give others the chance to know you, the real you, the one they’re longing to know.
- Take baby steps. Whatever your goal, you don’t have to get there today. Or even tomorrow. Trying to get there too fast can cause stress and frustration and bring up feelings of “I’m not good enough” or “why can’t I be like him/her?” Remember the wise saying, “All good things come to those who wait.” Picture the Buddha and see yourself smiling and patient. Make one new change in your lifestyle and see how that goes. When that’s working well, then add something else. Take baby steps. There’s no hurry.
- Let go of the past. Isn’t it amazing how hard it is to let go? Those events that transpired eons ago—the raise you didn’t get, the relationship that failed, a family member saying you’ll never amount to anything—can still create feelings of fear, anger, shame, guilt. And all that’s doing is ruining your current life. It’s time to let those puppies go. You don’t have to be stuck with that baggage. Coaching, energy healing, therapy, meditation, inner child work, tapping, there are hundreds of methods to help you access those memories and transform them. And when you rewrite the past, you create a brand new present.
- Connect with Spirit. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or the Divine or simply an energy that binds us all together. Seeing, understanding, believing, or knowing about that connection serves to calm you. You could be exercising or deep breathing or just looking at a flower, something that transports you out of your typical awareness. When you’re in that “zone,” you feel a deep inner peace that can transcend time and space. Those little moments are like nectar to your body, mind, and soul.
- Appreciate yourself. To paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How do you love yourself? Can you count the ways?” Appreciation goes farther than skin deep. It penetrates to the core of your being and radiates beyond. The more you love yourself, the more lovable you become. We all have our flaws and faults, but this is about finding the things you like. Do you love your eyes, the way you support your friends and family, how you find joy in the little things? Start a list of the things you appreciate, at least one per day, and tell yourself how much you love that quality. Before you know it you’ll be in love with YOU.
- Reward yourself. Are you searching for acknowledgment? Recognition? A little praise? You don’t have to wait for someone else to give it. Give it to yourself! It’s easy to overlook all the little things you do—cleaning the house, exercising, finishing that painting. But all those things matter and create space for the bigger things—an inviting home, a well-toned body, winning first place at the art show. Acknowledge your successes and reward yourself (the reward begins a pattern of self-acknowledgment). Take a bubble bath with lighted candles and soft music. Indulge in that dark chocolate. Buy yourself a new dress. You deserve it!
- Get up and move. Exercise may be a dreaded word, but the body is designed to move. Exercise improves your mood, increases endorphins, and decreases stress. So get up and move! You don’t have to join a gym. Even little movements can help. Try stretching or ease into yoga or qigong. Walking outdoors is fantastic. Or dust off your stationary bicycle or elliptical machine. If you’re at work and you only have a minute or two, get up from your desk and take a brisk walk around the office. Movement makes the body happy and a happy body means a happier you.
- Be grateful. Giving thanks is one of the most important aspects of self-care. If you do nothing else, be grateful for who you are and what you have. As in self-appreciation, find something to be thankful for—your job, your friends, your spouse, your health, your house, the food you eat, the ground under your feet. Nothing is too small. Giving thanks creates a beautiful vibration that increases your prosperity and attracts more to be thankful for. [Try the thirty-day experiment in Thank and Grow Rich by Pam Grout.]
- Laugh and play. When was the last time you felt like a little kid? Remember playtime? Hopscotch, jump rope, hide and seek, jacks? Games that made you laugh and squeal with pleasure? Your inner child is still with you, wanting to come out and play. Fun lights up your soul and makes you radiate with joy. So dip your toes into a nearby lake, pull out the croquet set, play some badminton or horseshoes or miniature golf. Get your joy on! You might be surprised how wonderful you feel.
- Follow your dreams. Now that you’ve revitalized your inner child, take a moment and recapture your dreams. What did you want to be when you grew up? Dreams are fueled by your imagination, and your imagination is endless. If you wanted to be a painter, what about a painting class? If you thought about writing, try an online course or join a writer’s group. If you wanted to be an astronaut, visit a space camp. It’s never too late. Creativity and exploration are like candy to your soul. So let your imagination loose and explore. You’ll feel recharged and restored.
There’s no guarantee that life won’t throw you more curve-balls. As we all know, it’s a crazy obstacle course. But if you use some or all of the steps here, you will be a happier, healthier, and more prosperous YOU.
[Originally published in the Conscious Life Journal, July 2018]