We all have that one person who is a downer in our lives.
You have a conversation with them and immediately you walk away feeling drained of energy.
It’s exhausting. That negativity is contagious.
But we also forget positivity is contagious too.
Because I strongly believe that being a positive person is good for the soul, it’s also good for your wallet.
When you are positive, you tend to have better life outcomes, a stronger network, and are much more likely for people to send opportunities your way.
There are also some strong research from Harvard that backs health benefits of being a positive person- like being 52% less likely to die from stroke.
The Ripple Effect
I was in line at Starbucks one Saturday morning getting more Americano before I headed to my salon job where I would be working all day. I had a bad attitude about going to work and wasn’t overly excited about spending my weekend doing pedicures all day — cue already sh*tty attitude.
But then when I got to the window to pay for my drink they barista told me the person in front of me paid for my coffee.
Super thoughtful, right? What happened next is more remarkable though.
That simple act of generosity encouraged reciprocity. I wanted to pay it forward and do the same thing.
So I did.
And my attitude was better that day. Which led me to being kinder to my clients and likely led to them being kinder to others they connected with that day creating a ripple effect.
Being a positive person pays dividends and directly impacts ourselves and people we don’t even know.
If you are reading this post, you are probably already interested in practicing positivity, so I don’t think I need to convince you further on why this is important.
Here are some quick tips you can use to becoming a more positive person.
Tip 1: Look for the good characteristics in people.
This is super tough because our brains are wired to find negative things. Historically, things that could be negative or threatening were something we needed to watch out for for safety reasons. So our brain stem and cerebellum (reptile brain) still looks out for us from a safety standpoint, and in most cases that is expressed as finding the negative.
It’s a true battle for a lot of people to find the positive first. But even if you still see the negative in people and situations, doesn’t mean you need to express that.
Tip 2: Write down what you are grateful for every morning.
Gratitude is highly underrated. Yes, finding something to be thankful for is probably a good idea, but for a lot of people new to gratitude tend to write down the same things over and over again. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. What you are subconsciously doing by writing things you are grateful for each day is training your brain to search for things to be thankful for. Eventually, you start to have an abundance of gratitude– but it all starts with the daily practices.
Tip 3: Don’t touch your phone or social media first thing in the morning.
Social media can be incredibly inspirational, but more times than not, it’s a bit of a downer. We are seeing all the things wrong in the world and in some cases, seeing everything we don’t have which can trigger comparison syndrome. It’s best to take control of how your day starts and set the right intention for how the day will go.
Tip 4: Exercise 5 days a week.
We all know exercise releases endorphins that make us happy. My job is almost completely a “desk” job and the extent of my work exercise is walking downstairs to grab more coffee. That’s why being active is so critical. Your energy levels, confidence, and health depend on exercise. Take care of yourself and hit the gym at least 5 days a week.
I know I always feel better about myself when I work out and really enjoy exercise as a form of self-care.
Tip 5: Fill your brain with inspirational materials.
Whatever you feed your mind becomes your reality. Some of my favorite places to gain inspiration are:
♥ Audio books
I personally like to listen to podcasts every morning while I’m getting ready and cooking breakfast. When I was commuting to work everyday I would throw on my podcast or audio book and use my commute time to learn/gain inspo.
Tip 6: Think before you speak.
Before you say anything negative or potentially hurtful to or about someone, take a few seconds to reframe your conversation. A lot of time we don’t know what to say in conversation, so for some reason we naturally gravitate towards negative things.
If it doesn’t leave the person you are talking with better than they were, then don’t say it.
Tip 7: Don’t let people dump negativity on you.
A lot of us have some negative people in our lives, workplaces, or heck- maybe you are married to a negative person. But no matter what, do not let people dump negativity on you. Remember the ripple effect?
If someone calls me and asks if they can complain for a few minutes, I have a very good system in place. I first:
A) Ask if they are looking for advice or just someone to listen to them (sometimes people just need to be heard and aren’t looking for your opinion)
B) Tell them they have a full 5 minutes of venting to me
C) Ask them what is going well in their life
It sounds a bit a*shole-ish. But I do everything I can to protect myself from negative vibes being thrown at me. This has really irritated a lot of people around me too. It’s your job to control your exposure to negative and positive conversations and experiences.
We all have bad days and need someone to talk to, but the system I mentioned above will really sway people who are constantly negative from venting to me.
Tip 8: Commit to practicing positivity daily.
Much like going to the gym once a year won’t do anything for you, feeding your mind with inspirational messages won’t help either. It needs to be a part of your daily routine.
Actively implement one of these tips every single day and then start to branch out. You’ll find that you are leaps and bounds ahead of where you used to be.
Tip 9: Surround yourself with positive people.
Birds of a feather flock together. Being around people that are all positive can help you tremendously. For one thing, when negativity is abnormal in a group, you’ll be a lot more conscious of being the downer. When people are supportive and encouraging everyone rises up.
Tip 10: Turn pain into purpose.
This entire post might make you think I don’t understand that we all go through tough times. The secret to embracing tough times is asking yourself, what is the lesson here and how I can I use this to better my life and the lives of others in the future. What is this lesson trying to teach me?
When you find the we connect through our experiences, you start to realize that while you might be going through some shit, there is a silver lining in there if you are open to finding it.
With these tips you can become a more positive person who people want to be around.
Now go be the ripple of positivity in the world!
Originally published at whitneyhansen.com