We’ve all had shit days and shit weeks. Heck, sometimes we even have shit years for that matter. There are times in our lives when nothing is falling in line. It can feel as though life is giving us the middle finger and we are spinning in circles. Maybe you hate your job, maybe your partner is being a dickweed, or the kids are struggling in school, finances are tight, and it feels like nothing can get you through the fuckery known as life.
It can be easy to go down a rabbit hole of despair and constantly see your glass as half empty. Believe me, I’ve been there. Everybody has.
But there’s a difference between venting to your bestie over wine and Cheez-Its once in a while and being a Negative Nancy who complains nonstop and nitpicks other people to make themselves feel better. We don’t jump on the Everything Is Awful Train because we are bad people; it’s just a bad habit. We might be tired, overwhelmed, overstressed, or hurting.
And bitching feels so good sometimes. But constantly feeding the beast of negativity rarely makes us feel any better. Trust.
So we’ve got to fill up on positivity whenever we can. A positive outlook isn’t just good for your mind; it is healthy for your body and relationships too. Don’t worry, positive thinking doesn’t mean you are an annoying Pollyanna all the time and think everything is lilies and roses. It doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a gossip-and-bitch night with your BFF now and then. Being a positive person just means you recognize both the down and upsides of things, and you choose to focus more of your energy on the positive.
Being a positive person can take time to master, and it’s hard as hell when life keeps throwing shit your way. In fact, I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, but maybe even longer to break a bad habit or try to change your general outlook on life. So while it’s not easy, it is doable.
In fact, science says happiness is a choice. An article published in Psychology Today claims we have a “happiness set point” and explains that “our level of subjective well-being is determined primarily by heredity and by personality traits ingrained in us early in life and as a result remains relatively constant throughout our lives.” While our “set point” changes when we’re going through some serious life changes — like a divorce, losing a loved one, or getting a new job — it tends to fall back in line with what we are used to.
But the good news is that there are things we can do to raise our happiness set point. For instance, listening to happy music, keeping a gratitude journal, feeding your passions, and practicing compassion are all mood-boosters and can override your desire to be a downer all the time. This isn’t rocket science, folks.
But sometimes it’s easier said than done, and sometimes we need to pull out all the stops. When life hands us a shit sandwich, and we’re in need of a major happiness boost, the best way to promote positivity is to help someone. That’s right, studies show helping others has a huge effect on happiness.
Another reason to nip negativity in the bud? People with a positive mindset don’t have space for someone who is negative all the time. And since happiness is contagious, it’s helpful to hang with those who look on the bright side more often than not. They are not only pleasant to be around, they are healthier because of it.
Positivity breeds positivity, and vice versa. Since we attract what we are, if we are in a constant state of negativity, we risk losing the healthy relationships we have and surrounding ourselves with toxic people who love nothing more than to feed the beast of negativity. That’s not who I want in my life, and I highly doubt you want it in yours either.
You can’t control everything, but you can control how you think about a situation or person. You also have the ability to shut out the toxic people in your life who are constantly bringing you down — and you should, no apologies necessary.
Because when it comes to happiness and healthy relationships, you are worth the hard work it takes to get there. Now put on some happy music, dance in your kitchen, and then go help out a fellow mom. Your mind and body will thank you.