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Smart habits for staying positive

Did you know that people who are pessimistic have a nearly 20% higher risk of dying than those who are optimistic? Thinking positively not only helps you live longer, but can also improve your mental health. You’ll enjoy your life and your environment, and those who are in it. You’ll be more creative and open to learning and trying new things. You’ll be able to cope better in difficult times.

It is possible to shift the way you feel, to find the light on darker days. Let’s look at some smart habits for shedding negative energy and being happier and more content in your life.

Unplug yourself

Whether you realize it or not, the constant stream of content from the Internet, social media, television and radio is feeding your dark cloud. Unplug and get outside. Give yourself some space to smell the fresh air, listen to the sounds of nature, and see the beauty of the world without distractions.

Get moving

You can chase stress from your life with just a half hour of exercise three times a week. Do a variety of things like hiking, biking, yoga or swimming. Once you get used to moving, you’ll find it easier to exercise longer or take on more activity. Exercise increases blood flow, which helps reduce blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol - a stress hormone.

Push negative language away

Words are very powerful. They can colour your mood without you even realizing it. If you find yourself using Don’t, Not, No and Can’t in your vocabulary - stop. Think about how you can turn what you’re about to say into a positive statement. For example, rather than “I can’t do that,” say, “I will try to do that.”

Turn up the music

Music is a guaranteed mood-lifter. It makes mundane tasks more exciting, or at least more tolerable. Turn up the tunes when you’re cleaning your house or cooking a meal. It will soothe and calm your nerves. If you feel the urge to dance – do it!

Let your creative juices flow

Many people feel that they aren’t creative – but a creative release of any kind makes you feel special and more accomplished. Write in a journal. Attend a paint night. Take a knitting or quilting class. Pick up a pencil and draw spontaneously. See what develops!

Get more sleep

If you’re constantly tired, most things will annoy you and you’ll react in negative ways. Start to prepare for a good night’s sleep earlier in the evening. Don’t eat anything after 7:00 pm. Avoid alcohol. Instead of watching the news, read a good book while listening to soft music to unwind. At bedtime, open your window slightly to let the fresh air in. Wear earplugs and an eye mask to keep it quiet and dark. Invest in a high-quality pillow.

Avoid sugar and carbohydrates

Take a look at your diet. Are you eating doughnuts, muffins, white bread and sweet stuff like candy bars and sodas? It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself once in a while, but also boost your intake of fruit, vegetables, green tea, yogurt and whole grain breads. Limit coffee to two cups per day, or drink decaf.

Calm your mind with meditation

Meditation can dispel the mental noise. Just ten minutes of silence can relax a scattered mind, and rebalance your psyche for the rest of the day.

Value your relationships

Friends and family are your most valuable possessions. Reach out to past acquaintances. Acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries. Introduce yourself to the neighbours you wave at occasionally. Your efforts to connect with others will pay you back in many positive ways.

Have a talk with yourself

If you find anxiety or negative thoughts creeping in, or you are heading into a situation that concerns you, take a few minutes to talk to yourself. Remind yourself of what to avoid that could be a trigger for you such as consuming too much alcohol, or dwelling on negative things. Rehearse answers to sensitive questions that might come up. Imagine a happier, more confident you. See yourself rising the next day feeling strong - like you conquered the day before.

Laugh a lot

Even if you don’t feel like it, the physical movement of laughter instantly makes you feel joyful. And once you start, laughing can become a happy addiction.

Regardless of what is going on in your life or the world around you, how you react to it is ultimately up to you. Try these habits to bring more joy and peace into your life and you’ll be ready to face each day in a more positive and healthy way.

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