A new year is a perfect time for a fresh start. Regardless of what your 2017 was like, it's easy to make sure that 2018 is filled with positivity and happiness. A few small changes to your daily routine, some positive affirmations to soothe the soul - we've got the top 5 things you can do to make happiness and vibrancy surround your body and soul.
1. Despite popular belief, positive thinkers don't always see the world through rose-colored glasses. Part of effectively adopting this mindset is training yourself to become a realistic optimist, says positivity expert Joffrey Suprina, Ph.D., dean of the College of Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University. "Many people think that positive thinkers only look at the good side and ignore everything else," he says. "But if you go too much in that direction, there's a potential for harm as well. Positive thinkers really are individuals who recognize both the bright side and the negative, but they choose to focus their energy and time on the side that's going to promote the most positive outcome."
2. I am enough. It’s funny that the word enough (which seems a little... un-badass, you know?) corresponds with supreme happiness. But our two deepest human fears are that we are not enough and that we don’t have enough. The latter is the core of any scarcity mindset: not having enough money, not having enough opportunities, or even not getting enough Instagram likes. These things can all make us feel a tad inadequate, right? But when you finally figure out you are enough, you can breathe a true sigh of relief. You can be at peace. Because you know that in reality, there is nothing to prove. Ever.
3. The environment we try to build new habits in (or break old ones, even) has a huge effect on how successful we are. The environment, in this case, includes the people we spend time with and the messages we hear or tell ourselves, as well as our physical space. The trick here is to ensure your environment is as conducive to you being as positive as possible. Try hanging out with positive people, and let others know about the changes you're making. Ask them for support - maybe you'll help them bring more positivity into their own lives! Join communities of like-minded souls and immerse yourself in the positive energy they will generate. Write yourself gentle reminders, and make them as happy as you can with positive reinforcement. Fill your space with images or objects that make you happy - plants and water features are amazing for this or any other piece of nature that inspires you.
4. I can. These two words contain infinite strength. We often start sentences with "I’ll try," or "I wish I could," or even "I can’t." I believe the words "I can" precede whatever will actually happen for you. The phrase “I can,” much like the phrases "I will" and "I am,” can have a transformative influence over your confidence. See what happens if you rephrase "I can’t read maps" to "I can always get where I need to go." Because you do, right? If you’re not literally lost in a field right now, you did end up getting where you needed to. So focus on the truth. Because you can.
5. Noticing the positive things that happen in your everyday life has been proven to be a successful method of increasing your positive thinking. This doesn’t just happen when you’re doing the exercise: the effects can actually last much longer. A study of 90 undergraduate students had one half of them write about positive experiences for three consecutive days. The second half wrote about control topics that didn’t affect their emotions. After three months, the study found that the students who had written about positive experiences still had better mood levels and fewer illnesses. Try starting a gratefulness journal. Every day, write down one thing that you're grateful for. Not only is this a great way of generating positive energy, but when faced with negativity, you can flip back through your journal as a physical and grounding reminder of all the happiness already in your life.
6. Meditating is beneficial for the body and mind. It not only improves mindfulness and positive thinking while you’re doing it, but it has been shown to decrease illness and improve mindfulness and feelings of purpose in life up to three months after being practiced daily for a short period. If you have never meditated before, we recommend starting small, with just 2 minutes a day, which is easy to do and helpful in developing a strong habit. After establishing the habit for several weeks, you can slowly increase the length of your meditation sessions to an amount that gives you the most benefit. Furthermore, the more you practice, the more you will enjoy it and reap the benefits!