Many people often comment on my positive & cheerful attitude...I have even had some ask me if I have any bad days at all or ever let life get me down. Recently I received an email asking that very same question & about the methods I employ to start feeling better again. I thought it was the perfect excuse to write a little blog post about the ways I get over my crummy days. And let me tell you...yes, I do have bad days just like everyone else. Also, I often let the stress of life get to me. I actually have these awful, monster-sized bad days sometimes.
I'm not always cheerful and inspired. Many friends and readers read my blogs & hear my advice and decide that I'm a super positive girl covered in glitter & sunshine. I believe that being positive about life is a choice. Life is never going to be predictable or picture-perfect. I struggle with the same doubts, fears, insecurities, and self-hate as everyone else.
I've been criticized before by some readers who feel that being happy about life is more than cupcakes, bubbles, and sprinkles. Of course, I know all about the dark & stormy parts of our lives. I have lived through my share of crappy situations & impossible circumstances. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my teens, and I have been managing a chronic autoimmune disease for two years. The only way I can live happily is to work towards positivity & celebrate all of the amazing things in my life, big & small. The best way to deal with the whims of life is to live everyday with a positive attitude, cherish the present moment, and appreciate all of the small things in your wonderful life.
With that in mind, I came up with a small list of the ways I cheer myself up when life gets me down.
20 Ways to Put the Sparkle Back When Life Gets You Down
1. Put yourself first for a while. Focus on all of your own needs rather than tending to everyone else in your life. We are all guilty of putting others in our lives first and pushing our own needs aside. If you realize you're struggling with something, it could be a sign that things in your life are out of balance. Are you neglecting some importance aspect of your personal life? Give yourself the attention you are craving and take stock of what you really need to live happily.
2. Talk to someone unbiased & vent. We all need someone to talk to, and it's best to vent to someone unbiased. If you can afford it, counseling is a wonderful way to work out some of your problems. Just remember that whomever you talk to is still a human being with their own issues. We are all working towards something & on our own personal journeys. No one is perfect and it's unrealistic to think that one person has it all figured out.
3. Do all of those simple & silly things that make you smile. Take a walk. Bake cookies. Write poems. Sketch birds. Sing in the shower. Eat spaghetti. Talk to your pets. Watch old movies. Color in coloring books. Make fruit smoothies. Do 50 jumping jacks. Listen to your favorite band and sing along. Read library books. Visit a petstore. Give out a sincere compliment to a stranger. Smile and mean it.
4. Start keeping a journal. I truly believe in the power of the journal. It is such a personal & creative outlet. Create a safe place where you can escape from the pressures of daily life. While writing in your journal, you're allowed to be imperfect, frustrated, angry, disappointed or any number of negative emotions. Fill the pages with whatever comes flowing out of your pen. Don't stress out too much about being organized or forming complete sentences. Sometimes I just doodle or scribble. Other times, I write out my grocery list, jot down phone number, or record an inspiring quote. Instead of approaching my journal like it's this prim & proper diary of fascinating thoughts, I view my journal as a place where I can just be me.
5. Do something nice for someone else with no expectations of anything in return. No exaggeration...it will make you feel like a million bucks just to make someone smile.
6. Channel your energy into things that make you feel accomplished. Start taking a yoga or pilates class. Finish some of your old projects. Start learning Spanish or French by memorizing a few phrases. Check out a library book on origami. Put more energy into your blog. Blogging is one of my biggest outlets for stress & anxiety. I started my blog two years ago after I learned about my autoimmune disease. It has been an incredible tool to help me stay positive and focus my energy into something worthwhile.
7. Surround yourself with inspiring objects and images. Cover your walls in pictures, posters, and artwork that make you feel positive and happy. Every so often rearrange your space to give it a new look and get rid of things that are no longer inspiring. You are constantly changing as a person, and you should replace the old with new things that represent who you are right now.
8. Distance yourself from negative influences and surround yourself with positive & encouraging friends.Spending too much time around people who are constantly complaining can be very draining. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Seeing others enjoying life encourages you to have a more positive outlook on your own situation. People who are successful are motivated, hardworking, and positive. Being around people with these qualities will cause you to feel an urge to match their vivacity. Make friends with people whom you admire, follow celebrities who inspire you on twitter, and read the blogs of positive and life-loving individuals. It will rub off on you!
9.Change your scenery. Go for a walk. Take a trip somewhere. Rearrange your furniture. Just give yourself a break from your problems & stressors. I'm not encouraging you to avoid your problems, but I do believe that a change of perspective can do wonders for your attitude.
10. Read your favorite books (or blogs)about positivity & living life in the present moment. One of my absolute favorite authors is SARK. She has several books about living life fully, embracing your creative side, and healing for the splendidly imperfect. She just released a book called Glad No Matter What that I'm dying to get my hands on.
11. Listen to your body. Never deprive yourself of the things you need to feel healthy. Make sure to eat plenty and often! Low blood sugar is the biggest culprit of a crabby mood. Make sure to get enough sleep (most people need at least 7-8 hours!) Rest when you feel drained and relax after you have worked hard. Drink lots of fluids, especially water. Being dehydrated can cause headaches, misinterpreted hunger, dry skin, fatigue and nausea. Keep a bottle of water handy and sip on it often. Love yourself enough to give your body what it needs to function & be healthy.
12. Spend an afternoon watching all of your favorite movies. I love to watch Disney & Dreamworks movies whenever I'm feeling particularly blue. Put on your coziest pair of pajamas & slippers, grab a bowl of popcorn, and relax a little. Escape from reality for a short time and indulge in some lazy lounging.
13. Don't beat yourself up for feeling down. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling blue. We all struggle with depressed moods. It can be very frustrating when you try to cheer yourself up and fall deeper into despair, but that is not a reason to belittle yourself or force yourself to just get over it. Embrace your emotions and be honest with yourself about how you are feeling. There is no need to act or pretend. If you're sad, be sad. Don't put any more pressure on yourself to be happy or cheerful. Owning up to your emotions is the beginning of trudging through some of your deeper issues.
14. Choose love & kindness more. Fill up your world with love. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but I believe we could all use more love in our lives. It does our souls good to be kind to others. Fight your inner demons with self-love. Kill your enemies with kindness.
15. Stop putting so much importance on money. We all stress out about money, but it's something that we put way too much importance on. True, money is a big part of our lives, but I believe our perception of money affects us in even bigger ways. We have to live our lives fully regardless of the status of our wallets. It's ridiculous to let money dictate our lives. Maybe you disagree and that's okay. I know tons of people who live their lives around their money. Money is their life. I'm not saying that I don't need or want money. I just don't want money to be the most important aspect of my life.
16. Make mistakes, be imperfect, and embrace your uniqueness. I have a small red Moleskine journal that I use to document my quirks, imperfections, and unique qualities. I call it my self love journal. It's a wonderful outlet to explore self acceptance and work through some of my issues with perfectionism. What do you do to celebrate and discover your own uniqueness?
17. Stop worrying so much about what other people think & start doing those things that make you truly happy.Don't let other people impose their expectations and ideals on your lifestyle. You will live a much more enjoyable life if you just do your own thing and shrug off the judgment and criticism of others. Yes, people are always going to open their big mouths and make you feel that you owe them an explanation for your decisions. But that is simply not true. At the end of the day, the only person who needs to feel convinced is you.
18. Get wrapped up in something you are passionate about. Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize you've been working non-stop for hours on something? What do get wrapped up in? What makes your heart soar? Those little moments of passion in your life are incredibly important when it comes to discovering what makes you truly happy.
19. Try hard not to compare your life to others.Stop comparing your talents to others. Especially those who have more experience than you. While it is inspiring to see someone who has developed their skills, you shouldn't feel discouraged just because you have a long way to go. Everyone starts in the same place...at the beginning!!
20. Choose happiness & positivity! I know that sounds a little bit like an episode title for Carebears. I believe that living with positivity is a conscious decision that we all have to make. It is a constant challenge and a never-ending journey. But I think it's worth it.
Sending lots of positive vibes your way!