Seven Daily Positivity Practices
You don’t have to look far to see the ugliness in our world. From office gossip to social media, to the evening news—the day is full of opportunities to sink into negativity. Soon enough, it can feel like you’re standing at the bottom of a pit.
From that perspective, the world is a darker place. Both sunlight and music have a harder time reaching you. And forget about friendship; there’s only room for one in any pit.
If you’re ready to climb out, you’ll need some tools. The shovel that dug you in can’t lift you out, so let’s break it and build a ladder instead.
Build a Ladder to Lift Yourself Up
You’ll build your ladder with small daily efforts that quickly reinforce one another to create new and ever-stronger rungs. Ready? Let’s get started!
1. Reevaluate what you consume.
Negativity and fear-mongering sell, so they make frequent appearances in news programs, podcasts, online forums, movies, Facebook groups, and radio programs. But guess what? You’re not obligated to be well-informed about all topics at all times. If the evening news makes you feel stressed, take a break and switch to more uplifting content. Any local information you genuinely need to know (evacuations, school closures, world war three) will still reach you via other channels.
“I got hooked on true crime podcasts during my commute. I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me until I went for a solo hike and was convinced a serial killer was behind every tree. It ruined what should have been a gorgeous, peaceful hike.” —L.
2. Speak uplifting words to yourself.
There is power in what we say, especially to ourselves. Try starting your morning by speaking affirmations to yourself. It may feel silly at first, but think about how many negative things you’ve said to or about yourself. You’re already talking to yourself! You just need to flip the script.
If you still feel silly, start in the shower or your car so no one can hear you.
Powerful affirmations include your name, so you might start with something like, “I, Zelda, am going to have a productive day because I am good at managing my time,” or, “I, Jay, choose nutrient-rich foods because I am working to make my body stronger.” There are lots of great articles, books, and podcasts about the power of affirmations. Try one out to replace a downbeat piece of content you dropped in step 1.
3. Praise, praise, praise those around you.
We’re all guilty of offering more critical words than praise to those we love most. Even your dog probably gets more “atta boys” than your spouse.
But, when you start making a conscious effort to offer positive feedback, it gets easier.
Start small—make the first thing you say to each family member a statement of praise or appreciation. Then you can try to fit in three positive comments before noon. After several days, you might work up to a ratio of two positive remarks for each negative or correcting remark. All that positivity usually elicits better behavior from those around us, which raises everyone’s mood and keeps the cycle going.
Bonus points if you remember to praise yourself for all your efforts!
4. Be grateful.
It’s hard to be afraid or angry and thankful at the same time. Try it. See? It doesn’t work.
Studies show gratitude practice can raise happiness levels. Start each morning by writing down three things you’re grateful for in a notebook. See how long you can go before you repeat yourself.
Add extra power to this practice by telling someone when they come up in your notebook. Sending a quick text or a card can uplift you both for hours or days.
5. Put some effort into a cause that’s important to you.
Donating money is great, but giving our energy and time are what help us feel uplifted. Your community is bursting with opportunities to volunteer, but even if you can’t make volunteering fit your schedule, there are many other ways to help that you can do on your schedule, in the comfort of you home:
- Clean out your pantry and donate to the local food bank.
- Host a yard sale with the proceeds going to your favorite non-profit.
- Clean out your closet and take the gently used items to the local women’s shelter.
- Give up your morning coffee or afternoon soda for a week, then donate the savings to help disaster victims.
- Assemble hygiene, newborn, or back-to-school kits for a charity. Invite your friends or enlist your kids for a fun and uplifting activity.
6. Get more exercise.
There’s a considerable body of evidence that exercise impacts mood. You don’t have to be a triathlete, but you do have to show up every day, even if it’s just for a brisk walk.
Combining exercise with other mood-enhancers—like being outdoors and being with friends—is a great way to get more Uplift for your effort.
7. Throw the occasional positivity bomb.
It’s all too easy for watercooler talk or social media threads to take a negative turn where everyone heaps on negativity and scorn in turn. Rather than joining in, be the advocate for empathy, lend another perspective, or change the topic entirely to something light-hearted. Those who wish to continue bashing the local political candidate will continue their chat later.
The rest will be relieved to talk instead about the incredible brunch spot you discovered over the weekend.
“I saw a Facebook thread where everyone was harping on women that come to the gym with hair and makeup done. The comments were so negative and judgmental. I added a comment that perhaps we should just be happy for one another that we’re all trying to be healthy and not worry about the level of grooming that makes anyone else feel most comfortable.” —E.
By now, your ladder should be poking well out of that pit, and the sun should be shining on your face. Good for you! But the best part of building a ladder is when you realize you can also use it to lower into other pits, helping the inhabitants climb up and out.
The ZYIA community is strengthened by thousands of Reps that strive to climb higher while also lifting others with them. To participate in this month’s Summer to Shine Challenge, share what you’re doing to Uplift yourself and others on social media. Tag us and use the hashtag #UpliftZYIA to be entered to win fabulous weekly prizes.