So a lot of people ask me how I stay optimistic and positive and I always wish I had some awesome proverbial response. Most of the time my answer is that I just try really, really hard. Maintaining a positive attitude is essentially like learning a new language. It’s really hard to become fluent in a difficult, constantly evolving language overnight, but you find yourself getting better at it every day. The best thing about learning how to speak happiness, is that the more you practice, the better you feel. I certainly can’t say that about any other language I’ve tried to learn. Here are some things that have helped me beat the blues and build my optimistic fluency.
Approach Your Happiness Like a Basketball Game
Play ball, ow! Imagine Dave Chappelle as Prince saying this to you everyday, Literally create that visual in your head and then get to work. Hustle and challenge your blues to one-on-one. When you’re down, realize that there is still time left in the game and approach your happiness with Chappelle as Prince-like confidence that you’re gonna win, because you will. Never underestimate your abilities or assume that your sad mood is permanent. As Charlie Murphy says, “I dare you to challenge Prince to a game of one-on-one, challenge him!” The same goes for blues v. happiness.
I have to say lists are kinda the shit. When I say lists, I don’t mean reminders of things you need to do (ie: buy toothpaste, pay bills, do laundry), I mean fuck yea I love my life kinda stuff. For example, if you’re big into travel, create a list of the places you are going to visit–not want to visit, but going to visit. Even if you don’t have the money or time or resources, program your brain to believe that you are in fact going to those places as if you were simply buying toothpaste or laundry detergent. If you’re feeling really adventurous, write the month/year you plan to go. Whenever you’re feeling down channel that energy into a new list and program it into your brain. Go back and read the list when you need to and you’ll start to find that you’re suddenly checking things off one by one. Lists can power your positive thinking because they are little reminders that there are still so many things to do or look forward to in life. Listen to some Curtis Mayfield while you write it.
Dig, Mine, Tow, and Other Verbs
Some days you will have to try really hard, but you’ve done so many things that were hard. Think back on those things. Maybe this is something harder or unexpected but never underestimate your own resilience. Remember that mom who lifted the car off of her child? We all have that inner strength. You learned algebra, you forgave someone, you overcame an obstacle, you were born! Remember that. Just keep digging on the tough days. Find a reason to smile. Mine the happiness. And once you strike a little gold, savor it as though there is a mountain of it.
Improv the Shit Out of It
When things don’t go your way, just roll with it. Life is a perpetual skit. Find a way to make something that aggravates you funny or mildly entertaining to yourself. I find that creating hashtags for people/things that are annoying fun and hilarious to say out loud. Get creative.
Ignore the Haters
Don’t go passive-aggressive Facebook status rant, just cut haters/negativity out of your life. Simple as that. No words necessary. Don’t fuel negativity with your good energy. Delete. Delete. Delete.
Find Your Shortcuts
I call them shortcuts because that’s what they are. Find things that give you a small boost when you’re having a tough day. Literally, right now while you’re thinking about it, think of some small boosts. I personally love Hello Kitty, Panda Cam, and Pharrell’s Happy video.
The best way to make yourself happy is to make someone else happy. Think Amelie. Tell yourself that you are a ball of positivity energy waiting to burst and share that energy with someone else. Yours will most certainly grow as a result.