Positivity

Why Negativity Harms Dreams and What to do About it

 

I have to admit, I wasn’t always as positive and upbeat as I am now. I used to see the glass as half empty most, if not all, the time. What changed was that when I reached an all time low back in 2009 I had no choice but to accept that my pessimistic outlook was contributing to my depression and was very destructive for me. Although not everyone who is pessimistic becomes depressed, having a negative bias never enhances our life – in fact, quite the opposite!

 

Activities such as reading or watching the news, gossiping or even suspecting the worst outcome in situations leads us to have a cloudy outlook even though our life conditions may be perfectly sunny. Negativity can become such an ingrained habit that even when things are going well for us we treat the positive developments in our lives with suspicion and distrust, looking instead for what could go wrong.

 

The danger is that the more innately negative we are, the more likely we are setting ourselves up for negative outcomes. For example, if I wanted to start my own business and had a negative outlook, I might work really hard still but I would more than likely predict that the venture was unlikely to succeed, leading me  to be less inclined to persevere and more inclined to give up sooner than say, an optimist would. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, a tragic playing out of our own created expectations. But can we ever really change from a negative to a positive bias? Ab-sol-utely!

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Feeling Down? How to Get Yourself Back on Track to Feeling Great

 

It’s natural in life to feel down at times, a hard break-up, a loss of any kind or even conflict with those we care about can cause our mood to plummet. In 2009 I went through such a time, it seemed that my world was crumbling. Thankfully I had world class treatment that taught me how to handle such times for the future. One of the main strategies I learnt was the skill of rewarding and treating myself.

 

Sounds simple I know, and for the most part it is, however when you are feeling low, creating a reward system or treating yourself can often be the furthest thing from your mind. Below I have outlined both an effective reward system and wonderful treats that you can use if you are ever feeling low – feel free to use as is or adapt it to suit you (for example, you might not even like hot chocolate). I keep my list in the back of my diary so it’s always to hand when I might need it!

 

Reward System

 

Give yourself tasks to do which are fun, relaxing or achievement based. If you are feeling very low then these tasks would be quite small and, if just a little low, you may wish to create bigger tasks so no matter how you are feeling, after completing the tasks, you feel like you have achieved something significant.

 

Now create treats to reward yourself once you have completed each task. Below are a list of treats to indulge in. You may wish to copy these directly or create your own tailored to suit you. Typically, the bigger the achievement, the bigger the treat.

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Why Having Strong Friendships Improves Our Mental Health

When I was younger I always thought that the more friends I had the better. Now I am older I realise that it is rather the quality of the friendships I have that truly counts. Studies have now shown that in our twenties if we have many friends it leads to greater happiness in our forties and fifties but, interestingly, in our thirties it is the quality and strength of the friendships that determine our happiness later in life. I have to admit I have certainly found this to be true. Whether you are in your twenties or thirties no one can deny that having friendships is critical to having good mental health.

 

Like anyone, there have been periods where I have had to face challenges and tough times and in these moments I have always managed to endure thanks to the support of my friends. The importance of honest advice, encouragement and an understanding and empathetic shoulder to lean on should never be underestimated.

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