How to stay positive!
I don’t know if you agree with me, but I find November is one of the hardest month in the year to stay cheery when you live in Scotland. The days are extremely short and the predominant weather is rain. Add the newly announced lockdown and daily concerns we all have and it is not surprising that at this time of the year we might sink into feelings of doom and gloom.
Today I am going to share a few things with you that I do to keep my spirits up. This first thing I am suggesting might feel counterintuitive to you. When I find myself feeling a bit low, sad or anxious, what I first do is turn towards the feeling. By that I mean, I do not tell myself off for feeling what I feel, no do I ignore what is happening. I turn towards my experience and embrace it. How do I embrace it? I have several ways of doing this. It depends on the intensity of the emotion. If it is something minor I think about the bigger context in which it has occurred and then give myself self-compassion. Or, if I feel that this is rather a big emotion that needs more attention, I find where I feel the feeling in my body and then give it my full attention. I name it and breath with it. Sometimes when I find this is too hard on my own, I reach out and talk to a friend and share how I am and listen to how they are. I always find that having these honest and deep conversations helps me to feel at ease. We are not here to do things on our own.
So this is what I do when I wake up feeling under the weather. But on a daily basis I do many things to make sure that I do not even end up feeling low or anxious. These are things that work for me:
A daily mindfulness meditation.
I do this in the morning after I get up. I give myself half an hour for this.
Going for a walk every day.
This does not have to take long. 10-15 minutes is all I need. I often coming it with errands I have to do. But the important thing is that I am really mindful of my body and my environment when I do it.
Cooking healthy food
I am a strong believer in ‘you are what you eat’. And I am sensitive enough to know that when I eat crap food, that I feel in a crap mood. I take time to prepare what I eat and time to eat it consciously in a pleasant, quiet environment.
Giving myself time to pause a bit, sitting still.
I do this several times a day. We have a bird feeder outside our window. Watching the birds is an easy way to get out of my head and delighting in life.
Reflecting on the good
On a daily basis we are getting bombarded with bad news, because (apparently) bad news sells better than good news. Maybe so. Still there is a lot of good stuff happening all the time and I make it my business to notice what is good in my life and my world. This is not about denying or ignoring that a lot of bad things are happening, but to give it a balance and a bigger perspective.
I am aware that I am lucky to be able to do this. Not everybody has the circumstance I have. However, no matter what your circumstances are, taking care of your mental and emotional state is a choice. We all can find ways to slow down, appreciate and re-group.
Think about what you could do regularly in your life that uplifts your heart, nourishes your spirit and keeps your mood balanced.
If you want to find out more about Mindfulness go here.