|Photo credit: Dawn Ashley on Flickr|
I try to be an upbeat person.
Remaining positive throughout the day isn't something that comes naturally to everyone— as I'm a rather realistic person, it certainly doesn't come naturally to me. But over the course of the last couple years, I've learned a few secrets about being happy that have shifted the way I look at things.
As it turns out, being positive isn't necessarily related to external events. We all have our bad days, bad weeks or even months. Writers, especially unpublished writers, often struggle with keeping a positive attitude during the years it takes to hone the craft, write book after book and find publication. The life of writers is difficult, and being happy can often feel like an impossible task.
But it's not impossible.
Change Your Thinking
Happiness, as it turns out, is much more closely related to the way we view events rather than the events actually taking place. Good things that happen to us don't make us happy —the fact that we interpreted the event as something good is what makes us happy. The same goes for unhappy events —it all depends on the way we view them.
I read a post by Michael Hyatt a little while ago titled, "How a Shift in YourVocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude." I highly recommend you take a look at it, but if you don't, his post basically capitalizes on what I'm talking about here: you dictate your own happiness.
In the post, Mr. Hyatt talks about the importance of having an attitude of gratitude, and reflecting that gratitude in our vocabulary. Rather than saying, "I have to go to work," for example, he suggests you say, "I get to go to work." This shift immediately turns a negative connotation (I'm going to work because I don't have a choice) to a positive one (I'm so blessed to have a job I get to go to).
For writers, it could be the difference between "I have to edit today" and "I get to edit today." Or "I have to write today" versus "I get to write today."
This is just one example of how changing our thinking can immediately make us more positive.
Do we smile because we're happy, or are we happy because we're smiling? This is a question that scientists have struggled over for years, but research today seems to indicate that smiling can make you happy.
It's hard to smile when we're upset, tired or stressed out, but if you force yourself to hold a smile a couple times a day, even when you're not feeling particularly happy, I think you'll find it much more difficult to hold your unpleasant mood (and really, why are you trying to hold onto that, anyway?)
Start Your Day with Gratitude
Try to start your day by listing three things you have to be grateful about. This is a habit I'm still trying to get into, but I think it's a great idea because not only does it force you to think about something positive first thing in the morning, but it starts to train your brain to look for things to be grateful about —something, I think, that is essential for a positive attitude.
These are just three ways writers (and everyone else) can inject a little more happiness into their lives —and who doesn't like an extra dose of happiness?
Have you tried any of these techniques? What do you do to maintain a positive attitude?