Is it possible to stay positive in negative circumstances?

If there’s anything I’ve learnt, it’s that positivity is not something that you can just choose to have. People seem to think it is, but it’s entirely human to be affected by the world, by seemingly insignificant events, by other people. As the saying goes, it’s okay not to be okay.

I’ve also learnt that negativity sucks a lot more when you really, really don’t want to feel it. That may sound odd initially, but you know there are those times and people in life – the ones where negativity is just the easiest way out? Putting everything down to “my life is awful” makes it seem a lot more like you’re not in control of your circumstances and life is just bad, all in all. If you feel negative about life and you want to change that, but just can’t shake it, it hurts a lot more. It becomes a steady journey to positivity that is tiring and takes a lot of time and effort. (It’s a healthy journey, one you should definitely take if you feel like you want your life to change – but it’s difficult!)

What I’m saying is there are a lot of people, myself included, who may feel kind of crappy from day to day. Who need the odd pick – me – up to remind themselves just how well they are doing and that they’re on the way to a better state of mind. If that rings a bell, this ones for you! Grab a cuppa, a notebook, and let me try to help in some teeny tiny way.

1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE PROUD OF YOURSELF FOR.
Everything. Every single insignificant little thing. Gotten dressed, when you couldn’t face it yesterday? That’s amazing! Made lunch and looked after yourself today? Write it down! Written a blog post? Walked the dog? Made your bed? Be proud of everything you can be proud of, because you deserve to. You’ll have days when you ace job interviews, score a hot date, achieve your dreams, but they don’t arrive every day. So write down all the little things you’re proud of yourself for until another one of those days comes back around. Find that twinkly “if I can do that I can do this” feeling and KEEP it. (Keep this list nearby and look at it when you need a confidence boost – and don’t diminish your achievements!)

2. SELF CARE.
In case no one’s told you today, I hope you’ve eaten some veggies and drunk some water. (If you haven’t, go get some. I’ll wait) I hope you’ve looked at an old selfie and gone “WOW I’m fabulous”. I hope you’ve had some rest, laughed at something cute or funny (if you haven’t, here is a fave meme of mine to help) and I hope you have a good old pamper sesh. Stimulate your senses, and that might sound odd, but it’s what the professionals advise when you’re feeling out of touch.

3. REMIND YOURSELF THAT EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY, AND YOU’RE ON A JOURNEY.
I struggle with this one. I see happiness in the achievements rather than the journey itself – and how much do we miss out on by doing that? It might be years before you achieve what you’re longing for. It might be hours. But ultimately you don’t know, so find some fun in what you’re doing now. You want to just graduate already? Take pride in the fact you’re learning. You want to change your image? Think of how fun that will be! Even if you’re feeling the lowest you have ever or can imagine ever feeling – it will not last. Those massive hits of achievement you’re chasing won’t last either. It’s the little things in life that are constant and frequent, so you have to find some goodness in those.

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4. COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.
I would LOVE to have some of the things in people I see online (talking personality traits, not belongings, although there are some pretty fine handbags floating around Instagram at the moment) I adore and am inspired by go getting, sassy women. Even my music taste is ruled by them and my goal in life day to day is be one of them. I can’t do that everyday. I can’t be sassy and confident every single day, I’m not there yet. I don’t know if I ever will be, because what are we without our mistakes and our down days? Lord knows that social media and our society in general is very competitive and if you’re feeling down, it can make you feel a whole lot worse. I’m not saying don’t compare yourself to others, because you’ve heard it before, and it’s near enough impossible to do. Compare if you want, because I know you will – but remember that every person you EVER meet is jealous (or has been jealous) of something in someone else. We’re all trying to keep up, and until you just become happy with being you, and different from others, you’ll be anxious about things that other people don’t even notice.

5. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS.
For me, making a coffee, putting some lipstick on, and finding anything tagged with “girl boss” is a sure way to remind me of the sass-master I am. For you it might be the great outdoors, reading a book, baking a cake – what tiny things make you happy? A certain song? Person? Dress? Find something tiny and positive and throw yourself right into it. Then repeat with other little things, all day long.

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To conclude – this isn’t a definitive “I KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOU HAPPIER!” guide, and it’s not intended to patronise either. It’s just a little note to say hey, I’ve been there. I hope you’re okay. If all else fails, drop me a tweet (@LizzieArkell) and we can wallow in our rubbish feelings together (and I’ll send you a gif to cheer you up.)

Love Always,
Lizzie x

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