Positivity Guide

Happiness is a choice and it comes with practice. Positivity is something that fuels happiness. I think it is important to cultivate a positive mindset in order to be truly happy in the age of social media, where we are constantly competing to present the best versions of our lives to the world.

Sometimes, while scrolling through our social media feeds an angst creeps in to destroy our peace of mind. We wish our lives were as happening as our friends’ or we had better clothes and travelled more. However, while looking at these feeds we forget that this is only a small part of someone’s life. Social media rarely represents people’s struggles or hardships. It would be rare to find a person who posts a picture of their failures on social media. On the other hand, we see our friends’ profiles littered with their travel pictures, night-outs with friends, admission letters from great universities and their better halves. This almost makes us believe that their lives are indeed perfect. Social media can stir up the negativity in our lives by making us believe that our lives are not what they should be or that we are not good enough.

I have worked consistently to build a positive mindset in order to cultivate happiness in my life by doing the following:

Exercise 

Exercising releases ‘happy hormones’ known as endorphins. Endorphins create a positive and happy feeling in your body. Exercising early in the morning can help you start your day on a positive note. Exercise gives me that burst of positive energy that helps me to tackle the rest of my day with optimism.

Healthy Breakfast

Some people can skip breakfast and survive. However, I cannot think until there is food in my stomach. Adding a banana to your breakfast will help you feel happier and less irritable throughout the day. This is because bananas contain vitamin B6 which helps to reduce irritability and tryptophan (an amino acid) that our bodies convert to serotonin (a ‘happy hormone’).

Going Offline

I left Facebook and it was a great decision. I am not on snapchat either.I have chosen one social media platform to engage with the web and that is Instagram. On Instagram, I only follow close friends along with some fashion and travel bloggers.On Instagram, I am not compelled to see a morning selfie of a classmate I had twelve years ago or wake up to statuses of people getting engaged/married/recruited/travelling or checking in at an airport. The fact is I couldn’t care less about my fifteen hundred friends on Facebook and their lives so I purged their news feeds out of my life forever by leaving Facebook. I like clicking pictures and Instagram helps me share my content with likeminded people.

You don’t have to do this if you like Facebook, but I mention quitting Facebook because I realised that I spent a lot of time stalking people and comparing their lives with mine. This was precious time that I could have used to study or doing something creative. Instead, I sat with my laptop to see how happy others are and feel miserable about my own life. I allowed people who knew me ten years ago to add me and just to see if their life is better than mine. I had Facebook friends whom I had only met or spoken to once in my entire life.

Now when I scroll through my Instagram feed, I only see stories from bloggers and photographers and sometimes close friends or people I care about. It prevents me from playing the comparison game because I know the truth about my close friends’ lives – their highs and lows. It is also difficult to compare my life with someone whose life or passion is travel photography or fashion blogging.

You could choose to purge out negativity from whichever medium you want. It could be Instagram, Snap or Facebook but try to reduce the time you spend on these mediums. The more mediums you have for comparison, the less happier you will be.

Here are the links to pages that talk about social media’s connection with depression:

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.1b16

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2016/04/30/study-links-heavy-facebook-and-social-media-usage-to-depression/#66e2e9754b53

Journaling

Writing down your deepest thoughts in a diary can give you a sense of relief. I like to journal when I am sad, happy or overwhelmed with any other emotion. It helps me to fully understand what I am feeling and organise my thoughts clearly. Journaling feels like talking to a friend who will never spill out your secrets or use your weaknesses against you. I can trust my journal with my innermost thoughts and beliefs.

Being Grateful

Whenever I feel like my life is not good enough, I think about everything that I have that others don’t. There are many things I am grateful for and I think about these things to make me happy. I have a roof over my head in a country where people sleep on the footpaths. I eat three meals a day in a country where children beg for food. Being grateful makes me realise how often we take these things for granted and criticise our lives even when there are people in this world who would do everything to be where we are.

Positive Self-Affirmations 

Every morning, I tell myself who I am and who I want to be. I talk positively to myself in order numb my inner critic. I highlight my positive attributes to commence my day on an optimistic note. Positive self talk can help us become the person we desire to be. It can help us bring into action all the things we hope to do and be. For example- if I tell myself that I love myself everyday, my brain will begin to believe it and start turning it into reality. These affirmations have helped me to become a better and happier version of myself.

Here is a link to an article that talks about the power of positive self-talk:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201605/the-power-positive-self-talk

I hope you find these tips useful to build a positivity in your life.

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