The combination of managing school, friends, family, extracurriculars, and so forth can be a very stressful time. Oftentimes, the responsibility can become overwhelming, leading to a pessimistic worldview. Over the last six months or so, I have done almost daily journaling and soul-searching on the hunt for a more positive outlook on life. Since the beginning, I have grown immensely, becoming a more loving, positive person than I was. Here are some of the most crucial lessons I have learned that can help lead you on the path to a better attitude!!!
1. Handle Rejection: I choose to believe that things happen for a reason. Whether or not you agree with that philosophy, there is something to be said about the positive effects it can have on your attitude. Most negative things that happen to us grow insignificant with time. The trick is to put those “setbacks” into perspective. For example, sure it may be disappointing if the shoes you wanted are sold out or if someone cancels plans, but neither of those things will matter in a few minutes or days. There will always be more shoes to be bought and more plans to be made! A friend once told me to imagine myself in a boat on a river. While floating along, a stick may pass by. Pick up the stick, examine it, acknowledge the stick for what it is, and then let it go floating down the river. The use of a stick as a metaphor may sound a little weird, but if the stick represents an issue, you may assess the situation for what it is, accept that it is a part of your life, and then let it be. I swear it works.
2. Rid Yourself of Unnecessary Desire: Ridding yourself of desire involves not wanting things that you cannot have. Acknowledge all in your life that is good, and be thankful. If there is something that you want, like better grades or a video game, work for it. Study harder. Get a job. Take the initiative and earn it. However, not everything can be attained through hard work. For example, we cannot (unfortunately) force other people to like us. In this case, it is best to decide which goals are reachable and which are not. If it is not, then refer to the first step by accepting the circumstance and trying your best to move on.
3. Rid Yourself of Regret: Regret grounds you in the past. It makes you dwell on mistakes rather than allowing you to move forward with your life. Accept responsibility for your actions. Accept the consequences. Rather than blaming your misconducts on others, have integrity and use it to take control of your own life. If you are not happy, initiate change. Cut out the negativity. You are the only one with the power to truly change your life, so do it.
4. Accept Yourself: Loving yourself is easier said than done. There is no doubt about that. Nevertheless, you have every right to be here. You are valuable, and you are loved. End the comparisons. There is no use attempting to copy another person because there is a reason that you have been created this way. Despite what you may believe about certain people, no one has it all figured out. Everyone wants to live the best life that she can. You have unique qualities to gift to the world. Each day, work toward allowing yourself to do more of what makes YOU happy, regardless of what others may think about it.
5. Harmony with Others: After accepting yourself, you must accept others. An important part of reaching harmony with those around you is not judging people for things that have no effect on you. If you do not agree with someone or how they do or think about things, just let it be!!! Everyone has a right to her own opinions, clothes, sexuality, hair, etc. Treat everyone with the love and respect that a human being deserves. Getting along with others brings greater peace into your own heart.
6. Try Optimism Out for Size: I used to maintain low expectations, so that I would not be disappointed so easily. That way of thinking results in nothing but pessimism. Do not let those unfavorable possibilities overrun your mind. Refer to the points made on “Handling Rejection” if the outcome is not in your favor. Instead, weigh the good with the bad equally. Keep your mind open to all possibilities in every situation. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.
7. Associate with Positive People: I am not friends with the same people that I was freshman year. People change, and that’s okay! It is best to allow yourself to associate with new people that best fit your own personality. Befriend those that support you, and cut out those that negatively influence you. The company you keep should support and love you, therefore boosting your overall well-being. It can be difficult to cut out old friends, but when it comes to your own happiness, it is okay to be a little selfish.
8. Spread the Love: Showing your friends and family that you appreciate them leads to a greater circulation of positivity in your life. Giving someone an unwarranted compliment at least once a day can bring just as much joy to yourself as it will to the person receiving it. Listen more. Hug more. Be present more. Your positivity will radiate through others like sunlight and influence them to be more optimistic as well. The world could use a little more love.
9. Create Your Own Happiness: When none of these tips seem to work, make your own. Do little things that make you happy. Drink tea. Cuddle with a pet in a giant blanket bundle. Listen to some happy jams and dance. Watch peaceful nature documentaries. Make a really good batch of guac. Walk barefoot in the grass. Watch the sunset. Blast music with friends in the car with all the windows rolled down. Let your heart guide you to all the things that you find beautiful and enchanting. Expose and embrace those aspects of your life. Enjoy every bit of those moments – no matter how small they may be – and let them transport you to a better state of mind.

Love and Light,
Jordan Cardell 🙂