Unlocking A More Positive You: 4 Constructive Ways To Living A Happier Life

Colleen Woodward
Colleen is a24-year-old recent college grad and NYC newbie who enjoys writing about her day to day life epiphanies (which hopefully help others around her). She's enjoys exploring all of the coffee shops Brooklyn has to offer, spending way too much time binge watching shows on Netflix and snuggling her dog (well, really any dog). Instagram: @Collwoodward Twitter: @Collwoodward LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/colleenwoodward

From the outside, it may seem like us 20somethings should be waking up with rainbows and butterflies swarming around our heads, ‘I Got A Feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas blaring at full volume, and a smile swooped along our faces at all times.

But let’s get real. Most of us are dragging ourselves out of bed (because mornings are the worst), have a dark cloud of ‘leave me alone’, ‘it’s too early to speak to me’, ‘where is my coffee’ looming above our heads, only hear the sound of our alarm clocks, and probably have a case of resting bitch face happening.

But us 20somethings get each other. We have a lot to handle as young adults. We have to find the right career, the right friends, the right everything. We’re learning how to balance a checkbook while still trying to have as much fun as possible. So, when everyone expects us to be positive people all of the time because “we’re young,” it can get a little frustrating.

Because I’m all about knowing when these bizarre made up holidays occur, I found out that today is Positive Thinking Day (seriously SOMEONE tell me who comes up with this, because tomorrow is national cream-filled donut day…). This got me thinking about how sad it is that it seems to take so much effort, and an actual day to make us all be a little bit more positive.

Staying happy all the time sounds impossible. There is so much that can go wrong in our day, and it feels like it takes way more energy to tell ourselves not to freak out when our roommate hasn’t washed their dishes in two weeks rather than just letting it ruin our day.

But, that’s obviously no way to live. So, maybe the creator of ‘national positive thinking day’ had the right idea. Because it made me realize some of the simple ways that I can turn my day around or just start it off on the right foot with a positive attitude.


Drop the passive aggressive attitude

Using the example above, your roommate has left their dishes in the sink to mold over for two weeks (yes this has happened to me). You are livid. You want a clean kitchen, or at least don’t want bugs running around the counter. But, instead of saying anything you either a) ignore it b) write a passive aggressive note telling them to clean it or c) clean it yourself. All of the above have you feeling mad at the world.

However, you could simply (after a day or two) ask your roommate to just clean their dishes when they get home from work. You ask nicely, they hopefully listen and clean their dishes, everyone wins, and you’re not ruining your day by thinking about how disgusting your roommate is.


Make a list of what you are grateful for

My parents have been doing this to be since I was little, and apparently it stuck. Whenever I am in a whirlwind of negative thinking, I stop and list 3 to 5 things that I’m grateful for. It can be as simple as the glass of wine in your hand, or bigger stuff like the fact that you just landed a great job and all of the reasons that makes you happy. If anything, making the list (even just saying it out loud) can stop your train of negative thoughts, and put things into perspective for you.


Drop what you’re doing and go do something that makes you happy

Whether this is simply grabbing your favorite coffee in between meetings at work, taking a break and going to a certain place that makes you feel at ease, it doesn’t matter. Choose something that you instantly think of when reading this, and make a plan to do it before the day is over. Even if you have to wait until after work, just knowing you’ll be doing something for YOU will get you in a more positive space.


Don’t let negative people drain you

It’s difficult not to encounter at least one negative person throughout our day. Maybe it’s the person in front of you in line to get your coffee who is being extremely rude, or maybe it’s your coworker that you have to sit next to all day. In either situation, it’s hard to shake off what that other person is putting out there, especially if it’s negative. Imagine a shield around you, and block out what that other person is saying or doing. If it is your coworker or friend, offer up some of these ways that they can turn their day around, inevitably you’ll be helping yourself as well.


Will this instantly make you an all-around positive person? Probably not. But, by practicing these things every day, you will definitely be heading in that direction.