Happiness – it’s something that I never thought I could claim as an emotion! Since working hard to develop a positive attitude, life has got better – I wouldn’t say that I see it through rose-tinted glasses, as I am a realist…but there may be a rose-tinted haze around the edges now!
You know that I always harp on about the importance of the mind when it comes to weight loss. The weight loss battle may be won in the kitchen…but your mind needs to be the one that gets your backside into that kitchen in the first place…instead of logging on to Just-Eat whilst you relax on the sofa!
I often get asked about motivation, as I have mentioned before. For me, it is hard to feel motivated if I am not in a good place in my mind…and positivity and happiness is at the heart of this. Now, I am not someone who thinks that it’s a good idea to try and ignore unhappy or negative emotions – burying your head in the sand is just asking for trouble in my opinion. Yet I feel quite strongly that a positive mindset can help you deal with these negative emotions without drowning in them.
So how the heck do you develop a positive mindset?
There are some little ‘rules’ – guidelines is probably a better word to use, as I am not one for rules really! – which I used to help me.
#1 – Get rid of the negative stuff…
When I say ‘stuff’ I actually mean people for the most part. It is practically impossible to create that positivity if you are surrounding yourself with negative, toxic people who do not share your vision and who are not supporting your goal. I would class the old me as a real pessimist – and this tendency stills rears it’s head every now and again. The problem with being a pessimist was that positive, optimistic people really pissed me off…so I stuck with the likeminded miserable gits. When I decided that positivity was important – crucial really – I had a problem…I had to rid myself of certain people. It wasn’t easy. But I knew that I needed to change in order to make a change, and so did the ‘things’ around me. I took a close look at what I believed would be good for me…and I got rid of the rest. I either phased out my contact with them, or just plain old deleted them from my life – i.e. Facebook!
To be fair, I was in a dire situation and had pretty much cut contact with a lot of people anyway. In this instance, I chose positive people – who I knew would support me, and in turn I could support them – to reconnect with. Does this sound harsh? What is worse…being selective about my friendships…or dying? What is worse…not ever getting that life you want…or spending time with people who take you further away from the life you crave?
Be selective. If you do decide to keep the negative people – I didn’t have a choice in some cases…my favourite pessimist is my Dad! – then just be mindful of their words. Since speaking with my Dad, and giving him a bit of a telling off about the negative, he has really been quite helpful and is a big supporter of mine. I remember that he used to want me to move more and was never really happy with any efforts I made…now he is telling me to ease off the gym, and ends every ‘phone call with the words, “Just be careful!”
#2 – Blow your own trumpet…
Let’s face it – no one else is going to do this job for you! Take charge of your positivity. You can’t suddenly decide to be positive and leave it at that…you need to constantly top up your positivity tank! You have to practice. You need to reinforce your new behaviour and thinking patterns. Get positive about yourself and your attributes. Tell yourself how bloody marvellous you are. Tell yourself that you look great. Tell yourself that you are a fabulous chef / accountant / recruiter / bus driver…whatever you do – you are good at it (and if you aren’t…then tell yourself that you are an excellent job hunter!). You have to love yourself…and accept yourself – warts and all – so say it out loud! This is where is gets tough – but look in a mirror if you can (I only had one mirror in my house at one point in time!) and tell yourself…’I have beautiful eyes’ or ‘I have the best nose ever’ or even better ‘I am a beautiful person’. My favourite, and I am a little embarrassed to share this, is my current phrase, “You are pretty fecking gorgeous!” I am not ashamed to say that I actually believe this. Yes, I am fat…but I am a pretty fecking gorgeous fat girl!
It is okay to find this kind of stuff hard. Positive affirmations can be a toughie…and your negative mind just won’t believe what you are saying. But keep saying it! You don’t have to be perfect to be positive…focus on the good bits and reaffirm your belief in these. I guarantee that there are so many positive attributes that you could use to describe yourself…so bloody well get talking to yourself!
#3 – Choose happiness…
Can you choose to be happy? I always thought that my happiness was determined by my life – experiences I have had, my relationships, my job, my family…anything and everything contributes to happiness right? Have you ever stopped to think that you could just choose to be happy? This is another tough one – let’s face it though, if this was easy then we would all be bloody positive! You always have a choice. You can choose how to react in a certain situation…and of course some situations are going to be absolute ball-bags of shiteness…but there are always options as to how you react. Learning to be happy is a choice and it feels pretty good.
I took responsibility for my weight. I now take responsibility for my mood. I am not perfect and I don’t always get it right – as you have seen in some of my ‘poor me’ blog posts! But in general, I choose happiness. In fact I now tell people that I feel amazing. I am happy. I feel like Kylie in my mind! So stop pointing fingers and placing blame on others and ‘things’ for your mood. You can choose, for the most part, your mood…and that can never be taken from you.
#4 – Open your eyes…
Look for the good. It’s not always obvious…but it is lurking somewhere! Look for it, and look hard!
I rarely took the time to see the positive. Whatever emotion I felt in a certain situation, I went with. I was as lazy with my emotions as I was with my eating habits…I always went for the quick fix. I just accepted what I saw…and being a pessimist, this was usually the negative. Try asking yourself, “What good can I take from this?”…regardless of how awful the situation, there is always a positive. I had one lady, a coaching client of mine – who has agreed that I can share this with you – who recently found out that her mother has a terminal illness. Despite the desperately awful situation, she has told me that she is now able to make peace…to take some time to tell her mother how much she means…to spend time with her that she might not have done…to lay any issues to rest. It takes an incredible person to look at such a situation like this.
I talk often about learning from past mistakes…but learning experiences can be found in every situation. Even if you can’t find a positive in a situation – which is rare – then you can at least take some learning from it.
One of my favourite ‘tools’, which I have mentioned before, is the ‘Three Blessings’ technique. This really helps with that ‘looking for the good’. You basically write down three things each evening, for a week, that have made you smile…and you also write down why you think that they happened to you. This last bit is important…good things happen to good people supposedly, and so your self-esteem begins to rise when you realise that good things are happening to you…because you deserve them!
#5 – Share happiness…
Positivity starts at home – in your own mind. Yet you also need to be positive with others…share your positivity! There is a risk with this sharing. That risk is being labelled as an annoying dick – a label I used to throw around freely about positive people…now I am embracing my inner annoying dick!
Quite simply, be nice. Be nice to people. Pay compliments – genuine ones. If you see someone with a gorgeous dress that makes their eyes look stunning, tell them. Gorgeous hair, tell them. An amazing smile, tell them. A fabulous presentation, tell them. A great sales pitch, tell them. Find a positive and pay a compliment. Tell all of your friends and family how much you love them.
If you know that someone isn’t feeling great, send them a little message telling them why they are fabulous. Send them flowers. Make a small but lovely gesture.
I find that this comes easily to me now. I still struggle to be nice to, or about, a couple of people…but there is a good reason for this. With everyone else I try and focus on seeing the good in everyone. I try and encourage and support. I try and treat people the way that I would like to be treated.
Get practicing your positivity…and spread it. It will reinforce this new emotion and mindset within you.
Happiness and positivity – I am going to try and spread some of my own. I will do this by committing to something that I read about today. Today, I stumbled across something which I think would be great to have a go at and which fits very nicely with my new positive mindset. I noticed a lovely friend of mine, Karen, had tweeted a picture of her chap and had mentioned something called ‘100 Happy Days‘. This set my curiosity off…and I got looking into this 100 days stuff.
It seems like a great way of building upon my Three Blessings stuff – or rather Martin Seligman’s Three Blessings stuff!
For a hundred days, you commit to taking and posting a photograph of something which makes you happy.
According to the website…
People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:
– Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
– Be in a better mood every day;
– Start receiving more compliments from other people;
– Realise how lucky they are to have the life they have;
– Become more optimistic;
– Fall in love during the challenge.
So I am going to try and complete this challenge. I am not going to officially register…I will just share my picture with you all on Facebook, using #100happydays – and you can add your pictures to the Facebook page if you like too on the daily post that I put up in the evening…it would be great to share the happiness!
I don’t want this to turn into a competition…it’s purely to spread a little joy and to share the things that make me smile.
As the 100 Happy Days guys point out, you might just increase your happiness – and you will end up with a collection of picturs that make you smile. So feel free to join in – but please keep your pictures on the one post…I can’t keep track of them all if they end up all over the place…and I too want to share in your happy moments!
Here is my first picture…
So that’s it for today then. I went to the gym this morning, and my workout has been split a little – so a leg day, an upper body day, a PT day, and a cardio day. My leg day went well. Then it was a quick trip to the horses, a visit to Asda, and then off to babysit. Fairly quiet for me today!
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).
A good food day. My usual porridge for brekkie. Lunch was another smoked salmon quiche…this one had the rest of veggies from the other day – red onion, green beans, tenderstem broccoli, some mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. This time I topped it with my HEA cheese too and it was delicious. I took a ‘picnic’ to my sisters house for whilst I was babysitting. So I made some turkey salad rolls, and took rice cakes and a Nakd bar. Then when I got home I had my yogurt and cherries.
Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio – treadmill and elliptical machine, and 45 minutes of leg and stomach weights.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx