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How to stay happy and upbeat in tough times

Eilidh Milnes

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People often ask how I remain so happy and positive...

Let me explain. I've always been positive. It's a choice And one I make every day. It's a choice you can make too. Negativity makes me run for the door. When I hear someone complaining, moaning and letting off steam, I step aside.  When people comment on my positivity I explain. Others may have a tendency to complain, however considering I am cited as 'Captain Positive;' I'd be a hypocrite not to focus on being a good finder. It's my job to help people feel better about themselves, be more confidence and more productive in their daily lives. 

I spend a great deal of time listening to my clients as they tell me about their stress levels and emotional well-being and how that impacts their health. How could I preach the importance of a healthy mental attitude to help my clients, if I wasn't walking my own walk? The sad fact is, if you're chronically unhappy and stressed, it's impossible to live a fully charged life.

Down for minutes not hours

Don't get me wrong, we're not meant to be ebullient 100 percent of the time. It's normal to feel sad and down occasionally, and working through those feelings is part of the human experience. But if you delight in negativity where cynicism and sarcasm bolster your comfort zone, maybe it's time to see why this approach may not be working for you. I allow myself to have a 'pity party (complaining to anyone who will listen) for maybe 5 minutes. In fact, I often put on my timer, saying " OK Eilidh, you've got 5 minutes, get it off your chest!" Then I actively box off the negativity and change my mental statement back to my default mode of happy, smiling and upbeat.

You only need to look around you to see a crowd of sad scowling faces. These people don't get many smiles or much warmth in their lives because they drain energy and qite frankly no-one wants to spend time in the company of "Neggie Nellies!"  What you give out is what you get back. If you glare expect growls in return. Smiles are infectious, give them away and they'll come bouncing back like rays of sunshine.

Simple steps to shed a negative outlook

1. Start a gratitude diary

You'll have heard me say this before, the idea is all over my blogs and books. Be grateful! Start a gratitude log today. Sometimes I refer to it as a 365 diary because the aim is to write down one thing every day that you are grateful for. Just start, one step at a time. And at end of a year you'll have 365 things that enhanced your life.

2. Focus on the 3Cs. 

For the next twenty-one days do not criticise, condemn or complain. Monitor your statements. If you transgress, return to day one. If you can adopt this new modus operandi your life will be rejuvenated. Start with an hour, then two, then four. Follow this doubling effect and before you know it you will have followed the process for a whole day, then a week, then a month. At this point, take stock. You'll be amazed at the difference your improved attitude makes and so will the others who live and work with you. Be ready for the reaction of other. They will question you saying things like, "What you are, 'on!'"

3. Be a good finder! Genuinely compliment someone every day

I make it a practice to point out at least one accomplishment to each of my clients, no matter how big or small, in every session.  I praise strangers. I compliment waiting staff. I look for good service and you know what? I get it. I you want good customer care, be a good customer! This is based on the law of reciprocity. The more you compliment (genuinely of course), the happier you will feel. You'll be spreading positive energy.

4. Be outward looking

Get involved in community, sharing and good causes. Fix your thoughts and efforts on how you can help others. A happy balanced and blessed life is not all about you! Charity fosters positivity, after all the root of charity is love and love can conquer all.

5. I dare you

To be the most positive person you know. In fact, if you can't say something kind, say nothing at all. Think of people in positive terms. If I were to have a bad situation and started mentally listing off everything that was going wrong, I'd catch myself and focus on my gratitude list. This is how to form new habits: Be aware, and when you start to backslide, override that tendency and shift into your new habit. 

6. Give yourself self-talk a high five

Most importantly, learn to be kind to yourself. Monitor your internal dialogue, your self-talk. Tell yourself things that you would never say aloud, to a friend in fact to anyone. Statements like "Good Morning Gorgeous!" 

Smile! Avoid being overly critical of yourself. In many cases this is a source of my unending misery. Once you learn how to love and accept yourself, you will become truly happier, less stressed and more productive. It takes practice. It takes time. It's something you need to do every day. In fact, l practice daily even now. You too can soon develop a "Captain Positive'" attitude till it is second nature. Starting now... 

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