By Kavata Kithome
I have always wondered what pure joy feels like.
In my search to find such joy, I payed extra attention to people who seemed to be consistently joyful and happy.
I found that most of these people practiced something on a daily basis that helped lift them up and promoted positive thinking. They most commonly practiced gratitude, meditation and/or journaling. I was intrigued and was ready to try all of these practices.
While I was able to find peace and some glimpses of joy doing these things, the moments were fleeting and I would be left feeling frustrated and thinking that I was not doing something right.
Fed up and desperate, I decided to take the task inward and began by first understanding what joy means to me. Through a lot of introspection, I learned a few different things…
- I learned that it is important to be – and work to stay – optimistic.
- That I have the best example I could ever ask for when it comes to being optimistic in my mother.
- That optimists tend to be healthier and are more successful because they are able to increase their resilience and manage difficulty with clarity.
- That happiness doesn’t mean smiling all the time.
- That I must give myself permission to let myself feel sadness, disappointment and even anger when a situation calls for it and know that these feelings don’t mean that I am not an optimist.
As my mother often says, there is a silver lining in every difficult situation. This has taught me that optimism allows me to see the opportunity in a difficult moment and learn from it. By doing this, I am able to experience peace, which ultimately leads to happiness.
While learning these nuggets of wisdom and understanding what happiness means to me, I adopted these habits to help me to continuously stay optimistic and keep a positive perspective:
1. Focus On Your Strengths
Oftentimes when I am bombarded with my day to day life, I forget my innate strength, which leads to feelings of hopelessness and negativity and – you guessed it – unhappiness.
By taking the time to focus on my strengths – such as my creativity, my ability to empathise with others and my appreciation of excellence – I have been able to become better at tackling whatever difficulties life throws into my path. Focusing on my strengths reduced my overall emotional stress and I am now able to focus on positivity and hopefulness.
2. Articulate Your Ideal Self
Visualization is a powerful tool; it is even more powerful when coupled with powerful mantras. I found that by not only envisioning my best self, but also saying strong affirmations to accompany these visions, my well-being became reinforced and allowed me to bring forth my most ideal and powerful qualities throughout the day. This brought about a better outlook for myself and in turn raised my self-esteem and optimism.
3. Practice Gratitude
By focusing on my experience in the here and now and looking forward to the life ahead of me and truly feeling gratitude, I have found that my happiness, self-esteem and the positive way I am able to relate to people increases. In turn, my feelings of gloom, pessimism, cynicism and social comparison slowly diminish. Taking time to focus on all that I have to be grateful for allows me to look inward for peace and happiness.
I accomplished this best by getting a gratitude journal and scheduling time each day to experience all the things I have to be grateful for, from the people I interact with to the music I hear; the sounds of a red cardinal to a beautiful piece of art; my ability to creatively solve a problem to acting silly with my siblings and so on.
I have found that the more time I take to take in all the wonderful things I have going on in my life, the more I find to be grateful for. This creates an infectious positivity that puts a consistent, genuine smile on my face and allows me to be more open to the world and the people around me.
Along with good nutrition and exercise, I practice these habits every day. Through my learning process, I have come to know that I may not be able to avoid sorrow and pain, as they are a part of the human experience, but I can enhance my experiences of joy, happiness, peace and contentment by cultivating the habits mentioned above into my daily life.
Do you have any daily habits that you use to help you stay positive and optimistic? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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