Positivity Now! 20 Ways to Get Happier & Move More Right Meow

A version of this post was originally published at stronginsideout.com on August 18, 2014.

When I was growing up, positivity was frowned upon in my group of friends. We punk rockers, skaters, ravers and otherwise alternative kids saw positive people as “mainstream,” which meant fake, boring, un-creative, closed-minded… and mean.

The kids who smiled and laughed all the time were usually doing so at us. They were also usually the “jocks,” or athletic ones.

I grew up with the unfortunate association between positivity, athleticism and cruelty. I lumped them together, all equally revolting to me at an age when both physical activity and a brighter attitude could have helped me a great deal.

Over the years, I came to realize that positivity didn’t have to be what I always thought it had been.

Positivity doesn’t have to be fake smiles and over-enthusiastic laughing and sunshine and rainbows.

It can be a soft smile as you acknowledge how lucky you are to have friends that can come up with the worst puns you’ve ever heard. It can be the gentle gratitude you feel for having such a comfortable bed to fall face first into after a horrible day at work. It can even be the simple refusal to be eaten up by the thoughts that tell you you aren’t worth it.

Positivity is not the ignorance of pain, but the acknowledgement that you have the wherewithal to handle it and come out of it stronger.

Positivity, like exercise, is a choice you make every day, and like exercise, it becomes habit after a while. Want to hear something cool? When you start working on implementing either more positivity or more exercise into your life, you’ll help promote the other as a habit, too!

Listen to this: researchers in Denmark studied 607 people and found that those who had an overall more positive attitude lived about 5 years longer than those who didn’t, aaaaaaand they exercised more! Now, we’re still kinda chicken-and-egging this study–which came first, the exercise or the positivity? Were patients more positive from doing more physical activity, or were they more active from having a more positive frame of mind?

Turns out, it doesn’t matter. Either situation is plausible and recommended! If that doesn’t have you screaming, “Positivity now!!!” from the rooftops, I don’t know what will.

So which should you work on first? It’s totally up to you and where you’re at right now, but I suggest that you work on them together.

It’s how we structure our Strong Inside Out Bootcamp — not only do members get workout programs specific to depression or anxiety, but they also get access to peer and coach support as well as mindset challenges which encourage positivity, confidence, courage, mindfulness and productivity in ways that make sense for their frame of mind.

Today, I want to give you some tips to work with. Here are 20 simple, doable, no-excuses ways to feel a little more positive and get a little more active RIGHT MEOW.

…see? That’s the first one. ;)

10 Proven Positivity Tips

  1. That movie you’ve seen a million times and never hesitates to make you laugh? Watch it. Again.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee (if you have a fast caffeine metabolism, that is. If coffee gives you the jitters, makes you feel anxious or affects you for more than a couple hours, try some green tea instead).
  3. Who makes you pee your pants laughing? Call them and set up a coffee date.
  4. Pay for your coffee and for the person’s standing in line behind you.
  5. Forgive someone. I know it still hurts, but holding onto it is hurting you even more.
  6. What are you most proud of accomplishing so far? Write it down. Draw it. Sing it. Get it out!
  7. Watch “Drunk History” or “You’re The Worst”. I can’t get enough of these shows–they crack me up every episode.
  8. Make a vision board. Then, create a written action plan to go after it. Then, start on it.
  9. Scream “I AM AWESOME!!!” at the top of your lungs… in a place where no one will call the police when you do.
  10. Donate your money or your time. Helping others is a surefire way to get the focus off your pain, and onto helping someone else through theirs, which leads to feelings of accomplishment, gratitude and–you guessed it!–positivity.

10 Exhilarating Exercise Motivators

  1. Before you can get in your car to go home, walk the stairs down from your office, then back up and then back down again. Now you may leave.
  2. Buy a jump rope and jump for 5 minutes every hour on the hour (set an alarm to remind you). No jump rope? Do jumping jacks instead… or take a dance break.
  3. Drop and give me 20! Ok, how about 10 push ups? As many as you can do with good form, do that. Every other day.
  4. Sign up for that free training session your gym keeps calling you about. It’s free and it’s a chance to learn proper form from a professional. To get the most out of it, tell your trainer-to-be exactly what you hope to learn from the session ahead of time so he/she can prep specific moves/info for you.
  5. Sign up for the first interesting Groupon you see in the fitness category.
  6. Download the 12 Minute Athlete App. It’s chock full of short workouts you can do anywhere with minimal equipment.
  7. March in place every time commercial breaks come on the TV. If you’ve got more movement experience, alternate reverse lunges, side lunges and transverse lunges. Or just try this.
  8. Buy a pair of dumbbells. They’re a great investment and you can work while you pump! On a call? Put that guy on speaker and crank out some shoulder presses while sitting straight up in your chair. Finishing up a project that has you typing endlessly for hours? Take breaks with 10–20 dumbbell deadlifts every half hour. Do a maximum of 5 sets and be sure to sit up straight after you sit back down.
  9. Chair sits are a great way to break up a sedentary lifestyle. Got a quick sec at work, but stuck at your desk? All you have to do is stand up, concentrating on squeezing your butt while you do, then sit back down. Do it 20 times every time you think about it… and be careful if your chair has wheels!
  10. When all else fails, make a bet. Give money to a friend to give to a cause you hate if you don’t stick to your plan of working out 3x/week. Believe me, it’s motivation that works.

Sometimes, you just need someone else to jolt you out of your excuses. I’m happy to be that person for every one of you.

By taking action on just one of these tips above, you’ll be one step closer to becoming more active and embracing a lighter attitude.

Commit to taking action on just one of these tips TODAY.

Treat yourself like you’re worth the work it takes to get happier and healthier. You are, and by working on one, you’ll work on the other, too!

Stay strong,

Amy


Amy Clover is a speaker, writer and mental health advocate. This post was originally published on StrongInsideOut.com, a site devoted to helping you become stronger than your struggle through fitness, mindfulness & positive action. Join the email list to get weekly inspiration + goodies >> Click here.