The following is a guest post by Ryan Rivera of CalmClinic.com. Links can be found at the end of this post. Thanks Ryan!!
For a not-insignificant portion of my life, I dealt with severe anxiety. Not “I’m afraid to go talk to girls” anxiety – more like “I’m afraid to go outside, I may die” anxiety. I was suffering from panic attacks, generalized anxiety, agoraphobia, and alektorophobia, which is a fear of chickens, which is a long story that is completely unrelated to the rest of this article but wow chickens are gross.
I’m free of anxiety now, but not before going through a number of major and minor life changes. One of the main thing standing in my way of that recovery, however, was my attitude. I was a negative person. I had little trust in others, little hope for the world, and a general distaste for most things human being related.
This was a problem, and one that I’ve long since realized doesn’t only affect me. There’s a general lack of positivity in this world, and in many ways it’s like a disease. The more you see it in others, the more you catch it for yourself.
The reality is that if you can control your positivity, you can control your anxiety. Positivity is not necessarily a cure, but positivity is an important tool for allowing the true cures to work. It’s with that in mind that I believe everyone trying to create more positivity in their life should consider the following strategies:
- Fake Positivity Everywhere – Back when I was younger I worked in a customer service environment, and to keep my job I had to fake positivity daily. I wish I had learned this life lesson back then, but one of the things that happened was the fake positivity became real positivity. I would look forward to going to work and I felt genuinely positive when I was there. The mind tends to adapt to the way you act, and by faking this feeling of positivity, I became (at least temporarily) a genuinely positive person.
- Develop a Positive Diary – Journaling itself can be a valuable tool, but even more valuable is the idea is to force yourself to journal only positive things. 100%, non-passive aggressive, positive things. No “the world didn’t blow up today” because that’s not positive. No “My mom didn’t call me, thankfully” because that’s not positive either. Force yourself to come up with a minimum of 10 specific, positive things to happen every day. It’s an exercise that can really teach you how to see the positives in life.
- Exercise Often – Exercise really does increase positivity. It’s not just about how you feel about yourself, although that certainly helps. Exercise actually burns away stress hormones and increases a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in feeling more positive. Exercise is a powerful tool that far too many people ignore or forget.
- Surround Yourself with Positive People – Finally, make sure that you’re always surrounding yourself with people that bring positive thoughts and feelings into your life. Negativity really is contagious. Those that are always putting things down or talking about the negative will rub off on you, no matter how much you try to ignore it. Spend as much time as you can spending time with the positive people in your life, because those people are going to rub off on you over time.
Positivity is a very real thing. I remember when I first started trying to be positive, I thought it was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe I was trying to take all of the negative events that I “knew” were negative in life and pretend that the world was a positive place. Now that I’ve gained this new positive perspective, I can’t imagine why I saw the world as so negative before. People may sometimes be negative. The world is an amazing, fascinating place, and now that I’m a more positive person, I’m finally stress free enough to enjoy it.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera’s panic attacks and anxiety may have caused him to view the world through a negative lens, but his new mindset helps keep him clear and focused on living a healthier life. He writes about anxiety at Calm Clinic Inc.