This post is going to be a tad more personal than any of the ones I have done before. It’s going to be a bit of a self-help guide for myself, and a reminder that things are never quite as bad as they may seem.
For one reason or the other, I’ve found myself falling into a downwards spiral. My confidence is probably the lowest it has ever been, and my anxiety has been through the roof. It’s one of those states of mind where even the smallest thing blows up into the most destructive and negative thing that could ever happen to you, where you can’t see many positive things around you. Ridiculous, I know. And not the type of person I like to be.
So I’ve decided it’s time to sit down, re-evaluate, and change my mind-set. And yes, it is going to be as easy as that. Because I’m going to make sure of it. I think it is crucial to be the change that you want to see in yourself, and to appreciate all the beauty around us. So here are my five steps to keeping that positive attitude, and that smile on your face.
1. Never give up on something you love.
Since finishing University, I’ve been forced to grow up so quickly. I know that this is an incredibly naive and silly thing to say… I’m 21, I should be grown up by now… but so much has changed at once, and it feels like I have lost some of the things I used to hold so dearly. Everything shouldn’t just be work, bills, house-keeping and the gym. Even just writing that makes me groan with exasperation. It is important to still have something in your life, separate to everything, that never fails to bring you joy. And for me, that would be dancing. I suppose I came into this “new life” and left that behind. Dancing was the one thing that no matter how many pieces of coursework I had due in, or how many finals I had approaching, would be the most amazing form of release. Even if I just went once a week, it was my sanctuary. So the next steps on my little life plan will be to find a new dance class. Such a simple little thing, but I know it is the right step. You are never to old to keep up with a hobby, and it really is the perfect form of escapism.
2. Never doubt yourself.
I’ve never been the most confident of individuals, but I have always been fairly sure of my abilities. For some reason, this has disappeared recently. I’ve doubted so many of the things I’ve done, and not felt the confidence to put myself forward for certain things. I’m not sure if this is because I feel like I’ve lost my identity slightly since leaving University, and being away from all my friends and family. But it’s something that needs to change. Everyone needs to look back at their achievements, and remind themselves how bloody fantastic they actually are! Do not ever forget the things you have done in your life, and the places you have been… and the places you are going to go! I would not be where I am now if I hadn’t pushed myself and done everything within my power to be the best I could be. There are always things to learn, and more experience to be gained – no one will ever be perfect. As long as you know you are putting everything into your professional or personal life, then you will achieve great things. I think the best thing to do is think of all the places you could be in a years time. It’s such an exciting (and quite terrifying) thought. So much can be learnt in a year, and if you put your mind to it, you can achieve incredible things in that amount of time.
3. Surround yourself with people who care.
One fantastic friend is worth twenty fake ones. And not everyone is going to like you. So I think it is vital to recognise the amazing people you do have around you, and the people you know you can rely on. I’m currently living in a city where I used to be absolutely engulfed in friends and acquaintances. Now, with everyone having gone their separate ways, it’s hard to get used to a much quieter and lonely atmosphere. But I’ve finally realised that actually there are some really amazing people around me still. I’ve made some great friends in the past couple of months… people that are actually interested in my life and how I’m feeling in it. That’s worth a lot – and anyone who doesn’t care isn’t worth your time in the first place.
4. Re-evaluate, re-evaluate, re-evaluate!
I’m quite an anal person, so this is the one that helps me the most. When I’ve got a problem, or something that is getting me down, I always try to look at the situation from different viewpoints. I will try to find a solution to whatever is troubling me… because there normally IS a solution! Often, the stress someone is already feeling will taint all other situations that come into their path – I know this is especially true for me! I will even write my solution down, and steps I can take to rectify the situation… probably a bit much for most people, but I find it really beneficial. It’s good to speak to other people about the problem as well. Too often I’ll bottle a problem up, and then the problems will build and build until there’s no room left… then some poor person’s got to deal with the explosion! It’s not healthy, and people are always more than happy to talk to you about it. I always find it particularly helpful to talk to someone completely removed from the situation. That way, they’ve got no emotional connection to it, and can give you genuine advice as an insider.
5. Avoid the routine.
Obviously not all of us have the luxury of living a life void of routine altogether. However, I think shaking up the routine of a day or a week can be great in pulling you out of a negative attitude. This might not stand for everyone – I just know that I really don’t like getting absorbed by a routine. I feel like it means i’m wasting my life away – plus I get bored quite easily! So once a week, do something different. Even if that is literally a picnic in the park with a bottle of Pinot, it’s just something different than the day to day monotonous schedule of coming home, making dinner, watching TV, reading a book and going to sleep. There are so many great things to experience that don’t even have to cost money. Keep an eye open for great events you can go to… anything that gives you something to look forward to. Life is too short for routine.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”