How to stay positive – the secrets of happy people

With Coronavirus currently affecting so many people across the globe, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the way that life has changed so dramatically in such a short space of time. But at times like this, it is even more imperative than normal to try to stay positive and hopeful for the future. Some people are better at being optimistic than others; so what’s their secret?

I am generally a happy and chilled-out individual and thinking about the ways in which I am able to maintain this positivity in everyday life, I have come up with the following 8 tips:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
    It is so easy to compare yourself to other people – to look at what they have and how they live their lives and to worry that you don’t match up. I combat this in two ways: I don’t place much value on material possessions; and I look at my own life – the things that I do have – and I am grateful for the small things every day.
  1. Accept change.
    I understand that some things are simply out of my control, and that often with change comes opportunity. I don’t fear change; I see it as a way to push myself forward.
  1. Talk, talk and talk some more.
    I am lucky to have a very close-knit family, a network of incredible friends, and a husband who loves to chat. If I feel negativity creeping in in any way, there is always someone I can go to for a rant. Once a problem is verbalised, the solutions are often made clearer, and then it doesn’t seem like such a big deal any more.
  1. Be honest and learn to say no.
    If you’re constantly doing things you don’t truly want to do, you will end up miserable. I just try to be honest if there’s something I really don’t want to do – as long as the message is delivered politely, it should be well received.
  1. Follow your own dreams and don’t concern yourself with other people’s expectations.
    These days I have a clear sense of where I’m going and I no longer strive to achieve professional goals that I feel other people have set for me. As long as I am happy with where I am, that is all that matters. I understand my own strengths, weaknesses and limits, and my life goals reflect these.
  1. Find the humour in things.
    I can be professional when the situation requires it, but I think I have always had the default setting of ‘clown’. I try not to take anything too seriously and I am always looking for opportunities to laugh.
  1. Know your triggers.
    Understanding what brings me down and having tactics to deal with it is really important. Work pressures and deadlines can stress me out, so I never leave things until the last minute. I can be grouchy when I’m tired, so I make sleep a priority. I also know what picks me up – playing with my kids, listening to upbeat music, getting out into nature, meeting up with friends, peace and quiet – and I make time for these things.
  1. Do good.
    They say that doing good feels good and I totally agree. Doing something for the benefit of others can stimulate the brain’s reward centre and give you a ‘happy high’. Whether it’s volunteering, doing favours for friends and family, donating to those in need, living more sustainably, or just choosing to be kind, there are tons of ways you can be a better person.

Virtual FAC

Georgie Sherrard, Student Wellbeing Champion