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  • Writer's pictureTamara Harris

Snatching Happy: 7 Tips and Affirmations for Creating a Positive Outlook on Life

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

Out with the old in with the new, practicing positivity is all about you.

Woman stretching in bed in the morning

In the ups and downs of life, it’s our attitude that allows us to snatch moments of happiness, even when life is more down than up. Choosing positivity means that you won’t only feel happier, but you may even live a healthier life as well: in people with a family history of heart disease, those with a positive outlook on life were 33% less likely to have heart issues than those with a negative outlook, according to a study by Johns Hopkins.

Personally, I find positive power in verbal affirmations. Thinking an affirming thought, speaking it out loud and hearing your own voice proclaim something with your ears, touches on so many of your senses, helping to boost your confidence and your body.

Here are 7 tips and affirmations to help you choose happiness and make positive changes, starting today!

Man joyfully picking up wife in new apartment

1. Form a Mental Picture

Use your imagination to visualize an image of what it will look like when you achieve your goals. Do you see your dream house? Are your loved ones around you, celebrating a milestone together? Are you on a vacation somewhere warm, worry-free? Creating a mental picture can help you see your goal as a tangible destination, making it that much easier to work towards making it a reality.

When you’re picturing your goal, try to assign an emotion to that mental picture, such as: peaceful, secure, or joyful. Connecting that outcome to an emotion can help deepen your resolve when you encounter challenges along the way. Forming that mental picture can also be expressed as having a picture of your happy place. When the world is weighing me down, I usually take a minute and think of jumping off the rock at my favorite beach, Magens Bay in St. Thomas where I grew up. Picturing that stunning blue water allows me to take a deep breath and never fails to make me smile!

Where’s your happy place?

Affirmation: My imagination is powerful.

Woman painting by a lake

2. Set Clear Checkpoints

Once you have a mental picture of the goal you want to achieve, set clear checkpoints to help you reach that goal. Make a timeline for how long it will take to reach smaller goals that build up to your larger objective. The convention for goal setting is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. These are goals that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Timely

We often get stuck at “achievable” and “relevant”, because a lot of us are overachievers. But having high expectations of ourselves can negatively impact our ability to feel good about ourselves and our life. And if you’re trying to sprint to the finish line of what should really be a marathon, know that negative impact will show up in other ways, affecting your mental, emotional and physical health.

Woman checking off her to-do list

Remind yourself that the “T” in S.M.A.R.T should also stand for “truthful.” We have to be honest with ourselves about what we truly desire and what we are able to accomplish, both in our personal and professional lives. Regardless of our own patience with ourselves or what others may think, we are allowed to stand in our truth about what we can realistically accomplish.

Affirmation: I speak my truth as an act of self-love.

3. Take Ownership of Your Life

It’s easy to blame others for negative occurrences in your life. Instead, choose to take responsibility. You, yourself, are the repeating constant in your life — so whether it’s your health, a relationship, or your job, it’s your duty to make the necessary changes to improve your life. Start small and proceed one step at a time. As you begin to make changes, you may need to let someone go or let someone in by asking for help. These conversations can be scary, but if you prepare for them, they can be instrumental to making positive changes to your life.

Man drinking coffee, smiling at the window

Remember: stress and fear can take enormous tolls on our bodies if unaddressed, and the benefits of self-agency and recognizing your power to make positive changes in your life are worth it. Taking ownership of your life can be a long journey, so it’s important to carve out time to speak to yourself in a loving way as often as you can.

Affirmation: I deserve happiness and joy.

4. Believe In Yourself

Woman smiling at herself in the mirror

Every day we can make the decision to either be our own worst enemy or our biggest believer. Choose the latter. Make the choice to say, “I’m going to have a great day today.” When things take a turn for the worse, see it as a learning lesson, and move forward. Every time you choose to take the lesson and release the experience, you’re giving yourself the gift of positivity. If someone doesn't treat you the way you deserve to be treated, they can’t take away all of your agency. You still have choices in how you respond: what you say, what you do, and the timing of those actions.

You also have control over what you will hold onto and what you are willing to release at the end of the day. If you’re having a difficult time doing this, record yourself as you speak these affirmations and listen to that recording on a daily basis for several weeks. Many of us speak words of positivity to so many others but struggle to tell ourselves that we are amazing. The daily practice of affirming yourself and building yourself up day by day is an act of love and self-empowerment, in and of itself.

Affirmation: I am and always will be enough.

5. Surround Yourself With Positive People

A group of friends preparing to go on a run

One of my favorite quotes is by Michelle Obama, “Choose people who lift you up.” Think about the kind of people you surround yourself with on a daily basis. While we can’t choose all the people we encounter, we can decide who we trust and who we let into our close inner circle. Choose optimistic people who can help you reach your goals. Choose people who encourage you and understand that while life is not always filled with sunshine and roses, we can always manage to find the good in the world. In situations where you can’t choose who surrounds you, you may have to set strong boundaries to protect your positivity. Committing to maintaining your positive outlook allows you to be a role model for the people in your lives who struggle with their own positivity and perpetually perceive of the glass being half empty.

Affirmation: I surround myself with positivity.

6. Count Your Blessings

Happy family cooking dinner together

In the beginning, practicing positivity can seem like a lot of work. One way to count and appreciate your existing blessings is to keep a gratitude journal. Write a daily list of what you are thankful for; it can be one word or a whole sentence. If you are not feeling inspired to write a “thank you’ list, you can start with keeping a dream journal, noting any dreams or words that arise during your early waking hours. Writing can be good for the brain, helping with memory and mood. If mornings are too hectic, try carving out time to journal in your evening routine. Looking back on items you’ve listed over time can help you see all the good in your life.

Affirmation: I am grateful for all the blessings I have in my life.

7. Do Things That Make You Happy

Happy woman going on a hike with her dog

Make the time to do things that make you happy. Even when your schedule is packed, take the time to go for a walk, watch a funny video, or have coffee with a friend. A smile is packed with power —when you smile, it releases endorphins and helps reduce your stress by changing your mood. Sometimes just turning on one of your favorite songs and dancing as if no one is watching can turn around your whole day! You have so much power, and it’s important to keep in mind that positivity is available to you at any time and can be activated physically, emotionally and mentally. Navigating change and life journeys, whether exciting or stressful, can be challenging, but committing to maintaining a positive attitude can make all the difference in how you feel when you arrive at your final destination.

Affirmation: I do things that make me smile.

I wish you continued positivity on your resilience journey!

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