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Are there days you wonder why you can’t feel calmer, more peaceful or more positive about the upcoming day? Do you find yourself stressed and unhappy or hear yourself telling people you’re “good” but when you really think about it, realize that you have feelings of unhappiness, irritability and edginess?

Maybe it’s time to change your approach. Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown, owner of Fly | A Fitness Revolution, has these suggestions for getting a handle on your stress and anxiety, which she says is the main reason your mood may be sour:

  1. Practice being grateful. “You need to actively think about things you are grateful for and be mindful of them,” Jenni says. She suggests writing them down, starting with 2 or 3 things you are grateful for each day. She recommends spending a few minutes reflecting on these things. “Once we cultivate an awareness of things we are grateful for, it’s easier to let negative thoughts go,” she says. Research has found that people who practice gratitude have more positive emotions, sleep better, are more optimistic and have less isolation and loneliness as well as healthier relationships. So gratitude is not only good for your health but over time, your mind starts to alter the way it thinks, shifting toward positivity as a default. “You have to start it methodically and practically and assist yourself in the beginning,” she says.
  2. Get your zzzs. Not getting enough sleep or getting poor-quality sleep can impact your mood tremendously. Lack of sleep affects energy levels and keeps you feeling drained. This leads to mood changes, health problems and a variety of other issues, so Jenni says you need to make good sleep a priority.
  3. Change your internal dialogue. Instead of viewing yourself or your experiences as stressful, change what you tell yourself about a situation. Remember that your mind believes what you repeat, and if you tell yourself you are stressed or that a situation is one you can’t handle, your blood pressure goes up, your heart beat quickens, and you are filled with fear. This means that you have control over your physical response. “While It’s easy to let our thoughts, the news, or other negative things pop in and take over, you need to try to offset this by taking in your own positive thoughts and replacing our anxiety with good, positive things and experiences or thoughts,“ Jenni says.
  4. Be the positivity. Start finding a way to spread positivity to other people and see how good it feels. Jenni suggests embracing a way of spreading positivity that feels good to you, such as giving compliments or paying it forward. “If you treat people with as much kindness and compassion as possible, you bring out the light and you can be an agent of change,” Jenni says.
  5. Work it out. Every bit of research out there shows that any kind of exercise improves mood. Not only does exercise give you an immediate endorphin rush, it also helps your outlook long term and makes you feel good for days. Simple, but true.
  6. Do things that bring you joy. Take a few moments to write down the activities that make you happy. Each week, try to do a couple things from your list. You have to have joy in your life and it’s different for everyone.
  7. Surround yourself with positivity. Jenni suggests leaving behind any negativity when you find it in your life. “Don’t be a part of draining, gossipy relationships,” she says. Sticking with people and friendships that inspire you and uplift you creates a circle of positivity for everyone involved. She also says that it’s important to think about how social media impacts you — if it makes you feel bad about yourself or drains you, it may be time to drop it from your life. Any time you leave a situation or a setting feeling drained rather than encouraged, reevaluate what that person or situation has to offer.

 

Just like any other goal, positivity takes work to cultivate. Be deliberate and work hard at your positivity and feel the benefits of a happier, more stress-free life!

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