19 February 2013

How to Stay Up in a World that is Spiralling Down

Happy-Girl-on-the-beach-4805If you’re wondering who would want to know how to stay up in a world that is spiralling down, then you probably don’t live in the same world as the rest of us.  You’re welcome to continue reading, of course, but this is for those of us who are trying to stay positive in an increasingly negative world.  Stress and worry seem to be a natural part of life, but there are things that we can do to reduce the impact of the negative things we encounter in our lives.  I’ve been an ME sufferer since 2001 and I have had to learn to keep the negative things around me at bay as they affect my health and make me ill.  So here are my tips on how I stay up when the world is spiralling down.

I Don’t Watch or Read the News:
Yep, that’s right.  I don’t read newspaper’s or watch news programmes because there is nothing guaranteed to bring me down faster than seeing what is going on in the world.  Is it news, really?  We’re all broadly aware of what is happening in the world and I can guarantee you one thing, if something huge happens, somebody will tell you about it, so there’s no need to depress yourself with a daily dose of news.

I Watch What I Say:
It is so easy to not only notice, but then to go on and comment about something bad that I’ve seen in my life.  Take this as an example; every time I speak to my mother we seem to end up complaining about how expensive food has gotten and how energy bills have gone up.  We end up making ourselves feel bad as well as each other.  Going over and repeating negative aspects of life don’t help solve them and just increase the negative impact they have on our lives.

I Try to Express Gratitude:
So if we take the example from before, if anyone starts to tell me about how expensive things are, I tell them about a great bargain I found.  It’s actually more hopeful and more inspiring to be grateful, and let’s face it, no matter how awful things are, there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how small.  I also like to speak/think about the lovely messages I receive online or something sweet my partner might have done.  Note, I’m not pretending to be grateful or faking it – I just try to keep my eyes open for the good too.

It’s OK to Feel Crappy:
Now, this may seem to totally go against the past two points, but it doesn’t.  There are days when you just feel awful; something bad may have happened or you just can’t see the positive.  I don’t feel like I have to hide it, after all, I like to think of myself as an honest, well-rounded person and I have bad days like everyone else, so what I do is not beat myself up for not being positive, but allow myself some down time and try to talk to a friend or my sisters.  If I don’t feel comfortable doing that, then I write a post about it; I’m lucky, I’m a writer so it’s easy to express myself and usually I find in the course of writing about how I feel, I begin to feel better.

I Surround Myself with People Who Nurture Me:
When you realise everyone has bad days, you are understanding of other people’s bad days and allow them some down time too.  It’s not nice to try and police other people’s moods.  But then there are those people who are always down.  They revel in the negative and can only see the bad.  We all know toxic people like this and the best we can do is to not get caught up in their toxic tantrums; most times we can see how we enable the behaviour of people like this.

I Don’t Always Have to Be in Control:
I’m a control freak perfectionist from way back, but if chronic illness taught me one thing it’s that I don’t have to control everything and perfect is just a state of mind.  There is very little that needs to be done immediately but we put so much pressure on ourselves to do so much.  Living in a constant state of stress just makes us more susceptible to even more stress and anxiety.  A little honest prioritising and time management can help alleviate so much stress.  I also try to narrow my focus to the here and now and only as far as the world that I can affect and change.

It’s not always possible to stay up, but by implementing these tips in my life, I reduce my chances of slipping down and not only does this keep me happier but also healthier.

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