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Sounds like I’m tackling a pretty gargantuan topic, right? Like it’s completely impossible to just develop a “positive mindset”. After all, it sounds very Mary Poppins.
I can see you sitting there behind your screen, frowning at me. Now you’re frowning because I’ve called you out, I’m such a little know it all. Real talk though, the blog title. “Depression”. What does that mean to you?
Because to me, it means days or weeks, sometimes- I’ll admit, when my depression was untreated in the past it was MONTHS of laying around in my house, specifically my bed, feeling like absolute dirt.
It doesn’t sound like something you can just flick a switch and spring into “a positive mental attitude” from, does it?
No, it doesn’t.
There are, however, small steps you can take that snowball over time that will make the transition into a mindset of happy feel more natural.
How to develop a positive mindset sounds a bit ~Pinterest~ motivational to me…
I’d like to mention before we kick off that there’s still a lot of stigma around mental health and a trend emerging (that isn’t new at all, but I’ve only just recently seen it being labelled) called “toxic positivity”.
Jenn, at The Aligned Life explains: “ It takes courage to let people be sad and grieve and be angry. But that’s what a true strong friend will do! We don’t need to rush our friends (or ourselves) through the process. Holding space for them to authentically experience their sadness is the most loving thing you can do.
Why I am sharing the idea of a mindset reset is not to force or fake happiness, but to encourage change.
I reckon that distinguishing between the two is important if you’re going to have a genuine friendship with yourself also.
Use a happy routine
I tend to do a lot of the same, sad little things when I’m depressed. I wear the same oversized shirt (complete with HOLES in it-Konmari that shit), I’m predictably hermit-ish in nature.
When in the midst of a depressive episode, I won’t want to socialise or break my sad routine, I take comfort in my sadness, because I’ve been down those roads before.
That’s why it makes sense to commit to a happy routine. Like I mentioned in my recent blog on self care these things you do do not have to be high in monetary value, nor do they have to take hours of your time.
A happy routine could look like:
- Making sure you get outside every day, whether it’s out in the backyard by yourself or if you have children or pets. Going for a walk or run, or bike ride.
- Making time every day to sit and enjoy a coffee or cup of tea just you, alone.
- Start listening to music again!
- Restart any of your old hobbies, often we stop them when we’re depressed. Cooking, baking, writing, sewing, painting.
- See friends more often, it doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement, even just a standing coffee date at one of your houses can do wonders for your mood.
- Use the fancy shower gel. You know what I’m talking about. The one you keep saving up. Just use it.
Plan for a mood shift
Now, stay with me here, because this may sound a little ~New Age~
You can use your depressive episodes as a kind of compass to show you where exactly you don’t want to be in life.
Consider this. You’re sitting there, feeling crap about everything, hating most things (or everything, if you like to make grand declarations such as I do). Each depressive episode, you could consider as a kind of spiritual moment for the Id.
Your own “tabula rasa”.
I usually find myself free journalling at the end of depressive episodes as a way to process what I felt.
For me, this is the number one way I really think about how to develop a positive mindset and improve my mood. I also find my bullet journal an invaluable tool in planning and productivity.
Forgive yourself for having bad days
I know when I’m depressed, I tend to put my every action under a microscope, my brain tends to tell me that I’m wrong for feeling a certain way. Then the shoulds come in and cloud my thinking with their anxiety propelling powers and I find myself stuck in a cycle of negativity.
Here’s where self-compassion comes in.
Only recently, a dear friend of mine introduced me to the Motherkind Podcast by Zoe Blasky, an incredible UK Mum of one from a marketing background who runs an amazingly successful podcast.
Her podcast covers self-development and wellbeing, anxiety and mental health, how to develop a positive mindset and parenthood in the age of Instagram.
Finding this podcast was a turning point for me in really understanding the true meaning of self-compassion. I had of-course heard the term before, but the idea of showing myself the same kind of love and grace as I would a dear friend was confronting to me although it makes sense from a healing point of view.
Remind yourself you are resilient
Chances are, you’ve been through depressive episodes before this one. When we’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see the progress we’ve made. A positive mindset doesn’t mean brushing things off, or wearing rose tinted glasses. To me, it means reframing situations to be less negative and less dire.
You’ve made it through before and you will make it through again.
Where is your mindset coming from?
You’re probably thinking “my mind.. obviously..”.
I mean time-wise, emotion wise. Where is the feeling coming from? Are you ruminating? Or perhaps catastrophising over a future worry? It may not be immediately obvious.
A few books I found for getting in touch with the idea of the present are listed below.
Avoid toxicity (in all of its forms)
You really want to figure out how to develop a positive mindset that actually sticks around?
Then work on getting rid of toxicity, whatever that means for you.
- Get off Instagram (if that’s what it takes)
- Work on your self talk. Want to know how? Check out Ella Sofia’s blog and Youtube vid on making positive self talk a habit.
- Track your mood. Using an app like Youper.ai you can log you mood at set points through the day, track triggers, and monitor your emotional health.
Do you think you’ll give any of these a go? Rather eat broken glass? Leave me a comment and let me know either way.