Top Six Self-Care Habits for Keeping a Positive Mindset
Danielle Lively Neal is a former professor turned entrepreneur who provides brand strategy consulting, career coaching and marketing services for clients.
These days it seems like there is a new strategy around every corner to help you keep a positive mindset and promote happiness. There are so many it’s hard to decide which ones actually work or you feel as if you need to try them all, frustrating isn’t it?
Well I am here to help! Here are 6 self-care habits that have been shown in research and case studies to promote a consistently positive mindset.
Keep a gratitude journal
Those who keep gratitude journals are happier and healthier psychologically, physically, and socially. If you need more specifics on that check out the latest post on why you need a gratitude journal. Gratitude journaling keeps you focusing on the positive and looking for the positive around every corner. Bonus points, do it in this super cute dot journal with these super cute pens! Then again, I get a weird kind of joy out of pretty office supplies!
Practice positive self talk
Practicing positive self-talk is critically important and it’s also something I know many of us struggle with, especially as women. It’s definitely been one of the hardest habits to build for myself. We can definitely be our own worst critic and we tend to talk to ourselves in a way that we would never speak to a friend! Well that’s just unacceptable! We have to step it up ladies because we are bold, beautiful, intelligent, and go getters, we are entrepreneurs after all! So what do I do when I need a pick me up? I keep a brag/thank you file with all the little notes I have gotten from clients or former students or thank you cards that were really meaningful to me. These always make me smile and make me realize that even though I may be having a bad day and beating up on myself that I inspired or helped someone with my work. I have even been known to read my letters of recommendation to pump myself up before interviews. Maybe a pretty reminder in a visible place on your wrist with this encouraging bracelet or sitting on your desk with this calculator is more your speed. But whatever you do, stop the cycle of negative self-talk because you are worth so much more than that. Ask yourself, “If my friend were saying this and beating up on herself about something, what advice would I give her?” Then take your own advice.
At the risk of sounding cliche, laughter IS the best medicine. People who laugh more have lower blood pressure, higher levels of happiness and joy and tend to connect better with others. No surprise right? Ask yourself what brings you joy and sparks your laughter? Are you the type of person whose default mode is laughter, like myself? (Side note: I tend to laugh at the most awkward and inappropriate times as well.) Or do you save your laughs for the truly hilarious things? Either way, FIND IT!!! Make and participate in more laughter and put yourself in situations that bring more of that into your life. It’s hard to be negative and unhappy when you have a case of the giggles, albeit even if some of them are ill timed (whoops!).
Start every day on a positive note
Some people like to meditate, others like to have a huge photo or quote on their wall that inspires them first thing when they wake up. I have always been a big fan of putting inspirational post-its around my place that make me smile. Lately, when I wake up, I have also been reading quick inspirational stories of women entrepreneurs in a new book I got called In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs. Each story has a great quote and an inspirational takeaway that you can apply to your own story, even with life lessons from those in totally different industries. All in all though, have some sort of habit or practice you do or look to right away when you wake up so that you wake up on the “right side” of the bed and start your day off positively!
Create rewards for yourself
We all need something to look forward to, in fact, having something to look forward to has been shown to increase motivation and positivity and gives us a sense of optimism and something to look forward to. I know a lot of us might default to “going on an amazing vacation” or “spa day,” or things like that, but that’s not financially feasible for everyone and you can still get the benefits of creating rewards for yourself by creating small, inexpensive, heck, even free, rewards! Really it is all about the “looking forward to” that gives you the benefits of the habit in terms of positivity and mindset. For example, I reward myself with an iced coffee (from a packet, i.e. inexpensive), each day when I finish by “big 3” on my to do list. I look forward to it and when I want that darn coffee things seem to get done quicker! I simply look forward to that. But it could be rewarding yourself by a phone call with a friend you really enjoy or going out to dinner. It’s as big or as small as you want it to be. Especially after the last two years we all are in dire need of things, big and little, to look forward to and your positive vibes will thank you for it.
Always be learning
Now this may be a self-care habit you haven’t heard on many “top self-care habits” lists in the past, but as a former educator and someone who still routinely researches and continues to educate myself on all areas of my business, you should never ever stop learning. Don’t let that beautiful brain go to waste! There is always something new to learn. That’s one reason I love my subscription box at Sparkle Hustle Grow so much, because with the included book and trainings, I am always learning something new monthly, the office supplies are just a bonus reward (see #5)! Studies have found that those who continue learning are more self-aware, more adaptable, more emotionally intelligent, and have healthier brains than those who don’t press themselves to continue to learn. You have probably even heard that doing different brain games helps to keep your mind sharp as you age. Continuing to learn also spurs creativity and gives you new ideas for your business which can increase your positivity even more. Your assignment, pick one new article or blog post, or educational item to read/review once a day for 10 minutes. Doesn’t matter what area it is in, just broaden your mind and inspire yourself!
This is not even close to an exhaustive list of all the different habits you can create to bring more positivity and happiness in your life, but it is definitely a good start. Other habits that have also served me well are ensuring that my faith, my family and my friends are a huge part of my life and I make a priority to spend time with them….cue the laughter (see #3). Also, taking care of my physical health has been key, along with getting outside to workout or just spend time in nature. I find that to be very healing personally.
Whatever the journey you are on, hopefully this list spurs you to try some of these habits in your own life and encourages you to create even more habits for yourself to continue your journey for joy and a positive attitude! Positive = productive, and that’s what every entrepreneur likes to see!