I am a positive person. It’s not a social media pose, that’s simply how I am. One of my Instagram followers recently asked me an interesting question. “Have you always been this positive or did you learn it?” Great that she’s asked, because I’ve actually never thought about it!
Is a positive mindset something natural or can you learn it?
If we divide people into two categories – positive and negative, I’ve always been more on the positive side. Nevertheless, reaching happiness is a long journey, during which you figure out the things that make you happy (and those that don’t), so that you know what to focus on in your life. Therefore, my answer is that a positive attitude is rather something learnt. Before I get to the list of the 10 things behind my positivity, let’s get the terminology right. Where does my positive energy come from? I feel genuinely happy and satisfied with my life and therefore I am a positive person, passing on positive energy.
Maybe the question should rather be what makes me happy? Anyway, here are my ten reasons:
I found the man – my fiancée Alfonso. We have a beautiful, healthy and loving relationship. I find this vital, since your partner is someone with whom you share your life and spend most of your time. I could write an ode to him and praise how great partner, man and a father he is, but that’s for another post. I simply love spending time with him and seeing his cute face makes me happy every day.
2. Happy & healthy relations
This is related to relations with all other people – my family and friends. It may sound harsh but I learnt to cut ties with people who don’t bring any good energy into my life. I came to realize that spending time with certain friends e.g. from my childhood, high school or even university just because we share some memories didn’t actually make me happy. Apart from the memories, there is nothing that we have in common and we simply don’t share the same energy. I apply the quality over quantity principle here – I prefer to have fewer good friends than to have many acquaintances that I don’t really enjoy spending time with. I used to have it the other way around in the past, thinking that the more friends I have, the cooler I am, but believe me, it’s not cool to hang out with people that don’t actually make you happy.
3. Good food
My personal mantra is: healthy food = healthy body and healthy mind. As one Czech nutrition specialist says – I eat food. (1) Like real food. I have a balanced diet and I cook every day, so 99% of the meals that I eat are homemade. I hardly ever eat processed foods, which for me pose the biggest danger to our health. I always make sure that my meals are nutritious, have enough protein, carbs and fat, and they are rich in fiber. If possible, I choose local and seasonal products. Last but not least – variety is the key. I am not a vegetarian or vegan and I have no restrictions. I enjoy all food including cheese (omg, I love cheeses!), meat and cakes. Food is life!
4. Sustainable living
I believe that the way people live now is unsustainable and harmful for our planet. I decided to do my bit and behave sustainably and consume wisely and responsibly. I strongly believe that we have to start with ourselves and that every effort counts. I live with minimum waste and I am 100% positive that this lifestyle can make a change. The path that I chose is full of new challenges. I feel like I am constantly learning something new, by swaping the single-use by reusable, using natural products instead of the chemical ones etc. Accepting those challenges brings joy and freshness into my life. It brings me satisfaction and, most importantly, a feeling that I do something beneficial.
Although there’s a strong connection between sustainable lifestyle and minimalism, I treat them separately here. Sustainability is linked to my consumer behaviour, whereas minimalism is a general way of living. My mantra is: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” (2) Let me tell you it’s proved to be so true in my case! Our little family (me, Alfonso and our son David) doesn’t have many possessions. We don’t have a car, a mortgage for our own house/flat, a closet full of clothes nor a living room full of toys. But we have each other, our love and affection, work satisfaction and a simple joy of being. And that’s all that matters! I think once you reach this state of mind and understand that material things don’t make you happy in the longterm, you are halfway through life satisfaction.
I am a very (very!) active individual. I need to be moving basically all the time. I do yoga every morning, I go for a walk with our baby every day and I train calisthenics 4-5x a week. I love training outside – working out in the summer breeze is actually one of the biggest pleasure for me in this world! I do calisthenics because I need to have goals when I do something and I love to see the progress, even though it’s just one more push up or 5 seconds more in a handstand. I believe that the link here is healthy mind = healthy body (if I feel happy, my body feels good and performs well) and also vice versa – healthy body = healthy mind (working out makes me feel happy afterwards). This means we should always take care of both our body and mind.
7. Self awareness
By self awareness I mean realizing who I am. Let’s be honest, it might be difficult in today’s world of endless options to choose your path. It’s difficult to choose which style you want to have, which opinions, which type of career, which hobbies… . I’ve been there too. There was a time, when I had no idea what to study for my Master’s and what to do with my life in general. The inability to choose and decide made me feel quite desperate. I’m glad it’s over and that I know very well who I am and what I want to do now. I don’t have a recipe but judging from my experience, you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, in order to know what to focus on (and what to avoid). Knowing who I am and what is my purpose here makes me feel confident about myself and it brings a sense of tranquility into my life. So, who am I to myself? I am an energetic individual who wants to teach others to take care of the environment, be a responsible consumer and create less waste. I am a mother and wife with passion for calisthenics, cooking and healthy lifestyle.
8. Self development
I believe that an important part of being happy is to constantly learn. Learn more in your field of expertise, learn to know yourself and others, learn about what’s happening in the world, learn about something completely new… . I personally read the newspaper (usually the “opinion” part, not so much the news as such), I read books, I listen to podcasts, watch TED talks and other inspirational videos. Getting to know new things brings me new energy and makes me feel better – literally brighter!. 🙂 Self development means also trying out new things and challenging yourself. I am open to basically anything (although I didn’t use to be in the past – big mistake!) – new exercises in calisthenics, new activities, new travel destinations, new food, new people. Trying out new stuff broadens your horizons and – once again- brings a lot of new energy into your life.
9. Being thankful
I pray every night before going to sleep and thank God for everything that I have in my life and all the good things that happened to me that day. You don’t need to be religious or believe in God in order to be thankful (I am not a Christian btw, I just believe in a higher power). Take 5 minutes before you fall asleep and think about all the things you are grateful for. It can be seemingly insignificant stuff like the fact that you didn’t have to wait long at the post office, that the weather was nice or that your baby fell asleep after dinner and you could finish your article – ha! Don’t forget about the significant, yet not so obvious stuff like yours’ and your family’s health, because that’s a big reason to be thankful (provided that your are healthy). If you have a job, be thankful for it, because not everyone has a job, especially these days after the COVID crisis. The list could continue, but the main point is to realize what you have and how great it is, even though it might not be visible to you. Another favourite quote of mine sums it up perfectly: “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” (- Epictetus). In other words – do not focus on things you don’t have, but cherish the ones that you do have.
10. Little rituals
As much as I need new things and new challenges that break my routine, I also need some kind of a routine in my life. Having little rituals during the day means that there are things that I can look forward to. Daily rituals also serve as pillars and bring me a sense of security. What are my little pillars?
- Morning yoga. After I go to the toilet and wash my face, I always do a 15 minute morning flow, to get my body going. No day goes by without my morning yoga ritual, it’s already embedded in me.
- Breakfast. I eat an oatmeal for breakfast every day right after the yoga practise.
- Afternoon coffee. I like to have a cup of coffee (and a cake!) in the afternoon, doesn’t matter where (at home or in a coffeeshop). Not because of the caffein, but simply because I like it.
- Evening shower. I prefer to shower in the evening, to clean and refresh myself after whole day. I love that moment when I get into my pyjamas all nice and fragrant!
I hope this article inspires you and helps you to be more positive.
(1) Margit Slimáková: Velmi osobní kniha o zdraví
(2) The Minimalists. https://www.theminimalists.com/