Between school stress, family obligations, annoyances from your part-time job, and friend drama, it’s no wonder that you have stress sometimes. In some cases, this stress, particularly if it’s made worse by problems like divorcing parents, depression, an anxiety disorder, or a variety of other factors that are difficult to go through, can lead to a pessimistic attitude. If you tend to see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full, read on to find out how to develop a positive outlook on life.
Creating a Positive Outlook
One of the best ways to develop a positive outlook is to be thankful for what you have. It might sound trite, but focusing on what you do have will help you not put as much effort and energy into stressing out about what you don’t have. It might help to keep a gratitude journal, which is simply a journal where you record things that you are grateful for. They might be tangible items, like your car or a new pair of jeans, or they might be intangible things like the love and support of your parents.
Volunteer to Help Others
Helping others who are not as fortunate as you are is another great way to develop a pair of rose-colored glasses. Stress about schoolwork or an argument with a friend might pale in comparison to the troubles of the homeless who come to the soup kitchen you volunteer at. There are many volunteer opportunities available, so think about what you like to do and who you might want to help, whether that’s young children, the elderly, the homeless, dogs in an animal shelter, or people with special needs.
Get Enough Sleep
Everything looks better after you get a good night’s sleep. Most teens are sleep-deprived. Did you know that adolescents need a little over nine hours of sleep each night? If you aren’t getting that much, try going to bed earlier at night so you can get in your Zs before your alarm goes off in the morning. In the summer, you can sleep in, but it’s still better to get to bed at a reasonable time most nights.
Get Enough Exercise
Did you know that getting some exercise each day can boost your mood and is even an effective treatment for mild depression? Aim for 60 minutes per day. You can walk, swim, do chores like mopping or vacuuming, take an exercise class, join a sport, go dancing, or just about anything else you can think of!
Plant a Garden
Getting your hands dirty in a garden might be just what the doctor ordered to give a positive outlook. There’s something about spending time in the sun and fresh air while growing your own flowers or vegetables that can make everything seem a bit sunnier. Part of it is likely the sun; your body synthesizes vitamin D in response to the rays of the sun, and vitamin D can help stave off depression and make you feel better. The plants themselves can also put you in a better mood, so be sure you pick out varieties you like!
Take Up a Hobby
If your days are filled with either boredom or too much time darting from one obligation to another, it’s easy to feel a bit down in the dumps. Choosing a hobby can give you something to look forward to every day, which can brighten your mood when you’re bored or overwhelmed. Even a few minutes working on your hobby can help you feel better about life in general.
Make Time for Your Friends
It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of negativity when you’re feeling lonely. This is especially true in the summer, where you don’t have the routine of going to school each day. Make sure you make some time to spend with your friends. You might arrange to meet at a bowling alley or a shopping mall, have a movie marathon at your house or the house of a friend, or ask a parent to take you and a few friends to a nearby city. Whatever you do, it will be fun and will make you have a positive outlook!
Spend Time With Your Family
Sometimes it can seem like you only see your family members in passing. You are busy with your activities and they are busy with theirs. Talk to your parents and siblings about how you can get more connected. Maybe eating dinner together a few nights per week or having a family game night a few times per month will help you feel closer to your family members and create a positive outlook on your family relations.
Get a Pet
Spending time with a pet can help you feel more relaxed and have a more positive outlook about the things going on in your life. Your pet will depend on you to feed and take care of him and you will be able to confide in your furry (or scaly or feathery) friend without worrying about being betrayed. If you already have a pet, try taking more responsibility for his care, if you’re not already doing so. If not, talk to your parents about possibly adding a non-human member to the family.
Seek Help If Needed
If you’re feeling down and sad a lot of the time or the feeling lasts for two weeks or longer, it is time to seek help. You might have depression, which can be serious for some people. Make an appointment with your doctor, who might refer you to a mental health specialist or a counselor. Remember, there’s no shame in reaching out for help. Talk to your parents about how you are feeling and ask them to help you get the assistance you need to start feeling better and enjoying life.
Learning to have a more positive outlook is something that takes practice, and for some people, it takes counseling or even medication. You’ll find that it’s worth the effort, though, because you’ll turn into an adult who can find the silver lining in just about any situation. Follow the steps above to develop a more positive outlook on life and enjoy your sunnier disposition!