Nobody feels positive all of the time, even the most zen, smiley wellness gurus have their down days and there’s nothing wrong with that – sadness is just one part of the rainbow of emotions that form the human experience. Without days when we are feeling less than top notch, we’d never know when we are happy. But have you noticed that you have been feeling more negative than usual recently? If so, you’re not alone, researchers have found that depression, anxiety and even aggression rates can soar in the spring – which they believe is related to chronic inflammation from increased pollen counts.
The answer to that would be to try and minimise inflammation in your body as much as possible. We know that certain foods are anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a wonder when it comes to fighting inflammation and there’s no upper limit to how much you can take each day. You can drink turmeric in shots, add it to smoothies, and throw it into pretty much every meal you eat.
Magnesium is a mineral which people are often low on in the summer months, because we tend to sweat it out. You can have epsom salt baths before you go to bed, which will relax you as well as boosting your magnesium levels, plus you can drink it in mineral water, or eat magnesium packed foods, which include tuna, spinach, broccoli, chard, kefir and almonds.
And, avoiding food which causes inflammation, such as refined sugar, fried foods, saturated fats, refined flour, artificial additives, as well as anything with trans fats (frozen pizzas, doughnuts, basically pre-packaged food that comes from a factory) and instead opting for lovely, fresh seasonal produce will also help.
With the inflammation monster tamed, what else can you do to stay feeling positive?
Watch the sun rise or set each day: There’s something magical about taking time out of a busy week to watch the sun rise or set. Just sitting and watching is a form of mindfulness, but it also helps bring problems and stresses into perspective. The sun will be rising and setting long after we are all gone, but it’s also a reminder that each day is a fresh chance to start all over again. It’s best to just sit and watch the sky, while letting your thoughts wonder, or you can mentally list all the things in your life that you’re happy you have.
Do one thing each day that’s just for you and you alone: All of us are overloaded, with too much to think about and do. Make a point of doing something that’s just for you each day. Buy yourself flowers, put on a deep cleansing face mask, watch your favourite feel good movie from the ’90s. It doesn’t have to be the same thing each day, but take time out to do something for yourself that reminds you how special you are.
Leave your comfort zone: It’s really exciting and invigorating to leave your comfort zone and do something that scares and challenges you. Book a sky dive, or a hot air balloon trip, or a weekend somewhere you’ve always wanted to go but haven’t ever got around to doing. It will remind you how good it is to feel truly alive, and that there’s more to life than the daily grind. Go on an adventure.
Keep a gratitude diary: Buy a really ornate journal and every evening before bed jot down all the positive things that happened that day that you’re thankful for. The stranger who stopped at the traffic lights and smiled at you so you could cross the street, your good health, your eyes working – it’s actually the little things that make life happier when you truly stop to take a moment to appreciate them.
Stay off social media: Facebook and Instagram are always packed with images that paint a very tiny (and of course heavily edited and curated) portrait of the user’s life. There’s nothing worse than seeing photos of blue skies and sea if you can barely afford to pay your electricity bill. Just remember we are all battling demons in some shape or form, it’s just you probably don’t know about other people’s and if you did you’d never begrudge them their moments of joy. But, if you’re sitting there seething because someone you know is in the Maldives and you’re not, or arguing with a distant cousin about politics and feeling ragey instead of it being a positive experience – just delete the apps from your phone for a few days and detox from it all. It’s really refreshing when you’re talking to a friend over coffee and they say, ‘didn’t you see on Facebook that I did X, Y and Z’ and you say that actually you didn’t and instead have a real life catch up. There’s that meme which says ‘nobody’s life is as perfect as their Instagram feed’ and several former influencers have come forward and admitted in recent interviews that they were actually miserable when they were spending hours making those picture perfect smoothie bowl photos. It’s all nonsense, so switch off, light a scented candle and read a good book instead if it’s getting you down.
Stay hydrated and try to go to bed at a decent hour each night, as well as doing some exercise, and if you’re really struggling to stay positive, there’s a whole wealth of expert therapists who you can talk to via Skype, or in person. Therapy can be a tool that’s as essential for great health as getting regular dental check ups and there’s something quite decadent about getting to talk about yourself for an entire hour each week about the things you don’t want to discuss with your friends.