3 Ways I’m Encouraging a Positive Spirit

I’ve been feeling very pessimistic lately. I’ve been angry and depressed. I had a few days of being cranky on twitter while browsing blogs. For some reason I’ve felt this need to cry for the past week or two, but I can’t seem to do it. I don’t even have to feel sad about anything particular; I just get this feeling like a good cry is called for, but it doesn’t come out. And the smallest annoyances make me want to start screaming incoherently: no words, just noise.

Certainly there have been plenty of things exacerbating these feelings (creeping on Facebook, struggling with my novel, feeling lonely), but as much as I could write up a whole list of things to blame, the real root of the problem is me. I’ve been trying to come up with ways to make myself feel better, both small and large, and I wanted to share my favorites. There are some tried and true methods and some that I haven’t done but which seem promising.
08.07.13 / recently

  • Take a long bubble bath. This one is a good temporary fix, and if I do it before bed, it’s perfect for helping fall asleep. I go into the bathroom with zines or a book and my phone, set them beside the bath, and start filling the tub. Even in the summer my baths end up being warm because cold, or even cool, bubble baths just don’t seem right. I make sure to add plenty of bubbles (currently strawberry-scented Hello Kitty) and let them foam up a bunch so I have lots of backup bubbles when I climb in and pop a lot of them. I get in and stay in as long as I need to, listening to Pandora on my phone and reading. – “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” / Sylvia Plath
  • Get out of the house. I don’t have to go far. Even going out on the lawn with a blanket and a bag full of assorted items to keep me occupied can be good enough. In a shady corner of the lawn, I’ll spread out the blanket, settle down, and do much the same thing as I would in the bath: read and listen to Pandora. Sometimes I’ll ride my bike and go farther than just outside the house, though since we’ve moved I’ve been more hesitant for some reason. One goal is to start taking more walks and using my film camera. – “I have a room all to myself; it is nature.” / Henry David Thoreau
  • Get creative. This can be anything. This can be baking, writing, planning projects, whatever I come up with. And I need to make sure I don’t force boundaries on myself; I work on what strikes me, not what I feel like I “should” be doing. On days I just can’t seem to write any of my book, rather than be too hard on myself, I just try to do something else worthwhile. Lately, I’ve been back to crocheting, working on Twinkie Chan’s cupcake hat while I watch Netflix. I may try to turn the TV off for this more often, though, and try working with music instead. My favorite part about this idea is that it always helps me be both positive and productive. – “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” / Maya Angelou

I feel like all of these things feed my soul (to get a little spiritual on you) better than what I’ve been doing lately: binge-watching TV shows and wasting far too much time mindlessly browsing the vast wasteland of the internet. I’ve already done a respectable job of escaping tumblr for the most part.

Of course, coming up with a way to feel better is only half the battle; after finding ideas, I need to actually implement them. Another struggle I’ve been facing lately is getting motivated. It took me weeks to go sit on the lawn by myself. I find it far easier to lie on the couch, occasionally pushing “play” on Netflix, and browsing Etsy than to get out supplies (and inspiration) for any project.

Some other quick ideas I have in mind: carry an ametrine, take a nap, play with the cat, eat a bunch of watermelon, do a Tarot spread, turn on the living room fairy lights, clean the house, listen to silly pop music, make a gratitude list.

Do you have any other suggestions for getting positive? What are your suggestions for finding motivation to start?


9 thoughts on “3 Ways I’m Encouraging a Positive Spirit

  1. First off, this is important, *you’re* not *the* problem. Now, speaking from experience: There are things that go on in our heads but it’s not like you’re causing yourself to feel this way directly. It takes a whole heck of a lot to learn how to think positively (I’m still in that process) and I’m sure there’s lots to read about that kind of thing & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy if you want to. It could help to think about one good thing in that moment and really focus on it. Nothing’s perfect either. We have to learn to let off that pressure sometimes. I think what you’re doing to help yourself is great. I do similar things, definitely taking time for myself to do creative things has been the biggest help. Do you keep a journal? Do you write letters? Do you read lots of other books? Do you talk to others when you feel down? Congratulate yourself every time you do all those things, too! Because yay! I think it’s really great that you can address what’s making you feel uncomfortable and are thinking of ways around it. That’s a *huge* step. It sounds like you’re on a good path, so keep it up!

    • That’s true: I’m personally not the problem. I think what I meant is just that I can’t blame everyone/thing else, because I’m the only one who can help myself (in whatever ways I choose). I love the idea of congratulating myself because I really don’t do that enough. I don’t acknowledge my accomplishments half as much as my disappointments. I think I’m going to write down a lot of your comments in my journal so I can easily remind myself. Thanks!

      • Yay! Yeah, I’ve just gone a long time telling myself the same things. A counsellor once told me I emotionally abuse myself from being so negative, which shook me up! I definitely agree we are the only ones who can help ourselves. Yay you!

  2. I find myself in the position too, especially since I don’t work anymore and devote all of my time to taking care of Amelia. Sometimes I forget to take care of myself. I’ve had a hard time recently because the arthritis in my hands has been really bad. So I’ve been reading a lot. I love all your suggestions! I’m a big bubble bath person (I have that same HK bubble bath)! I love retail therapy, even if I don’t have money to buy something, I like looking. I love hitting up Barnes for a coffee and cupcake or the thrift store. It’s hard for me to get out with a little one but watching cute cartoons and dancing around with Amelia helps too. I have a hard time with motivating myself, but sometimes I have to tell myself that it won’t get done if I don’t do it, so just stop looking on Pinterest and do it now! Lol

  3. These are some great ideas; so sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling meh lately. It’s really tough to get out of a slump, no matter what the cause. Many more bubbles baths and positive thoughts being sent your way!

  4. ❤ For me, getting positive will involve cuddling Jen, cuddling the kitties and playing with our babies in general, a good long shower with lots of yummy bubble bath, applying extra yummy lotion everywhere (I have a Vanilla Cupcake one, so good!) Browsing Etsy, Tumblr and deviantART inspire me so much and make me feel positive, as do inspirational New Age bloggers' posts, a good drink to relax with (in the day, tea and at night, Absinthe, a margarita or vodka mixed with something fruity), writing in my grimoire, sleeping in and playing in our tent, reading Witch School and learning more about my path, indulging in My Little Pony, crashing with a good TV series or movie, listening to my favorite music (the list is so, so long!) and hopping on a video game. Going outside in the backyard, or biking, is also a huge positivity boost, as is learning about my favorite subjects. Viking history, astronomy, deities, etc.

    For me, I definitely don't need to disconnect from technology to feel positive and inspired, if anything, it's the opposite. However, sometimes, like in the tent… it's bliss. Jen and I want to literally live in a tent, 24/7 365, though we'd have a solar panel for internet and such, but yeah. ♥ Nature is fabulous without technology too, though I do love bringing our phone out with me for picture taking!

  5. i’ve definitely fallen into a “woe is me” rut before and had to claw my way out. i’m a really positive person though, so it doesn’t tend to happen too often. the things that usually help me overcome it the most are

    1) think about what i was doing 1 year ago. this always shines light on how far i’ve come with different goals, how great it is that i’m working a job i love now and not getting treated like shit daily, and all the new skills/projects/things i’ve learned. i guess always learning + generally being grateful is at the core of this exercise.

    2) Getting off the comparison train. This mostly involves not reading blogs or following people that make me feel bad about myself instead of better. If I don’t feel inspired by someone on the internet I started to unfollow, unsubscribe, or hide them. I’ve decided there’s no room for other people’s shaming/negativity in my life. So yeah, getting off the damn internet lately has made me a happier person (imagine that).

    3) Make stuff! You’re right— baking, creating, listing things, reading— these are all things that make me feel better. I always tell myself that when I look back on my life i’m probably never going to say “damn I wish I watched more television” but more likely: I wish that I had made more stuff, kept in touch with certain people, and eaten even more food 😉

    I hope you feel better soon. It always hard to find mental balance + clarity day to day!

  6. Pingback: It’s Friday; I’m in Love #6 | Sonya Cheney

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