When you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, it can be challenging to get out of negative thought patterns — no matter how much you would like to feel happier. If you are struggling with being overwhelmed or concerned about your mental health, contact a mental health professional at Integrative Psychiatry in Austin. The following article is not meant as medical advice  since your individualized care might include some of the following recommendations in addition to a more individualized treatment plan . These are, however, positive affirmations that can result in greater satisfaction in our lives.

Seek help!

It is difficult to seek help at times. In our culture, seeking help is seen as a sign of weakness. It goes against our ideals of individual competence. It goes against our desire to be all self-sustaining and not dependent on others. Often, society is trying to give us the message that our difficulties are a result of our thinking. This is a message that can result in shame. It can also foster behaviors that are targeted at hiding one’s problems and NOT seeking help. 


You are worth it to invest in!

Oftentimes we function in a scarcity mind-set. We feel that we might not be worthy of our own resources. We feel that those resources should go towards other things like buying gifts for other people or putting other’s needs before one’s own needs. It requires us to view ourselves as worth the investment of time, resources and finances. We want to be our best self when we show up for people we love.


Make a Conscious Effort To Be More Positive!

It is difficult to be positive at times. And this practice can feel way beyond our control. Sometimes we even have guilt that we cannot be “more positive”. The whole society is trying to give us the message that our difficulties are a result of our thinking. If we view the literature without shame, we realize that “being positive” is not a constant state. Rather it is a waxing and waning state. Even the most positive people can have negative thoughts. It is not being positive that is important. It is the conscious effort in trying to be more positive that is the key. Whether we achieve the result or not, is something that depends on how overwhelmed we are and how much practice we have of changing our thoughts.


Surround Yourself With Positive People

We are told that we are the average of the five people who we spend the most time with. That is why if we are working on cutting down our drinking then it is not a good idea to hang out with friends who drink. Similarly if we are trying to build a perspective that attempts at being more positive then it is crucial to be around people who are constantly trying to do the same thing. One giveaway that you might be hanging around the correct kind of people. There is minimal drama, minimal blame in those settings and discussions revolve around ideas more than about people.

Work on your prejudices

Prejudices are the biggest hurdle to our positivity. Prejudices are the thing that keep us disconnected from people who are not like us. Prejudices make us not be tolerant of other people’s views. The same prejudice comes up in various ways in our lives. Oftentimes these attitudes are not questioned. Oftentimes the negativity that they cause are also not questioned. 


Embodying positivity

Thinking positive thoughts is only half of the work that lies in front of us as we try embracing a positive lifestyle. Unless we embody the positive feeling, we will not “Feel” the thoughts that we are thinking. Thinking that we are safe vs. Feeling that we are safe are very different in how safe we perceive our self to be. Often there needs to be a combination of both. Positivity can only be present when we are in a state of vagal dominance. 


Vagus activating lifestyle

A lifestyle that focuses on ensuring that we spend more time in a state of regulation is crucial to remain positive. Our regulation is controlled by the vagus nerve. Vagus is a nerve that puts our body in a state of rest and digest as opposed to the sympathetic state of the body we utilize when we are under threat; the fight or flight system. Various maneuvers like singing, being in harmonious connection, humming, breathing, meditating can all help us activate our vagus. 


Focus on connection

Connection with another person can provide us with a feeling of acceptance and being loved. Meeting the need of belonging, being loved and valued are one of the most fundamental needs of a human being. These are one of the first needs of a child that help its nervous system calm down, when with its mother. These needs are necessary for a child to learn, develop and feel safe. Oftentimes it is within connection that we can “feel” that the universe is a comforting, compassionate space rather than a space filled with terrors. 

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that we can feel, and it has been shown to have a number of benefits for our mental and physical health. When we are grateful for what we have, it helps us to see all of the good in our lives and fills us with positive energy. Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is one of the best ways to start being more positive. It helps us focus on the positive, no matter how trivial or little. And at one time our brain is capable of feeling one predominant emotion. If we are focusing on positivity, negativity stops being the primary emotion governing our behaviors.

These are just a few of the things that all of us can be mindful of. By implementing even just a few of these tips, you’ll start to see a positive change in your attitude and your overall outlook on life. If you’re struggling to feel positive and are looking for professional help, schedule an appointment at Integrative Psychiatry in Austin today.