MAXimizing Positivity

Hey everyone, Max here. I just thought that I would share a “guide” of sorts on how to spice up your outlook on life with positivity. As the Michigan weather continues to fluctuate, sometimes dipping far into frigid numbers, I think it is important to reframe your thought process and ensure that you are making the most, or “maximizing” what you get out of each and every day! Some of the tips are things that I already do, some are based on what I have heard, and some are things that I am actively trying to do more, so I think that makes this all the more worthwhile to share. 

Something I am inclined to partake in frequently when the cold seems to be getting old is thinking about things that invoke feelings of warmth and the opposite of the current weather. Sometimes I will make a list of things and places that remind me of summer, listen to a summer playlist, look at pictures of past vacations, or listen to, like, wave sounds on YouTube? I find that organizing and reflecting on all of the different experiences that you associate with warmer weather helps to increase anticipation and excitement for the changing of the seasons.

Conversely, it doesn’t always work for me to try to “think” the winter away. I think sometimes Michiganders can get so caught up in the dread of the season and lose sight of its beauty. 
Snow, hail, rain, slush, sludge, and dead trees can actually be quite wonderful things if you reframe your mindset. A way that helps me appreciate my surroundings is to make time to take a walk, take deep breaths, and try to instill a personal admiration for winter that is separate from the disdain that has become the norm (Obviously, I don’t do this in 10 inches of snow and -18 degrees, but you get my point). Also, finding poetry and literature that romanticizes the winter is a sure way to appreciate it while it is here (see: “White-Eyes” by Mary Oliver, or “googling poems about winter being awesome”)

I’ve said about all I can say involving the weather so now I’d like to stray from that topic. It is frequent that no matter what the month or temperature is, you can still find yourself feeling low or generally unenthused with life. I’ve been there, and I’m sure everyone has. Something that I think helps is being more attentive, and in turn, putting down the phone. I’ve noticed lately that it is easy to get caught up in an endless stream of refreshing app after app, and I think the pressure of social media can very much detract value from your surroundings. I’ve been talking with friends, walking through campus, sitting in class, or even attending a concert and simultaneously (& mindlessly) on my phone. I noticed that an effect of this is retaining less valuable information about a day and making my daily life seem more mundane than it could be. As a result, I encourage a mindful decrease in the use of technology, and a increase in reflection and attention to detail. I think that using a journal of some kind and simply reflecting on the events of a day is imperative to “maximizing” the value you gain from it. I also think it is important to intentionally give attention to your surroundings, such as a conversation with a friend, a walk to class, or the weather (which I’m bringing up yet again). The point I am trying to make is that we often see these things as mundane or routine, but when reframed as valuable portions of a day, we can obtain more positive thoughts from them. Similarly stated, I mean just finding pleasure in the little things. And furthermore, there are countless ways to find positivity that are extremely simple. To name a few for me: checking in on a friend, taking a walk, breathing (super important), texting my mom, making lists, listening to a favorite song, smiling at a stranger, calling grandparents, or wearing a favorite outfit. I think that finding these things and utilizing them is important for the maximum amount of positive thoughts and optimism.

I’m really not sure how long I should make this but another way that helps with increasing optimistic thought is taking time to evaluate how you think about aspects of your life. When I am dreading schoolwork, I try to think that at one point all that I wanted was to go to college. Additionally, when I dislike walking to class, I think of how badly I would want to healthily walk to class if I had a sprained ankle. It sounds cliché, but I think there is worth to the advice of being grateful for the everyday aspects of your life and I think that consistently reflecting on things like that is a wonderful way to stay positive. But anyway, I hope that reading this helped in some manner, I think that sharing paths to being happy is a wholesome thing, and I’m glad that I was able ways in which I’m going to Max-imize my March (the joke is that my name is Max). This has been fun, and I encourage you to share the ways that you find optimism with everyone you meet, even make your own blog post!