Five ways to stay positive (and creative)

Positivity is hard earnt (for most) and easily lost. We’ll scrimp and save from a handful of happy moments, but these rarely coalesce into a positive state of mind. And even when they do, holding on isn’t easy – plenty of what we see and do is poised to tear a positive mindset from our grip, derailing our gleeful train before it’s even left the station.  

And positivity (or lack thereof) also affects how creative we’re feeling. It’s not a direct correlation – but most creatives will agree that the further from the mire of negativity they find themselves, the more available inspiration is. Creativity can only be indirectly fuelled by emotion; active and direct misery suffocates the flame.

That said, here are a few useful tips for rejuvenating a positive mindset:

  1. Escape. Go somewhere. Go anywhere. Existence contemplated within four walls is bound to induce insanity – we need to escape to new pastures every now and then. And when we return, the grey will seem less so. Time away provides perspective not only on what we want in the future, but what we have now. Nature and the outdoors isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but the sensation is undeniably therapeutic – it allows us to feel free, a joy seldom experienced in modern life.
  2. Become somebody else. This is a different form of escape. This is escaping into another identity – throwing off the labels and identifiers that can make us vulnerable. You don’t have to volunteer, though volunteering is great. Experience the life of another, walk in their shoes and exercise your capacity for empathy. Seeing through a different set of eyes allows us to see ourselves anew.
  3. Reprogram your mindset. Add an additional clause to each negative thought – or any thought that examines an absence. When we look longingly at the life of another, whether it’s their house, car or family, we’re creating a feeling of absence within ourselves. Add a ‘but’ to each ‘I don’t have X’ to examine what you do have. There’s no pyramid; everybody’s life is open to the envy of another.
  4. Turn off the devices. The perniciousness of multiple noisy, shaking, flashing devices is impossible to overstate. If we’re not able to disconnect ourselves, our minds cannot be still. There’s always somebody hammering at our digital door, demanding our attention, imploring us to compare or imbibe the world’s chaos. 
  5. Quit living through contrast. As we’ve touched upon above, contrast and comparison can squash our positivity. Every person possesses a great deal of negative emotion, many of which is directed inwards, rarely shared with another. Unless we enjoy extremely close and open relationships with others, it’s easy to think that no one experiences the same problems we do. This leads to unhealthy comparison. Ostensible happiness contrived through a smiling Instagram photo or a display of wealth can make us feel we’re without. You don’t need to examine the details of these fictions; you just need to stop comparing, and understand everybody’s reality is different from the driver’s seat. Don’t be derailed by contrast.