Read how a positive mindset can make your life better.
Some days, I want to quit. I want to give up, walk away from everything and everyone, and revert to a vegetative state with nothing in my life but junk food and streaming video.
I have bipolar disorder, and depression is a recurring symptom. The darkness is so black some days that I worry I’ll drown from the weight of it.
When I’m really struggling, I scoff at every attempt to look at the bright side. There is no bright side during depression. No cloud has a silver lining. There’s no lesson to be learned.
Those times when I’m feeling my worst, any attempt to cheer me up is a dangerous game.
You tell me to smile or “buck up” and I’ll fantasize about tossing you headfirst through the nearest window. I don’t want to be grateful, think of the ways I’m blessed, or be told the sun will rise again.
You can take your sunshine and shove it… well, you know.
This may sound hypocritical, especially since I am the man behind the 30 Days of Positivity Email Course. I publish three posts every week about how to stay positive and look for the good things in life.
But if positivity won’t cure you, what’s the point?
I’m happy to tell you, but first, let’s clear away a common misconception.
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A positive mindset isn’t a cure
People love to debate toxic positivity on social media sites. Much of the conversation is damaging and often downright triggering.
The problem is some individuals believe pursuing a positive mindset will cure anything. I’ve got news for you, positivity will never cure your anxiety, depression, or mental illness. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
If you’re imagining that thinking about good things will take away all the darkness from your world, you’re going to be painfully disappointed. If you don’t have a mental illness or have never experienced clinical depression, you’ll never understand how soul crushing it is.
Positivity won’t cure you, but it’s worth pursuing. I believe so strongly in this that I dedicate 15 hours every week to creating positive content. Here’s why.
Your outlook matters
When you wake up in the morning, you have two choices: dread your day or look forward to it. The choice is simple, but choosing wisely is tough.
Mental illnesses often cause depression and anxiety. The more intense the cycle, the harder it is to stay positive.
Taking the time to look for the good in your world makes it easier. For example, is there a loyal partner or pet lying next to you? Do you have a comfortable home? Is there food in your refrigerator and clothes to wear? All of these things are reasons to be grateful, to see the good in your world.
But there’s more.
Your health improves
Another reason to strive for positivity is because it’s good for you. Studies have shown a positive mindset helps lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and lessen depression.
With bipolar disorder, the cards are already stacked against you. People with bipolar often have a shorter lifespan, so you need all the help you can get.
Most of us take medication to keep ourselves stable. Pursuing a positive mindset is an easy way to improve your health.
Does it really work?
Positivity helps you thrive
A few weeks ago, things got unusually busy for this time of year. The extra work made me more tired and gave me less time at home.
Even though I know how important it is, I skipped my daily journaling and gratitude practice. The impact was like Wiley Coyote running into a stone wall. Without looking for the good in my world, things quickly turned bleak.
It’s been 30 years since I found out I have bipolar disorder. Mindset has been one of the most vital aspects of my stability.
When I stay focused on the good in my life, I’m less likely to get lost in the weeds. The darkness still comes, but it’s never as hopeless as it was before.
These last few weeks, the reality of my dad’s mortality has created lots of intense feelings. The habit of looking for the positive in every day has helped me appreciate the time I have with him no matter how hard the work in caring for him.
Positivity will never cure you, but it makes life better. Take some time today to appreciate all the good in your life. When you look for the positive, you’ll find more than you think. So never stop looking.
Until next time, keep fighting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Can positivity cure my mental illness?
No, positivity can’t cure mental illness. It’s a tool that can help improve your mood, but it should be used alongside other treatments like medication and therapy.
Q2: Why should I pursue positivity if it cannot cure me?
Even though positivity can’t cure mental illness, it can contribute to an improved outlook on life, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and help one cope better with their condition.
Q3: Is there a downside to maintaining a positive mindset?
The downside arises when one experiences ‘toxic positivity’ – dismissing or invalidating genuine feelings of pain, despair, or hardship. It’s crucial to acknowledge these feelings and seek appropriate help when needed.
Q4: What do you mean by ‘looking for the good in your world’?
In the context of this post, it refers to cultivating gratitude by recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects and experiences in your life.
Q5: Can you give examples of how positivity helps with bipolar disorder?
Positivity can help individuals with bipolar disorder by reducing the intensity of depressive phases, improving overall outlook, and providing a mental buffer against the hardships associated with the condition. However, it should not replace prescribed medication or therapy.
Q6: How can I start incorporating positivity into my life?
Start with small steps, such as maintaining a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness, or seeking out positive affirmations. The Speaking Bipolar Positivity Club publishes three posts a week to help you keep the right mindset. Remember, it’s okay not to feel positive all the time. Authenticity is key.