Yes, you CAN look at the bright side. (Really, you can.)
At a friend’s wedding recently, I learned that one of the bride’s closest friends refused to attend the bachelorette party because going dancing wasn’t her thing.
She was part of a very small group carefully selected to celebrate with her dearest friend — the bride to be. If there was ever a time to set aside the “Debbie Downer” attitude, this was it. Sometimes we all need to put on our happy face, and as they say, and fake it until you make it.
Are you tired of being the single “Debbie Downer” of your group, or do you know one that needs a little help? Did you know this type of “downer” behavior affects your health, your attractiveness and your life as a whole?
If you or someone you know has fallen into the habit of complaining or continuously seeing the glass as half empty, here are 10 ways for you to make a change:
1. Make a conscious decision to stop
This is the perfect time of year to stop, breathe and just decide you will no longer face life as “Debbie Downer.” Lean into this new choice and accept that you don’t have to know how you are going to do it right away – celebrate having the courage to make such a life changing decision.
Let the “I am upbeat and positive” become your mantra and start yourself on a good note.
2. Pick a symbol to help remind you
You’ve probably heard about wearing a rubber band on your wrist as a reminder you’ve committed to changing something. Yes to the idea — NO to the rubber bands.
Go into your jewelry stash and chose something you don’t wear, like a bracelet, necklace or a ring. Wear it each day as your personal "upbeat" reminder with yourself.
3. Tell someone you trust and ask for their support
Sharing an important decision with others makes it more real. Keeping secret your commitment to a new persona gives you too easy of an "out" anytime things get hard.
Tell your closest friends and let them know you’d appreciate their support. Show them your reminder object and encourage them to mention it if you fall back into “Debbie Downer” mode. This might be a good time to ask any fellow “Debbie Downers” if they’d like to join in on the challenge.
4. Practice making your thoughts more positive
The late, spiritual self-help guru, Wayne Dyer, wrote a book titled, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. You can begin this process for yourself right now. Anytime you have a negative thought, just stop and take a minute to re-frame it to something more positive.
For example: “I’m so disappointed and miserable facing another holiday season being single.” Feel the frustration only for a brief moment and then instead, pivot. Tell yourself, “I’m choosing to switch my attitude to one of gratitude for all I do have right now in this moment.”
Think of happy things so you can create a happier and healthier outlook on life.
5. Cut yourself some slack
Yes, you're allowed to feel upset and act out on your misery if you want to. After all, you’ve probably tried everything you could think, yet still your particular situation remains unchanged.
Go ahead and gave yourself a mini pity party, then STOP. Just stop thinking about it and resume your new attitude of happiness and gratitude. No judgment allowed.
In Huffington Post’s, Small Ways to Make Big Changes, author Jen Glantz recommends starting each day with gratitude and giving someone a compliment. This obviously starts the other person off on a good note, but it also puts you in the positive frame of mind you need for your own happiness and success.
6. Do something brand new
Do something different — something you don't NORMALLY do on an average day. Learn to enjoy yourself and love what you do. Doing this will help get you out of your "Debbie Downer" funk.
7. Take small steps toward a more positive attitude
In a recent Forbes magazine article, a Harvard University study found three things the happiest people have in common — they take care of themselves (physically, emotionally, and financially), they're happy with what they do for a living and they spend time strengthening their closest relationships.
Now that you've committed to stopping this “Debbie Downer” routine, your core decision should be supported by a number of smaller daily decisions.
When I decided to give up being pissed off about my first marriage, I committed to consistently getting on the treadmill or walking outside regardless of how I felt. Daily exercise helped me to let go of my anger faster.
8. Celebrate your successes
No need to make celebrations big or expensive, but they do need to occur on a regular basis. Instead of groaning on about an undesirable gift, either give loved ones a list (or at least a few good hints), or just go and buy the gift for yourself.
In fact, every time you're tempted to act like a scrooge and you don’t succumb, reward yourself. Run yourself a hot bubble bath, grab a single rose (or a dozen), or simply read a new book. Rewards make challenging changes easier and set you on the right track.
9. Let go of jealousy
I realize you’ve been frustrated by life circumstances, or you wouldn’t have become a “Debbie Downer” in the first place. If it’s because you’re still single despite all your best efforts, I have a new challenge for you:
For the next 30 days, every time you see a happy couple, smile and say to yourself, “THAT is for me!” Allow yourself to feel happy that such couples exist and make yourself realize that happiness is on its way for you as well.
You can use this new way of thinking about anything — just stop envying of other's good fortune. Appreciate what you desire every time you see it and you’ll be that much closer to realizing your dreams.
10. Help someone else overcome their "Debbie Downer" problem
Share your successes with other friends or family that might be caught up in their own "Debbie Downer" cycle. They may be ready for the change just as you were. If they join you, you’ll know you helped change someone’s life for the better, but if they aren't interested, don’t let them derail your progress. Keep your eyes focused on the prize.