how to find the good at work

Find-the-Good-at-Work


Today's post is part of Find the Good February, a month dedicated to finding the good in your life (and in yourself!). Each week features a unique theme, and this week's theme is WORK. 

 

Next week marks Positively Present's SEVENTH year anniversary! It's crazy to me that so much time has passed since I first launched the site, and even crazier that it went from a hobby (that I didn't even talk about...) to a full-time career! I love what I do, and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue work that feels meaningful to me. That being said, it's still work. There are amazing, exciting days (like this one) and there are days I'd rather just stay in bed rather than tackle the less-than-fun tasks (taxes, I'm looking at you!). 

Whether you love what you do or you dread going to work each weekday, for most of us, work is a part of life -- and a part where we spend the majority of our time. (Especially if you work for yourself -- the line between work and life is always blending.) If work is where we spend the most time, shouldn't we make an effort to make the most of it? 

I know, I know -- it's so much easier said than done, especially if you don't love what you do. But, since it's Find the Good February, I think it's only right that we make an effort to find the good at work and make the most of the 9-to-5 grind. Here are some ideas for finding (or creating!) good things at work. 

 

SMILE AT PEOPLE. 

This might sound like a small thing, but smiling can make a big difference in your workday. Even if you don't feel smile-y, give it a try anyway. Smiling makes others happier, and it's even been shown to make you feel happier too! 

DISCUSS NON-WORK TOPICS. 

If you don't love your coworkers, you might not be thrilled at the idea of chatting with them any longer than necessary, but a little light-hearted conversation can make your day (and theirs) more enjoyable and interesting. 

GO OUTSIDE. 

Most of us are stuck inside for most of the day at our jobs, which can make them a bit draining. Make an effort to go outside for at least a short while every day and appreciate whatever nature you can find. 

WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU DO. 

I've started writing down everything I accomplish in a day and it makes me feel so much more fulfilled. You'd be really surprised by all you get done every day, and a "done" list is much more satisfying than a "to-do" list. 

This is seriously one of the BEST ways to find the good in your workday so I've created some PDFs that you can download and print to keep track of all you're getting done. 

Things-I-Did-Colordownload the COLOR version here

 

Things-I-Did
download the BLACK & WHITE version here


TAKE DEEP BREATHS. 

Work can be super stressful (even when you love your job), but no matter where you are or what you're doing, you have the power to control your mind and how you view a situation. Stay centered by taking deep breaths when you feel stressed. 


REFLECT ON YOUR SKILLS. 

Someone is paying you to do what you do, which is pretty awesome. A great way to find the good at work is to remind yourself of your skills. No matter how great or small, you're skilled at what you do. Be proud of that! 


MAKE WORK A HAPPIER PLACE.

If you feel happier at work, it'll be much easier to find the good around you. I recently wrote an article for LiveHappy, "5 Tips to Make Work Your Happy Place," and it's filled with ideas for creating a more positive work environment.  

 

Regardless of how you feel about your job, you have the power to cultivate positive, empowered thoughts about your work. Having worked at quite a few jobs I hated, I know how hard this can be sometimes, but the more you seek out the good and focus on that, the more you'll see of it. As the old saying goes, "You'll find what you look for." If you keep looking for ways that work sucks, you'll find all of the negatives. But if you focus on the good things about work -- i.e., you get paid to do it, there are some aspects you enjoy, you have a few nice coworkers, etc. -- you'll find more and more good things. And if you really can't find anything good about where you are, now is the time to make a change and find a job that you enjoy! 

  

 

Loving-Your-Self

Finding the good in the world around you is a form of self-love. Want to empower yourself with some more serious self-love and acceptance? Start loving yourself (or increase the love you already have for yourself!) with the inspiration and motivation found in Loving Your Self: An Empowering Workbook for Increasing Self-LoveFilled with uplifting encouragement, thought-provoking questions, and engaging exercises, Loving Your Self is an essential tool for mastering the art of self-love. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : february 5, 2016

Love anyway

 

Quote-of-the-week

"Love is always bestowed as a gift -- 
freely, willingly and without expectation.
We don't love to be loved; we love to love."

Leo Buscaglia

 

Links-I-Love   

Find the Good February : read this + join in! 

Awake App : the best mindfulness alarm app I've seen

Comfortably Numb : why are we so afraid to feel?

5 Ways to Set Personal Boundaries : so important to have these

Overwhelmed? : read this open letter to the overwhelmed

How to Love Mindfully : Thich Nhat Hanh's wise words

Holding on to Unrequited Love : here's why it's time to stop

Baggage Claim : my new favorite site for relationship advice

Valentine's Day Adventures : some cool v-day ideas here

Dear Wild Sister : this letter-writing concept is wonderful

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Wood" — Rostam
"Keeping Your Head Up" — Birdy
"Lose It" — Oh Wonder
"Pillowtalk" — Zayn
"Falling" — Opia
"Westside"— Sibling
"Exes" — Bloc Party
"Heroes" — Mackenzie Johnson
"Madness" — Lucius
"We Don't Talk Anymore" — Charlie Puth

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

After Alice
Gregory Maguire

Start Where You Are:
A Journal for Self-Exploration
Meera Lee Patel

Tiny Buddha's 365 Love Challenges
Lori Deschene

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


announcing... find the good february!

Find-the-Good-February

 

Today is the first day of Find the Good February: a month dedicated entirely to finding the good all around (and within) you! Read on for more details and info on this week's theme: finding the good ONLINE ... 

 

WHAT'S FIND THE GOOD FEBRUARY? 

I'll be honest: I've been dreading February for months. It's so silly, but the thought of a valentine-less Valentine's Day made me feel really down. Last month, I was feeling bummed (due to the post-holidays blues) and not at all looking forward to the cold and (romantic) love-less February so, instead of wallowing, I decided I needed to change my attitude big time. (As my mom used to always tell me when I was a kid, I was in need of an "attitude adjustment!")

The first thought that popped into my mind was to create a self-love campaign (based on some of the content in my e-books Finding Your Self and Loving Your Self), and I was initially really excited about this idea because, as you know, I believe self-love is absolutely vital. (It is, after all, the foundation for all of your relationships!) But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to focus on something even broader than self-love -- and that's when I got the idea for Find the Good February! 

I made the decision to dedicate the entire 29 days of February to focusing on finding the good in life -- online, at work, in my relationships, in myself, etc. Because, honestly, the best thing to do when you're having a hard time is to focus on being grateful for what's going right (instead of focusing on what's going wrong). So that's what Find the Good February is all about!

Get ready for a month of blog posts, Instagram goodness, and more -- dedicated entirely to finding the good in life. Each week will feature a different theme around the topic of finding the good, and this week's theme is all about finding the good ONLINE! 

 

FIND THE GOOD... ONLINE!

If you haven't noticed, there's a lot of negativity going on in the world, and a ton of it takes place online. There's bullying and negative comments and all kinds of hostility (especially when it comes to the upcoming presidential elections here in the US). It can be disheartening at times, but this week in Find the Good February, we're going to focus on two things (1) all of the wonderfully positive content online, and (2) celebrating and spreading positive content as much as we can! 

This week, I encourage you to...

  1. FIND POSITIVE CONTENT. 

    I know it's hard to find sometimes, but it's out there. There are people all over the world writing and creating and sharing uplifting content. It's so amazing that we can all be connected online in so many ways and that we have the power to create and share things with others. This week, seek out positive online content. Try not to click on anything that promotes negativity, and, instead, focus on the things online that bring positivity, encouragement, and joy into the world. 

  2. THANK THE CREATOR. 

    The best thing you can do when you discover positive content online is tell the person who created it how much you like it. Those who create and share online content would love know that you enjoyed an article, painting, photograph, meme, tweet, etc. Drop the creator a quick email (or leave a comment on his/her site) to let him or her know how much you enjoyed what s/he created. Even if this person is a big-time creator and receives tons of messages, take the time to leave yours too. You never lose out by sharing your gratitude!

  3. SHARE POSITIVE CONTENT. 

    Another excellent way to focus on the goodness online this week is by sharing the positive content that you find, spreading the goodness and allowing others to experience it. When you find something really uplifting, spread the word about it by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Or, if online sharing isn't your thing, email a link to a friend (or, if you're really old school, print and mail an article or image). Not only will you brighten your someone else's day, but you'll also help creators spread positive content. (As an added bonus, it also just feels nice to share something positive with others!) And don't forget to use the hashtag #FindTheGoodFebruary

  4. SPREAD SOME ONLINE LOVE. 

    It's important to find and share positive content this month (and always!), but another great thing you can do is create your own goodness by sharing the online love this month. Like as many things as you can on Facebook and Instagram. Retweet tweets and leave comments on your friends' Facebook and Instagram posts. Do you know how long it takes to leave a comment like "Love it!" or "Looking good!"? A matter of seconds -- and it can make someone's day. Clicking a "like" button takes even less time. Of course, the world shouldn't revolve around likes and hearts and comments, but these are small little things you can do that really make others feel nice, so why not spend a few extra moments this week doling out some serious online love? 

  5. HASHTAG IT! #FINDTHEGOODFEBRUARY

    I'd love to see what kinds of good things you find online. When you share on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #FindTheGoodFebruary so we can all share in the good things that we find. :) Hopefully this can become an annual event and every time we're struggling to stay positive or need some inspiration, we can click on #FindTheGoodFebruary and find all kinds of great, empowering, enlivening content!

 

MY FAVORITE ONLINE FINDS

To kick off the week of finding online goodness, I'm going to share some of my current favorite online finds with the hope that you'll enjoy them too! The first thing I've been really loving is the CaseApp website, where you can design your own phone case! I created the one below so I can remind myself to find the good all month long. Want to create one? From today until February 8, 2016, get 20% off on a custom case from CaseApp with the code POSITIVELY20. (If you want to create this exact one, you can download the PNG file here.)

  CaseApp Sample


The next thing I've really been loving in the online world lately is YouTube. I've never really understood all of the hype about YouTubers until the six months or so when I really started watching them. There's something really wonderful about following along with others' adventures and getting a glimpse into their lives. Some of my favorite YouTubers of the moment: Zoella, Sprinkle of Glitter, Anna Saccone, and Tanya Burr. Check them out for some lifestyle tips, inspiration, and more.

Third on my list of current online favorites is: Caroline Winegeart's Made Vibrant. I've been loving Caroline's work for quite awhile now, but I recently took her course (Your First E-Course) and was reminded of how talented and awesome she is. Her weekly newsletter always makes me think differently and feel inspired (and this is coming from someone who hates weekly newsletters!). Plus, she's been doing this amazing Abstract Affirmations series that combines her beautiful artwork with inspiring words and I absolutely l-o-v-e it. So, if you're a creative soul looking for bright, beautiful, brilliant inspiration, check out Caroline and Made Vibrant! 

Those are just a few of the positive online finds I've rounded up, but you can keep on top of my favorite things (and find new sources of inspiration) with my weekly Positively Present Picks, featuring links I love, books I'm reading, and a brand new playlist every Friday.  

 

I'd love to see what goodness you find online this week! Feel free to share it in the comments section or with me via social media. And feel free to share your own work / writing / sites too! 

 

  

Finding-Self-Cover

You know where else you can find good stuff? In yourself! If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks: january 29, 2016

Hang in there
 

 

Quote-of-the-week

“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. 
A string of such moments can change the course of your life."

Christopher Germer

 

Links-I-Love   

The Beauty of Uncertainty : sometimes the unknown is great...

Washingtonian Dogs in the Snow : my Barkley was featured! :)

If It's Not a Hell Yes, It's a No : know when to just say no

All the Things that Softly Kill Me : such a beautiful, moving post

100+ Free Love Note Printables : great freebies for Valentine's Day

Ask This Instead of "What Do I Want?" : an important mindset shift

Start Where You Are : I'm obsessed with this beautiful journal!

57 Small Things to Do for Yourself This Year : lovin' this list

Tumblr : I've been spending so much time here. love it!

Seeking & Accepting Help : love this list by AdamJK

5 Tips to Make Work Your Happy Place : make the best of it

Positive Ways to Deal with Regret : 7 great tips here

Keep It Human : inspiration + a unicorn? yes, please!

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Survivors" — Selena Gomez
"In the Morning" — FIELDS
"Team" — Matthew Mayfield
"Dirty Shoes" — Eden Fox
"Falling Away" — GLADES
"Unstoppable"— Sia
"Dancing on Glass" — St Lucia
"Into the Night" — Madeline Juno
"Moth to the Flame" — Chairlift
"Dead Letter" — Wintersleep

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

The Crossroads of Should and Must:
Find and Follow Your Passion
Elle Luna

Start Where You Are:
A Journal for Self-Exploration
Meera Lee Patel

Tiny Buddha's 365 Love Challenges
Lori Deschene

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


feeling sad? try these quick pick-me-ups!

When-Youre-Sad

 

January is always a bit of a sad month for me -- and I know I'm not alone in this. For a lot of people, it's a gloomy, gray month filled with the dreaded post-holiday blues. It's back-to-work after a couple of months of fun-filled activities, and it's a especially tough time for anyone who suffers from SAD. About a year ago, I drew the image above when I was having a hard time after the holidays (it's always such a letdown when they're over, isn't it?), and I spotted it recently when I was flipping through my old sketchbook. 

Just like last year, this January has been less-than-stellar for me. I've always disliked this month, though I'm not sure if it's because of the post-holiday blues, the weather, or just the coincidence that things seem to get harder for me when the first month of the year rolls around. Whatever the reason, January is usually tough. And this one has been no exception. It's been filled with a lot of uncertainty and moments of unhappiness. When I rediscovered this image I created, I realized that it would be a good time to start taking my own advice -- and to share it, just in case anyone else out there could use some suggestions for those sad days. 

Whether you're going through a sad situation (a loss, a break-up, etc.) or you're just having a bit of a down day, these are some of the best ways I've found to feel a little happier when I'm feeling low. If you have any other tips or tricks you use when you're feeling sad, I'd love to hear them in the comments section below! 

 

WRITE YOURSELF A LOVE LETTER

Self-love is a great place to start when you're having a down day. Take a few minutes to write up a letter to yourself about all of the reasons you're awesome. This might sound like vanity or excessive self-pride, but it's actually really helpful when you're feeling sad. It shifts your focus from what's wrong to what's right. (If you find it too hard to write a love letter to yourself, give a gratitude list a try. Gratitude is a great way to focus on happiness!)

 

SMILE IN THE MIRROR

Smiling at yourself in the mirror can be a great little pick-me-up, even when you don't at all feel like smiling. (In fact, science shows that smiling might actually make you feel happier!) If you're a lipstick-wearer, it can also be fun to add a bright red or pink lip. It'll add a little fanciness to that smile of yours. You'll probably feel silly when you first try it, but that's part of the fun. Usually you'll feel so silly that you'll start laughing at yourself, which is a great mood booster. 

 

TAKE A NAP

While I'm not a big nap-taker personally, I know there's a lot of science that says a well-timed nap can make you feel a lot better (particularly if you're sleep-deprived, something that can happen when your feeling sad or stressed). Even if you don't love naps, give yourself time to rest and relax. Sadness --  even just a little dip in your mood -- can be exhausting, and you deserve a nice little rest. When you're sad, give yourself permission to take time for rest. 

 

TREAT YOUR SELF

Inspired by this episode of Parks & Recreation, one thing you can try when you're feeling bad is give yourself a little treat. Go grab a favorite scoop of ice cream, order a pizza, schedule a spa day, buy yourself a new book -- whatever it is you love, treat yourself to it! Of course, sadness can't be bought (or eaten...) away, but I've found that it's really nice to have a little treat when I'm feeling sad. 

 

PUT ON A GREAT OUTFIT

When you're down in the dumps, it's so tempting to sit around in sweatpants, fueling that sad feeling. While I'm not at all against sweatpants (I love them), I've found that it's really useful to get up and get dressed in something you really feel great in. Consider what outfit always makes you feel great about yourself and put that on -- even if you're just staying at home. Decking out in your best gear will give your mood a boost. 

 

DRINK SOME TEA

Drinking tea has a ton of health benefits, which makes it a great go-to when you're feeling sad. Not only is it healthy, but I've found that the warmth of it can be really soothing (especially during the cold month of January!). Sadness won't ever be cured with a cup of tea, but it's a nice way to add a bit of warmth and calm into your day. For an additional happiness boost, give a new kind a try. Doing something new is a good way to perk up your brain! 

 

CALL A FRIEND

One of the absolute best ways to cheer yourself up when you're sad is calling a good (and positive!) friend. You know that person who always knows how to find the good in a situation? Or the one that makes you feel like a rockstar when you're down? Call him or her up for a chat -- and a mood boost. Another great option is to create a connection with someone positive. Check out the Happiness Amplification Project to learn more about increasing happiness.  

 

LISTEN TO HAPPY SONGS

Sad songs can be alluring when you're feeling sad, but, believe me, happy songs are the way to go. Check out my Stay Positive! playlist on YouTube if you don't have a lot of happy songs in your life. Happy tunes can really boost your mood, and they work even better if you move to the music. One of my go-to tactics for down days is putting on some positive songs and dancing around my apartment. It sounds (and probably looks) silly, but it's a great way to feel happier. 

 

BUY YOURSELF FLOWERS

I'll admit -- I'm not big on flowers myself. I'd much rather have a box of chocolates or a playlist full of songs. But I know a lot of people benefit from the bright hues and floral scents that flowers bring to a room. So if you're feeling down, pick up some flowers for yourself as a little mood boost. And if flowers aren't your thing, find a way to focus on colors, sights, or scents that make you feel happy. 

 

LIGHT A CANDLE

Another great scent-related mood booster comes from lighting a candle. Not only is it pretty (and it sets the mooood), but if you pick a scent you love, it'll perk you up a little bit. I personally love anything that is sickeningly sweet (think: fresh baked cake, frosted sugar cookies, etc.), but there's a candle out there for every single scent preference. Try making your dinner a candlelit one or taking a bubble bath surrounded by scented candles.  

 

WRITE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS

Writing is my outlet when things aren't going well. Whenever I feel sad, I grab a pen or my laptop and pour out my feelings, and, man, does it feel good. Even if you don't consider yourself a writer, writing about how you feel can be so cathartic and clarifying. Often it's when I write that I find solutions to my problems or uncover a perspective I hadn't thought of before. And the great thing is -- you can get it all out you and not show it to a soul. 

 

MAKE SOMETHING

I love creating things, and it's one of the quickest ways for me to boost my mood. Not only does it feel good to make something that no longer existed before, it's also a great way to get out of your mind (and rumination on sad thoughts) and direct your focus to what you're working on. While it's never a good idea to ignore your feelings, sometimes it's good to take a break from them and create something with your hands. 

 

TAKE A WALK

Another way to break the rumination cycle is to go for a walk. Take a turn around the block, visit a local park, or go for a power-walk at your local mall. It doesn't matter where you walk -- just get out of where you've been feeling sad and experience a new environment (with a little light exercise thrown in!). Add a soundtrack if you like (like my Relaxing Walk playlist) to keep excessive rumination at bay. 

 

READ A GOOD BOOK

Nothing feels quite as wonderful as good book (at least, if you're a book nerd like me!). A really captivating book can take your mind away from your sadness and allow you to focus on a story that's far away from wherever you are. Choose a genre that really appeals to you and set aside some quite, alone time to spend turning pages and becoming absorbed in someone else's words. You can check out what I'm reading on GoodReads (and check out my book here!). 

 

WATCH A FUNNY FILM

Another great way to cheer yourself up is to watch a really funny film. My go-to film for sad days is Elf. I don't care what the season; if I'm having a down day, it's going on the TV. If you have a film like that -- one that you always want to watch when you're feeling down, a sad day is the perfect time to put it on. And if you don't have a favorite? Ask a friend for a recommendation or check online for good ideas. 

 

LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE

The absolute best thing you can do for yourself when you're sad is focusing on the big picture. Whatever's causing your sadness might feel overwhelming and all-encompassing at the moment, but it will get easier to cope with in time. In most cases, what's got you down today won't matter in a year -- or even in a month. And even if it will, the pain will lessen as time goes on. Also, I've found it helpful to look up at the stars and realize just how small I am in this crazily huge universe. It helps, I promise. 

 

Like it or not, sadness is part of life. We all have our down days. We all have the moments that break our hearts, the times when we just feel like crying. But there are lots of little things you can do to help yourself cope with sadness. The tips I've listed above are useful for bouts of heartache or a bit of post-holiday blues. If you think you might be suffering from serious sadness or depression, please reach out to a loved one or a therapist and seek help. We can be happy every moment of our lives, but we all deserve as much happiness as possible. If you're just feeling a little down, hang in there. You're not alone -- and it will get easier!

 

 

Finding-Self-Cover

If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : january 22, 2016

Always-move-forward
 

 

Quote-of-the-week

“Remember forward movement.
Forward is the way of trust. 
Forward is the way of forgiveness.
Forward is the way of healing.
Forward is essentially life."

Victoria Erickson

 

Links-I-Love   

5 Tips for Beating the Post-Holiday Blues :  my LiveHappy article :)

Let It Go! : relieve stress with this inspiring coloring book

How to Cope with Criticism : without letting it get you down

Inspiring Friendship Quotes : share these wise words with your bestie

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Afternoon Slump : great pick-me-up tips!

Sex Love + Attachment : this podcast is so good! give it a listen

We Might Be "Meaning Junkies" : I definitely think I am...

10 Ways You're Making Your Life Harder : these are so important

Writing a To-Do List Has Calming Powers : I really think this is true!

Loving Yourself Isn't Vanity, It's Sanity : yes, yes it definitely is 

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Hold On" — The Brevet
"I Am a Loner" — Tarantina
"You're Such A" —Hailee Steinfeld
"Weak" — Wet
"Would You Be" — Capitale
"Wrecking Ball"— Miley Cyrus
"Without You" — Oh Wonder
"All Too Well" — Taylor Swift
"Numbers" — Daughter
"Temporary Love" — The Brinks

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

Girl Online : On Tour
Zoe Sugg

Tiny Buddha's 365 Love Challenges
Lori Deschene

Let Food Be Your Medicine
Don Colbert

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


what are you doing for others? : 100 great ideas

What-are-you-doing-mlk

 

If you love quotes like I do, you'll know that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of many wise words. While I was searching through his quotes the other day, the one above stopped me in my tracks. Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time focusing on the self (and encouraging others to do the same). A lot of my work is based on turning one's gaze inward and finding ways to make life better from the inside out. Self-love and self-knowledge are some of my favorite topics to write about because I believe the relationship you have with yourself is the foundation for all your relationships. (For more on building this foundation, check out Finding Your Self and Loving Your Self.) But, of course, cultivating self-love and a positive attitude is only part of equation for living a positive and present life. Another huge aspect is doing what you can to make the world a more positive place. 

When I first read this quote, I immediately thought, What am I doing for others? What am I doing on a daily basis to make the world a more positive place? What I love most about what I do for work is that I have the power to positively impact the lives of others online. I have the opportunity to reach out to others and share what I've learned about living a more positive, more present life. While this is nothing on the level of a positive impact of someone like MLK, it does feel good to know that, in some small way, I might be doing something for someone else. And, even if you don't have a positivity-focused job, I bet you have some area of your life in which you positively impact others -- coworkers, family members, kids, friends, etc. 

We all have the power to do something kind for others, to make the world a better place by taking positive action (even if we don't all have the opportunity to be inspirational activists and leaders like MLK!), but sometimes when life gets busy or we're overwhelmed by our own stress, we can forget about the positive power we wield on a daily basis. In honor of MLK (and positive, forward-thinking leaders everywhere), I encourage you to embrace that power and do (at least!) one small positive thing on the list below to make someone else's life just a little bit better.  

  1. Write a letter to a friend that lives far away
  2. Call up a relative who might be lonely
  3. Bring your neighbor's paper up to the door
  4. Sign up to volunteer at a local shelter
  5. Bake a special treat for someone you love
  6. Be on time when meeting up with others
  7. Read a story aloud to a child you know
  8. Let someone else go ahead in line
  9. Pay for the person's coffee behind you
  10. Give a generous tip to a service person
  11. Like every photo on your Instagram feed
  12. Send flowers to someone who loves them
  13. Plant something in honor of someone
  14. Visit the gravesite of someone you've lost
  15. Take your dog for a long, fun walk
  16. Give your significant other a massage
  17. Send an "I love you" text just because
  18. Let someone else win a silly argument
  19. Forgive someone who's hurt you
  20. Do someone else's chores for him/her
  21. Play with animals in a shelter (or adopt!)
  22. Make someone else's favorite meal 
  23. Send an email to an author/blogger you love
  24. Connect two people who might hit it off
  25. Make someone else laugh with a joke
  26. Offer to run an errand for a busy friend
  27. Respond with kindness to someone unkind
  28. Smile at every neighbor you see today
  29. Text an old friend to reconnect
  30. Donate things you don't use to a shelter
  31. Send a "just because" gift to a friend
  32. Make (and share!) a list someone's good traits
  33. Send a friend an old photo of you two
  34. Pay for someone's meal at a restaurant
  35. Stand up for someone who's in trouble
  36. Write to Congress re: an issue you value
  37. Donate old books to your local library
  38. Volunteer to read to others who cannot
  39. Spend time chatting with an elderly neighbor
  40. Offer to wash your parents' cars
  41. Post nice comments on social media
  42. Draw a picture for a child
  43. Visit children at a local hospital
  44. Speak up for voiceless animals
  45. Donate time or money to a good cause
  46. Put someone else's needs before yours
  47. Share your favorite blog with a friend
  48. Positively review a product you love
  49. Offer to babysit a friend's kids
  50. Smile at people in cars next to yours
  51. Bring a loved one breakfast in bed
  52. Compliment a complete stranger
  53. Give your pet an extra special treat
  54. Offer to work late for a coworker
  55. Clean up someone else's mess
  56. Warm up a loved one's car 
  57. Give someone a huge, bear hug
  58. Make a special lunch for someone
  59. Get your coworker's coffee for him/her
  60. Offer to take notes for someone else
  61. Help someone with a task you do well
  62. Send anonymous flowers to a friend
  63. Let a car cut in front in traffic
  64. Tell a heart-warming story to a friend
  65. Give a great book to a bookworm
  66. Grocery shop for a parent / neighbor
  67. Drop off dog/cat food at a shelter
  68. Tip someone you don't have to tip
  69. Speak to a manager about good service
  70. Offer to take a photo for selfie-snappers
  71. Write a (handwritten!) thank you note
  72. Fill up someone's parking meter
  73. Leave a positive note on someone's car
  74. Give what you can to a homeless person
  75. Take flowers to a nearby nursing home
  76. Compliment a parent on his/her child
  77. Point out the positive to someone
  78. Tell someone why you love him or her
  79. Put your phone away while with others
  80. Talk to someone who looks shy
  81. Make a playlist or CD for a friend
  82. Pick up litter and throw it away
  83. Give someone else the parking space
  84. Write your mail carrier a nice note
  85. Include everyone in a conversation
  86. Text "good morning!" to a friend
  87. Plant a tree at your local park
  88. Encourage someone's efforts
  89. Bring in a sweet treat for coworkers
  90. Go to Coinstar and donate your change
  91. Sign up to attend a fundraiser
  92. Call your parents (or grandparents)
  93. Buy a product from a small business
  94. Help someone with bags / boxes
  95. Share your gratitude with your parents
  96. Sign up to become an organ donor
  97. Give a homeless person a coat / blanket
  98. Donate in someone else's name
  99. Teach a child how to do something
  100. Ask someone, "How can I help you today?"

 

The things on this list might seem small in comparison with the acts of great leaders, but did you know that kindness is contagious? Yep, it's true! Doing something kind for someone else makes it more likely that person will do something kind and then there's a ripple effect. So, it might seem like doing one small, positive thing isn't a big deal, but small things can have a big impact!

Have any additional acts of kindness to add to this list? Feel free to share them in the comments section below! 

 


positively present picks: january 15, 2016

Birthday Barkley
Happy 3rd birthday to my little rascal, Barkley! 

 

Quote-of-the-week

“A dog is the only thing on earth that
loves you more than he loves himself.”

Josh Billings

 

Links-I-Love  

Tricks to Make 2016 the Best Year Yet! : such great + unique advice

It's Going to Be Okay Fortune Teller : a childhood favorite + freebie!

8 Ways to Prevent Negative Energy from Taking Over : stay positive

Goal-Setting Cards : these are sooo pretty + inspiring (and freeee!)

Create Success on Your Terms : sign up for this (free!!) audio course

25 Famous Quotes about Dogs : for all of you dog lovers out there

Morkie Mom : my Pinterest board featuring dog tips, tricks, + treats

Playful Pups : another Pinterest page just filled of cute dogs

The Art of Forgiving When You Can't Forget : very powerful stuff

6 Ways to De-Stress After Work : go on, take a load off! 

Write a Letter to Yourself : love this idea for the New Year

Drake Lyrics to Help You Kill It in Business (and in Life!)

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Blank Space" (Live) — Taylor Swift
"Fast Car" — Jasmine Thompson
"Roses" — The Chainsmokers
"Rock Bottom" — Hailee Steinfeld
"If You're Gone" — Matchbox 20
"Amazing"— Foxes
"Lost Weekend" —Pete Yorn
"Drifting" — Nate Eiesland
"Different Kind of Love" — Kid Runner
"Horses at Night" — Still Corners

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Anthony Marra

Tiny Buddha's 365 Love Challenges
Lori Deschene

Let Food Be Your Medicine
Don Colbert

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


6 tips for tackling tough conversations

Speak-Now-Taylor-Swift
Image via Big Machine Records

 

Have you ever been in a position where you really wanted to talk to someone about something but the topic of conversation was really awkward / emotional / sensitive and so you put it off for ages hoping that it would somehow be resolved or disappear but, without talking about it, there was obviously going to be no miraculous solution so you had to actually get the courage to bring it up and you were so scared to do it and it had been on your mind for so long that you didn't even know where to begin? 

If you answered yes, I feel you. That was me a couple of weeks ago. There was a big scary conversation I wanted to have, and I'd been wanting to have it for months and months and months but every time I was about to bring it up, I got way too scared and chickened out. This happened over and over and over again. 

Until, one day, I realized that, if I didn't say what I needed to say, I'd always be wondering what would have happened if I had. When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, it hit me over the head like a ton of bricks: if I wanted to talk about something (and I wanted change in the New Year), I was going to have to open my mouth and speak. No one was going to do it for me. I had to stop second guessing myself, worrying about the conversation not going the way I wanted it to go, and just do it

Also, on NYE, I was deeply inspired by this. It might sound silly for a grown woman to be motivated by a music video, but for years I'd been feeling so much anxiety and uncertainty. And, scared as I was to let go of those feelings, I desperately wanted to be "out of the woods," to be in a place of stability and clarity. After watching the video (over and over again!), I knew the only way I'd ever be the version of the girl at the end of the video would be to open my mouth and speak the words constantly circling in my mind. 

In a way, the video is very much a metaphor for what it feels like when you're scared to have an important conversation -- you're overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, wondering what could be, scared of where you are but just as scared of what will happen when you eventually are brave enough to speak your mind. Whether you're having a relationship-based conversation, a salary negotiation, a serious talk with a boss or client, or a heart-to-heart with a friend, the point leading up to the actual speaking is a scary time indeed. 

But the only way to get out of the woods -- out of that place of anxiety and uncertainty -- is to use your words. As someone who put doing this off for months, I know just how hard this can be. I finally had the courage to say what I needed to, and I know you can too. Here are some of the best pieces of advice I can offer for anyone struggling to have a tough conversation: 

 

KNOW THE OUTCOME YOU WANT

Get specific about what you really want before you launch into a tough conversation. It's not enough to think "I want to make more money" or "I want her to be more affectionate." You need to have concrete desires in place, like "I want a 10% raise" or "I want her to hold my hand in public and spend more time cuddling with me." If you don't know (and say) specifically what you want, how is someone else supposed to give it to you? Imagine (in detail!) what it will be like to have the exact outcome you want. Also, ask yourself why you want this. Understanding the why will show you what you're really looking for. Do you want more money because you feel unappreciated at work? Will money make you feel more valued? Do you want a committed relationship because you truly love this specific person? Or do you just want a relationship in general? Getting to the heart of why you want what you do will help you have a much more productive conversation (or it show you that you don't need to have the conversation at all!). 

 

THINK ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON

When it comes to big scary conversations, it's important to consider not only your own needs and desires, but also those of the person (or people) you're communicating with. Before conversing, spend some time thinking about what outcomes they might be hoping for, how they might perceive what you have to say, and how they generally prefer to communicate. Try vividly imagining the conversation from the other person's point of view. How might your boss perceive your resignation? How might your partner take the news that you'd like to spend some time apart? What would it be like to be the friend with whom you've had a disagreement that you're trying resolve? Considering how the other person might feel and what s/he might experience is important for having a meaningful interaction. Just as important is considering how this person prefers to communicate. For the most part, big important conversations should happen in person, but that's not always possible, so consider the best method of communication -- not only for you, but for the other party as well. And, last but not least, take into account how this conversation will impact your relationship, not just from your perspective, but from theirs as well. 

 

PONDER THE POSITIVE POSSIBILITIES

Going into an important conversation, it's useful to ponder what would happen if the best possible outcome occurred. What is the absolute best-case, most amazing scenario? What other positive possibilities might you not be considering? (For example, what if you boss isn't able to give you a raise, but is able to offer you a different position that you know will be more enjoyable?) Before you talk, try thinking outside the box and imagine the craziest (best!) possible scenarios. For example, if you're asking for a raise, imagine being offered not only the amount you're asking for, but also a better title and a corner office. Consider how these best-case scenarios would play out. What are the upsides and the downsides of getting exactly what you ask for? What if, for example, you ask your boyfriend to spend more time with you and he suggests moving in together? How would you handle a scenario in which you're given way more than what you asked for? Pondering the positive possibilities will help you feel more prepared as you go into the conversation and may help you identify aspects of the situation you might not have considered. 

 

TAKE NOTE OF WORST-CASE SCENARIOS

On the flip side, it's also important to consider worst-case scenarios. Overthinking what could go wrong or worrying about the future isn't very useful when it comes to living a positively present life, but there's something to be said for considering a worst-case scenario and investigating how you might overcome it if it were to happen. When you imagine what could go wrong, you're likely to come up with solutions and you'll realize that, even if the worst thing were to happen, you'd be okay. If, for example, you were fired for asking for a raise (unlikely to happen, but just consider it), you'd most likely find another job and probably be thankful you were no longer working for a company that fires employees for asking for better compensation! It's important not to dwell on worst-case outcomes (or best-case either), but allowing yourself to consider them will help remove some of the fear you're feeling. Once you've considered what could go wrong (and how you'd cope), you'll feel braver when beginning your conversation. Also, keep in mind some of my favorite lyrics from "Out of the Woods": the monsters turned out to be just trees. Sometimes the worst thing is in your mind and the reality isn't all that scary. 

 

CHOOSE A GOOD TIME TO TALK

There's never a perfect time to have a challenging conversation, but there are some really bad times to have a tough talk. Some examples: when you've had no sleep the night before; when you're really hangry; when you're super stressed -- or when the other person is any of these. First, identify when an ideal time to talk would be for you. If you could choose any situation / time / place, what would it be? Are more articulate and alert in the mornings? Or do you define yourself as a night owl? Would you rather talk in private or in pubic? Do you communicate best right after you've eaten a good meal or had your first cup of coffee? You can't always conduct the conversation exactly when you want to, but you can try to do it at the best possible time and in the best possible conditions. After identifying what would be best for you, consider what would be the best time to talk with someone else. Is there a time when your boss seems more relaxed? Does your partner seem more at ease on the weekends? You're much more likely to get the results you'd like if you conduct the conversation when the other person is in a positive mindset. Not sure when the best time is for someone else? Ask!

 

BE BRAVE + GO FOR IT! 

This is, of course, the most important piece of advice: just do it. The longer you wait, the harder it gets (believe me, I know this first hand!) and the more it seems like a bigger and bigger deal in your mind. If you keep waiting to speak your mind, what once seemed like something you should bring up turns into a big, huge, scary conversation that you'll be dreading on a regular basis. Don't let this happen to you. Find a time that feels right (even if it's not perfect) and start talking. You don't even have to come to a conclusion right away -- just get the dialogue flowing and let the other person know where you're coming from. People can't read your mind and they might have no idea what you want if you don't tell them! I know it's hard and I know it's scary, but if you don't initiate it, it might never happen and you'll always be filled with the unpleasant "what if..." sensation. So go on -- set a date, schedule a meeting, make the call -- do whatever you have to do to start talking. 

 

BONUS! 
LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY. 

Here's an additional piece of advice: once you've bravely initiated the conversation (yay, you!), it's so important to listen closely. I cannot stress this enough: listen. If you've prepared a lot for the conversation, it's tempting to focus on what you have to say and what you want the outcome to be, but try your absolute hardest to listen carefully to what the other person is saying. The best way to have a productive conversation of any kind is to be a good listener and respond to what someone else is actually saying. As you probably know, it can be difficult sometimes to accurately interpret others' words, and nothing screws up an important conversation more than assumptions and miscommunications. These can be minimized if you listen fully to what others are saying -- not what you want them to say, not what you think they might say, not to how you read into the words they're saying. Listen to the actual words being spoken and, if you're not sure about the meaning, don't guess. Ask! 

 

 

 

Loving-Your-Self

Having the courage to have tough conversations is an act of self-love. Want to empower yourself with some more serious self-love and acceptance? Start loving yourself (or increase the love you already have for yourself!) with the inspiration and motivation found in Loving Your Self: An Empowering Workbook for Increasing Self-LoveFilled with uplifting encouragement, thought-provoking questions, and engaging exercises, Loving Your Self is an essential tool for mastering the art of self-love. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : january 8, 2016

Let it go
Amazing artwork by Caroline Kelso
 

 

Quote-of-the-week

"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. 
Let it loose. It will defend itself."

St. Augustine

 

Links-I-Love 

How to Write a Beautiful Manifesto : declare what you want!  

3 Signs You're Hanging on to Something Toxic : let it goooo

Zen Commuter Interview : listen in for a lively, positive chat

Head vs. Heart : how to make a decision when they're in conflict

Is Your Tiny Screen Bad for Your Self-Esteem? : a very good question

21 Experts on Finding Your Authentic Path : honored to be featured here 

What's Your Main Thing? : and are you focusing on it? 

It's Them, Not You : important to remember if you've been mistreated

Happiness Amplification Project : want to find out who makes you happy? 
sign up to participate in this project run by Princeton psychology graduates!

7 Things to Say No to in 2016 : love this list of things to let go of

Inspiring Desktop Backgrounds : motivation + cake = yes!

6 Behaviors to Avoid : these can be majorly toxic for you

What Happens When You Stand Up for Yourself : try it + see

Reviewing Your Year : a great way to get some perspective

50 Things to Do in 2016 : I absolutely love this illustrated list

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Out of the Woods" — Taylor Swift
"True Colors" — Marina & the Diamonds
"Bones" — Katie and I
"Keeping Your Head Up" — Birdy
"Water Under the Bridge" — Adele
"Snow"— Zach Winters
"Fire Escape" —Matthew Mayfield
"Electric Love" — Borns
"Better Love" — Foxes
"Love Alive" — Aaron Krause

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts
in a World that Can't Stop Talking
Susan Cain

Tiny Buddha's 365 Love Challenges
Lori Deschene

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro