What is it?

According to the dictionary positivity is defined as:

“the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.”

And according to the dictionary negativity is defined as:

“the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.”

People

People tend to either sit in the positive club which usually means you feel happy go lucky most of the time, or the other side which is the negative club where you don’t feel so happy go lucky. I feel the best way to do it is to have a little be of positivity and a little bit of negativity. A bit like a seesaw for example. Somewhere you can adapt your attitude depending on the situation. I think it is healthy to have a little bit of both. Sometimes you will feel positive but it is ok to feel negative as well.

Let me explain

My general personality is to be positive most of the time. Rosie often refers to me like the Duracell Bunny. Someone who can be positive and active twenty-fours a day and seven days a week. However, she is also pleasantly surprised when I do have a negative thought as she remarks that I am only human after-all. Rosie’s personality was more negative than positive. At the height of her illness it was negative twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and that is something that can rub off on a carer like myself when I was looking after her. Today Rosie is much more positive and she has worked hard to get to this, and she will continue to do so. Together we find we have the right mix.

Negative people can bring you down

It is very true. If someone is negative most of the time and you hang out with them most of the time, then at some stage it is going to make you feel a little down. You have probably heard of the term “vampire friend”. This is someone who zaps your energy after you visit them for a cup of coffee as they spend the whole session talking about themselves and their negative thoughts. Yes, they ask you upon arrival how you are and you say “I’m fine”. Inside you are thinking I want to tell them you’re engaged, I’m going on holiday in three months to Thailand and that Henry (the pet bunny) is sick. But after “I’m fine” that is as far as you get. They then spend the next few hours discussing their situation even if it happened six years ago. You start to wonder why you are so tired, drained, in need of a nap or some “me-time”. That is the basics of it. Your friend (either consciously or sometimes unconsciously) has zapped your energy.

Vampire friend

To some degree it isn’t their fault. Some people may not even be aware that they zap your energy and it will take a very well worded conversation to tell them so. However, I need to stress that you need to choose your time wisely with this. Some people at the height of the mental illness may be negative and I feel they need some time to work through this. It is ok. My point is the people who are dealing with the same issue from ten years ago and are struggling to move on may be more negative than others. There may be ways to help them but they are unwilling to take sometimes simple steps to get there.

Rosie’s negativity

As I say at the height of Rosie’s mental health breakdown she was negative a lot of the time. However, it was more her Depressive Illness talking than Rosie. I would say something like “lets go for a drive and a walk”. Rosie would answer with it is raining, the sun isn’t shining, it will be cold, the clouds are grey, I don’t want to go”. Can you see the difference? It may have been raining but I knew that a walk in the fresh air would do her good. Today even though she still has her Depressive Illness she is much more positive and isn’t stuck two years ago going over and over the bad stuff. She turned the negative into a positive.

How to turn negativity to positivity

Most people who come into contact with me remark that I am a positive person. I have learnt over the years that being positive helps me deal with whatever situation I need to go through. As a person I tend to want to make people laugh too. Usually I will try and tell a silly joke with an obscure punchline, I will do a silly dance or attempt to do the “floss dance craze” from last year and so on. This is my point. I can’t do the “floss dance” for love nor money but it makes Rosie laugh at my attempt and therefore I do it. I find if you are laughing you are going to be fine.

Laughing

Did you know that there are laughter clubs around (and no I don’t mean comedy clubs). There are special groups where you can go and laugh. There is even laughter Yoga. Now if you can’t get to a laughter club near you then there are several options. Watch a comedy on tv, listen to a comedian doing their thing or hang out with friends. Try anything to make yourself laugh. It doesn’t matter what negativity you are going through just try to find the positive.

Benefits of laughter

Yes, benefits! Laughter can relax the whole body as well being good for your muscles and heart. It can also help your immune system and release endorphins (the happy chemical). It can make you turn that frown upside down too. I mean what more could you want. Find something funny, get laughing and try to gain a new perspective on whatever was negative.

-Helen