I Wrote Down A Positive Thought Every Day For A Month & Here's What I Learned
Sep 26, 2018
When the Work For Your Beer team decided to take on some 30-day lifestyle challenges, like quitting alcohol or ditching coffee, I thought that a "positivity challenge" (aka, writing down one positive thought each day) would be the simplest to add into my daily routine--especially since I would still be able to drink coffee and wine throughout the month.
I was hopeful that by the end of the month it would help me not to sweat the small stuff, to be grateful for what I already have, and all those other cliches you've heard a thousand times.
The month that I decided to embark on this challenge, I was traveling a ton, super stressed with work and personal stuff, and my boyfriend and I started dating long distance again. So, it was a great month to try to actively think more positively.
Here's how it went.
The rules of my challenge were straightforward: write down one positive thought every day. No matter if it was a bad or stressful day, I had to find one positive thought or thing that happened throughout the day, and write it down.
As it turned out, writing down one positive thought a day was the easy part. Staying positive, on the other hand, was where it got tricky.
I started the challenge the Sunday after my friend’s wedding in Greensboro, NC. This day was easy to write down something positive.
"Had the best time last night celebrating my good friends getting married and I woke up not hungover. #blessed."
But then I started to overanalyze my positive thought. Should I write down only something positive that happened today? Does last night not count in my happiness today? Are there rules to this thing? This is gonna be a long month.
“Woke up and immediately thought of something positive, but then I forgot and figured I would think of a better one.”
Apparently I didn't think of a better one, because that's all I wrote. Okay, Melissa, get it together. This shouldn’t be that difficult.
"My boyfriend got offered a new job which meant he would be moving to Charlotte in the long term and having such a better work-life balance. So happy for him (and also for me, that we won’t be long distance anymore)!"
This was an easy one.
"Had a great time with the Work For Your Beer team at Triple C yoga. I am so grateful to be a part of this team."
"The weather is beautiful, and I am so glad I made the leap to move to Charlotte and can walk to work every day."
"Had a great workout, so I am feeling very positive and looking forward to the rest of the week!"
"Friday! Going to Chicago to be reunited with my Italy roommates! It's supposed to pour all weekend, but I am so excited to see them. Also grateful that my flight got changed and I would be able to get there a day early and beat all the stormy weather."
"Exhausted from the weekend with my roommates and the weather is still horrible (Why do you do this to me Chicago?), but lucky to be able to be home for my sister's second wedding shower and blessed it is not outside."
"Driving with Hunter (my boyfriend) to Baltimore where he will be training for two months--meaning we are back to long distance. Positive: Driving to D.C. and being a tourist for a weekend!"
"Stressful day at work but bought myself flowers and chocolates to help brighten my day."
So, What Did I Learn?
At the end of the challenge, I definitely noticed some themes surrounding where the majority of my positive thoughts stemmed from. Those were: working out, being social with friends and family, and the weather. On the flip side, the majority of my negative thoughts stemmed from: not working out, not being social, and the weather.
Throughout the challenge, it was difficult to focus solely on the positive, which is what I thought I should be doing. So when I found myself writing a negative thought and then a positive, I beat myself up for it. Why couldn't I just focus on the good?
I used to think negative thoughts meant a negative mindset on life, but this challenge allowed me to realize that reflecting on negative thoughts is not dwelling on them, it's reflecting on your situation and thinking of ways to improve them. They also helped me realize all the positive things that happened that day and not focus on just the negative.
In the end, did the challenge help me realize not to sweat the small stuff, to be grateful for what I have, and all the other cliches? I would say yes!
I was more reflective on my own thoughts and more conscious of my feelings, which did make me realize how great my life actually is. There are definitely stressful days where the weather stinks and I didn't have time to workout, but the awareness that these factors affect my mood and tomorrow is another day is such a powerful thought to have.
What tips and tricks do you have to think positively?