Practicing Positivity

I am not a naturally positive person. I know I am not supposed to admit that, but it’s the truth. That’s not to say that I walk around spewing negativity and bringing down the general population. I try my best and look on the bright side, even when it feels like I might be blinded by it. However, the last month or so has tested my ability to be positive. As it turns out, post-grad life is hard. (Who knew?) Even though I’ve applied for lots of jobs, had interviews and done as much networking as I can, nothing has worked out yet. With every opportunity that falls through, it gets more and more tempting to crawl into bed, write off the whole thing and dive into a Netflix binge the likes of which the world has never seen.

Yet, here I am, sitting in a coffee shop in my hometown and writing a blog post on being positive. It’s all part of my process of actively practicing positivity. I’m sharing the ways I stay on track in case they can help other recent grads. It’s a tough world out there. Maybe we can stick together through it.

My Go-To Practices

Keep learning: I know that I got an awesome education at Drake University. Our public relations program is one of less than forty schools worldwide that have a Certification in Education for Public Relations (And the only school in Iowa, I might add). Even so, I sometimes feel I’m unprepared for the real world. I know that feeling is just self-doubt. I combat it with learning more. Right now, I’m reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk to hone my social media skills. I also just completed my certification exam in public relations a few weeks ago. Not only am I building my skills, I’m also building my confidence.

Make something: For those who know me, it’s no surprise that I turn to crafting to make me feel like a productive member of society. I love stitching custom embroidery. It gives me an outlet to channel any frustration or disappointment. I take bits and pieces of my favorite things and combine them to make something new. Right now, I’m working on a huge embroidery on canvas featuring lyrics from The Sound of Reverie by The Maine. “Let’s fall back in love, with the world and who we are”: It’s a reminder that the world is a wonderful place, even when things seem dark.

Find fun: It’s tempting to turn down fun things when it feels like I should spend every single moment applying for jobs. But you know what they say about all work and no play. So, I find things to break up the days. I love Rupaul’s Drag Race and The Bachelorette. It’s not hard-hitting television but these shows are so fun. I like to listen to musicals (Legally Blonde is an excellent choice when you’re feeling down). There are tons of free events around Des Moines. I just force myself to get out there and have fun. It gives me balance.

Move more: To quote Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Luckily, this applies to more than just avoiding murdering your loved ones. Even though I don’t love exercising, I keep doing it. The difference in my mood before and after is astounding.

Even though positivity is an uphill battle for me, I keep trying every day. I’m not going to lie to you and say it works all the time. But I’d rather keep trying than retreat into a blanket cocoon for the rest of my days. And isn’t that what it’s all about?