Life is forever throwing curve balls at most of us - at least that's how it can feel. Mostly it's simply life happening, just not as we expected, which is what creates the disharmony in how we feel and how we perceive our life is tracking. Remaining positive is a kind of overall view on life, there will be moments where you do feel very negative, but at the end of the day you pick yourself up and move past the cause of disharmony.
An integral part of living a happy life is processing things rather than ignoring them - if you feel angry, frustrated, depressed, guilty etc then acknowledge that emotion, understand why you are feeling it, review what has triggered it and assess what you can do to move past it.
We are sentient beings; we are meant to experience and express a full range of emotions, anyone who seems to always be one particular way (happy, sad, depressed, angry, or overly enthusiastic) is not being true to themselves which is unsustainable and unhealthy. Just as it's ok to experience and express sadness or anger, it is also ok to express happiness - I know some people that have felt guilty about expressing their happiness when they or someone close to them has been in a tough situation. We shouldn't stifle our emotional responses; I believe that doing so can create a psycho-somatic response which is essentially a physical manifestation of poor health due to our thoughts and emotions. The term 'dis-ease' is no coincidence.
An important point to mention right about here is that we do not necessarily need to express our emotions as soon as we feel them, sometimes it is more appropriate to pause before moving through the emotion. Anger is a good example - you don't need to let it out for all to experience, but don't pretend that it wasn't triggered either - instead acknowledge the emotion that came up, ask yourself why you felt that way and if you didn't like feeling that way, what changes can you make?
Remaining positive isn't about perpetually being in a state of happiness; it's more about being able to experience and express your emotions so that you can move on to the next experience without being laden down with tons of unprocessed emotional baggage. One tool I found very helpful is something I learned during my yoga philosophy classes: try to step back from the situation at hand and see it for what it really is. Chances are it is not the end of the world. Perhaps the end of the world as you know it, but that just creates an opening for new experiences. And that brings me on to another difference I've noticed with positive people: they find and express gratitude for the things that they have, they do not become fixated on that which they do not have. This is actually beautifully simplistic because we all have so much to be grateful for in our lives if we just take a moment to see it, or more accurately, feel it. The difficulty in doing this and remaining positive is overriding the negative self-talk we all have which is where positive affirmations, meditation, visualisations manifestations and a regular yoga practice can help.
This content is part of a chapter on ‘mindfulness’ that is from the book I’m currently writing – it’s a whole body and mind approach to improving fertility – but as you can see from this piece there are gems in there that apply to all of us.