Most people want to feel happier and more upbeat in life, but sometimes, it feels like there is something in the way. For some, being upbeat comes easy. For others, maybe life’s hardships have dampened their mood, or perhaps they weren’t born with a naturally optimistic spirit.
The good news is that anyone can learn to be more upbeat, whether it comes naturally or not. The benefits of being more upbeat are worth the commitment to learning, as it can have beneficial effects on your overall health and well-being.
In this article, we’ll cover what it means to be upbeat, the health benefits of adopting this attitude, and then we’ll end with some tips to help you become a more upbeat person.
What does it mean to be more upbeat?
Being upbeat is a mix of being happy and optimistic. When you picture someone who is upbeat, you may think of an individual with a little pep in their step. Someone who sees the world in a positive light spreads positive energy and anticipates that good things will happen.
It’s virtually impossible to stay upbeat all the time; it would be concerning if you never experienced negative emotions or were never affected by life’s hardships. However, trying to consciously foster an upbeat spirit can improve your life in ways you may have never even imagined. Keep reading to learn how!
The health benefits of being upbeat
Being upbeat can have drastic impacts on your physical health and well-being. Scientific studies have revealed that happiness can contribute to a host of physical health benefits, such as a stronger immune system, better heart health, less risk of cardiovascular disease, and quicker recovery when faced with illness or surgery.
Why is being upbeat connected to better physical health? Some researchers have hypothesized that feeling happier leads to better health habits. When we have an upbeat attitude, we may have more motivation and energy to engage in healthy behaviors.
Upbeat people tend to have a lust for life, and therefore are more inclined to engage in healthy self-care activities, such as exercising, caring for your mental health, socializing with people who uplift you, prioritizing good sleep habits, and healthy eating.
One of the most interesting findings related to being upbeat and happy is that there is a connection between positive emotions and life expectancy. There are a number of studies that have looked into this connection, here are a few examples:
1. Carstensen et al (2011) conducted a longitudinal study over the course of 13 years. They found that emotional experience (positive or negative) predicted mortality.
2. Lawrence, Rogers & Wadsworth (2015) looked at the effect of happiness on 32,000 participants over the course of 30 years. They found that participants who rated themselves the least happy had a 14% higher chance of death than their happier counterparts.
3. Lee et al (2019) analyzed data from 70,000 women in a Nurses’ Health Study and about 1400 men from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. They found that people who had higher levels of optimism had a longer life span, and a greater chance of living past 85 years old.
Though it can take energy and effort to garner an upbeat spirit, the health benefits alone are well worth it.
5 tips for being more upbeat
These 5 tips will help you learn practical strategies to become more upbeat in your everyday life.
1. Prioritize your close relationships
There is a very strong connection between the quality of our social relationships and our general happiness. As you can imagine, it would be very difficult to maintain an upbeat attitude if you weren’t content with your social relationships.
According to the Harvard Gazette, close relationships are what keep people happy in life. Good relationships protect us from life’s discontents, provide support and comfort, and are a significant factor in living a long and upbeat life.
If you have strong relationships in your life already, that is something to treasure and prioritize. If this is an area that you’d like to work on, consider joining a new group or team to enhance your social network.
You can also intentionally schedule a time to see your existing friends and family, and consciously work at strengthening those relationships. Make sure you’re focusing your time on people who uplift and support you. That is one of the keys to becoming more upbeat!
2. Practice gratitude
When you practice gratitude, you are acknowledging the appreciation you have for the positive things in your life. You can have gratitude for anything, including family, friends, possessions, good health, beautiful weather, and more.
Research shows that gratitude is closely linked to happiness. It helps us feel more positive emotions, cherish happy moments, feel healthier, cope with hardships, and form stronger relationships.
Gratitude can play a key role in helping you feel more upbeat! There are many ways you can practice gratitude. A very popular method is journaling.
For example, you can start a journal documenting memories that bring you joy. When you look back and read about happy memories, you are likely to feel grateful for the experiences, resulting in a better mood, and a more upbeat attitude.
There are lots of other self-care journaling techniques, and some great phone apps to help you get started.
3. Challenge negative thoughts
Negative thoughts are natural and, in most cases, inevitable. However, our negative thoughts are not always true. They may be cognitive distortions, which are irrational or unhelpful thoughts that can greatly influence your emotions.
It’s important to challenge negative thoughts and question their validity. If you find your thoughts fall into one of the thought distortion categories, that’s a sign that the thought may not be true, or helpful.
If you want to feel more upbeat, don’t let these thoughts bring you down! There are strategies you can use to challenge your negative thoughts that may be distorted, inaccurate, or just plain wrong. Try asking yourself some of these questions:
- What evidence is there that supports this thought? What evidence contradicts it?
- What would I tell a friend if they had the same thought?
- What advice would my therapist give me about this situation?
- Is this within my control?
For more tips to challenge your negative thoughts, check out this article.
4. Increase healthy habits
There is a strong link between how we physically feel and our happiness. If you want to feel more upbeat, a great place to start is by improving your healthy habits. Prioritizing healthy eating, exercising, sleep and other wellness activities can make all the difference.
Improving these habits can be overwhelming, so remember to start small. Perhaps start by introducing an exercise routine once a week. When you’re feeling confident, transition to twice a week. The same goes for healthy eating! Try planning one healthy homemade meal a week and go from there.
5. Schedule activities that bring you joy
Being upbeat takes practice and intention. If we wait for good things to happen without being proactive, it could take a while. It sounds simple, but intentionally scheduling time for activities you enjoy can help you to feel more upbeat!
There are countless activities you can schedule, here’s a list to get you started:
- Go for a nature walk.
- Hang out with a friend.
- Go to your favorite café.
- Read a book.
- Watch a great movie or TV show.
- Listen to music.
- Play your favorite sport.
Enjoyable activities can be as small as making yourself a cup of tea and reading a book, to as big as booking your dream vacation. Whatever it is, make sure you're making time for the things that make you happy!
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Being more upbeat takes discipline, practice, and patience, but it’s possible for anyone! Start with one or two of these tips and see what works best for you. In no time, you'll be on your way to becoming the upbeat person you want to be!
Do you consider yourself to be an upbeat person? What's your favorite tip to be more upbeat throughout a dull day? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!