Positivity and Happiness: The Secrets to Achieving Both (When Living with Mental Illness)

Positivity and happiness are not often used to describe mental illness, so how can you achieve them? HealthyPlace has the secret.

Positivity and happiness are hard to come by when you’re living with a mental illness. During tough times, you may find yourself simply trying to get through the day. On better days, it’s not uncommon for those who are mentally ill to trying to “make up” for the time they missed when they were struggling, usually by working too much or trying to please others at their own expense. If this sounds familiar, positivity and happiness could be the life ingredients you’re missing. Here are the secrets to achieving true positivity, even when you are mentally ill.

Positivity and Happiness: Letting Go of Labels

The first step toward positivity and happiness with a mental illness is to stop labeling your days “good” or “bad.” We’re all guilty of this, particularly as it allows us to describe how well we are to others without going into detail. Very few days are all good or all bad, however. You can wake up feeling anxious or see a critical email from your boss and automatically think that your day will be bad, but this quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead of labeling your days, try to take each moment as it comes. Acknowledge your negative feelings as they arise and know that each moment is different from the last. You could have a challenging morning but an uplifting afternoon. Your day could start out positive, but your mood could dip as the day progresses. These emotional shifts are all part of life. Those of us with mental health conditions have to deal with more mood extremes than others, so we need to use all the positivity and happiness tools at our disposal ("How to Create Positivity in Life When You Have a Mental Illness").

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” ― Eckhart Tolle

Choose Positivity and Happiness

Choosing positivity and happiness is not about ignoring or shunning your negative thoughts. Positivity is about making a choice to acknowledge your feelings without criticism or self-blame so that you can focus on healing and enjoying your life.

One way to do this is to repeat affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements designed to counteract negative thinking. You can either create your own or listen to an affirmation playlist on YouTube. You could also make a positivity wall to remind yourself of the positive mindset you're creating for yourself.

When you make a conscious decision to accept negative emotions and let go of things you cannot control, you can move towards inner peace and self-acceptance.

Every time you choose to care for yourself, stick up for yourself or see the beauty of your own being, you send yourself a powerful and positive message.  

Surround Yourself with Positivity and Happiness

The greatest secret to achieving positivity and happiness is to surround yourself with both. So, feed your mind with positive words, images, and people. Seek positive influences for your life. Don’t allow guilt or fear to motivate your actions. Instead, make a conscious decision to find positivity and happiness in life, even when you’re consumed with negativity ("Positive News: How It Affects You and Where to Find It").

Lastly, don’t give yourself a hard time if you fail. Accept that you’re struggling in this moment and move on. Achieving positivity and happiness when you have a mental illness is no easy feat, and any small steps you can take in that direction are worth rewarding.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2021, December 31). Positivity and Happiness: The Secrets to Achieving Both (When Living with Mental Illness), HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: March 25, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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