Gratitude and me-time (words around staying positive)

Close Up Of Handwritten Gratitude Text With Notebook, Pen, Cup Of Tea, Flowers And Oil Burner
Natalie Board/EyeEm/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Today we’re looking at language around being positive and relaxed, and the things we do in order to stay that way.

Let’s start with collocations for the adjective ‘positive’. We say that we try to ‘stay’ or ‘remain’ positive: For the good of the whole family, I try to stay positive. We talk about a positive ‘outlook’ or ‘attitude’: I try to keep a positive outlook on life. We also use the noun positivity, meaning ‘the quality of having a positive attitude’: I really admired her positivity in such difficult circumstances.

Some people seem more naturally positive than others. Those who quickly become happy and positive again after bad things happen to them may be described as resilient: Children can be remarkably resilient. (The noun is resilience: This community has shown amazing resilience in the face of such difficulties.)

Related, we use the phrasal verb bounce back to mean ‘to soon become happy again after a bad experience’: He was obviously upset when it happened, but he seemed to bounce back.

A noun in this area heard more and more is self-care. It means taking care of your physical health, but also looking after your mental health. It is used for the things that we do in order to stay positive and relaxed, for example, taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep and taking time out in nature: 20 ways to practise self-care every day.

One of the main aims of self-care is to get rid of the feelings of stress that are part of work and daily life. We say that we deal with, manage, relieve or combat stress by, for example, listening to our favourite music or meeting a good friend. (The verb de-stress has the same meaning: Exercise helps me to de-stress.) When we know that a situation causes us stress, we adopt strategies (=use plans) to help us deal with it.

People sometimes use the phrase me time to refer to time that they deliberately spend doing enjoyable things for themselves and not others: When the kids are in bed, I finally get to enjoy a bit of me time.

Some people find it helps them to stay positive if they make an effort to feel grateful or thankful for good things that happen in their day. The noun from ‘grateful’ is gratitude and you sometimes hear people say that they practise gratitude, meaning that they make an effort to feel grateful. One way that people do this is by keeping a gratitude journal/diary where they make a note each day of good things that have happened to them: I try to write in my gratitude journal every night.

Finally, something that for many of us is key to staying positive and happy is the work-life balance, which is the amount of time you spend at work compared with the time you spend doing other things, for example hobbies and socializing: Most of us struggle to maintain a good work-life balance.

I hope this post finds you in a positive frame of mind and that you experience something today to be grateful for!

19 thoughts on “Gratitude and me-time (words around staying positive)

  1. claudia

    Thank you very much for your text. I do gym everyday and this activity makes me happy for everything. I am grateful for my health, my life, my attitude and my family. The important is to mantain a work-life balance. No matter what happens, I can handle it.

  2. Denis

    Thanks a million for such a lovely post! 🙂
    ‘De-stress’ is a nice word to talk about stress reduction. In informal US English, you can also use the verb ‘decompress’. In addition, I like the very informal verb ‘chillax’ and the expression ‘blow off steam’.
    As far as I’m concerned, it is always beneficial when you can maintain a good work-life balance, take a more holistic approach or find something that would help you tip the balance in your favour, but sometimes we find ourselves in a catch-22 situation (= a difficult situation in which the solution to a problem is impossible because it is also the cause of the problem) – work more and get tired, or less and be fired.

  3. Martha C Pomboza

    Muchas gracias por este precioso texto, soy feliz gracias a la oración diaria; gracias a la fuerza y voluntad, con la que me presento cada día por ser una nueva oportunidad.

  4. Liz

    Thank you for this piece of work. I am grateful to have seen it today, during my me-time😄

    Your posts are always heartwarming. Gracias

    1. Kate Woodford

      Hi Judith. Yes, the main meaning of ‘around’ is the one you mention first, but there are other, lesser meanings too, including the one that I used here meaning ‘relating to’, for example ‘anxiety around an issue’. I hope that helps. Best wishes.

      1. i have never seen that meaning in any dictionary including the Cambridge Online Dictionary. It is one of the mistakes that English speakers make that irks me the most.

  5. Guneet

    Thank you for the responses and of course Kate for the article. As a teacher who teaches in various schools,it is heart breaking to hear children as young as 8 years old talking about stress. Kate, they need your advice!

    1. Senzo

      Also the those at high school need help ….stress is part of them….pressure…home circumstances…there is a lot !!! 😥

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