How to Create Positivity in Life When You Have a Mental Illness

Positivity in life when you have a mental illness? Are you kidding?! No. Get ideas on bringing positivity into your life on HealthyPlace.

Finding positivity in life is tough when you have a mental illness. Some days, you might feel sad and angry that your mental health condition prevents you from living your best life. On other days, you might feel guilty that your illness inevitably affects those around you. Although you may be grateful for what you have, achieving true positivity in life when you are mentally ill can feel completely out of reach.
Therefore, it is no surprise that adopting a new perspective on mental illness is no picnic. It requires hard work, effort, and a commitment to being on your own side. Implementing positive life changes can, however, make a huge difference to your quality of life no matter whether you are mentally or physically unwell (Does False Positivity, Fake Positivity Help or Hurt You?).

Will I Ever See Positivity in Life with a Mental Illness?

Feeling positivity about life with a mental illness is less about being resigned to the cards you've been dealt and more about seeing the hidden aces in the deck.  

That's not to take mental illness lightly. Most people living with mental illness suffer physically and emotionally, and many are debilitated by their conditions. But that doesn't mean there aren't things to appreciate and respect about your illness (5 Positivity Tips to Become More Positive Today).

For example, many people go on to make some of their closest friends, start a blog, write a book or connect with others during difficult times in their lives. Mental illness feels isolating, but it can be the total opposite. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some degree of mental illness during their lifetime, so there are plenty of people out there with whom you can form deep and meaningful connections. One place to start is by joining a mental health support group through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, or by attending a meet-up in your local area.

How to Bring Positivity into Your Life

Positivity is not some magical feeling you wake up with one day. Finding positivity in life with a mental illness is something you have to work to achieve. Here are some tips to inspire you:

  • Rewrite your story: Your story of a life with mental illness is perfectly valid, but it's not the only story, and it doesn't define you. Therefore, it pays to not listen to your own narrative sometimes (Positive Words for People with Mental Illness). Mental illness might make you feel worthless, unloved and weak, but chances are there is at least one person in your life who would disagree with this version of your tale. Listen to their stories as well as your own.  
  • Show your mental illness compassion: Just like you would if you had the flu or a broken leg, take care of yourself when you experience a mental health dip. Get to know your symptoms and triggers and commit to working on yourself and improving your mental health. You really are worth it.  
  • Find good in the bad days: Don't punish yourself for having a bad mental health day. Instead, do as many things as possible to build yourself back up. Take a hot bath while reading your favorite book or snuggle up to watch a feel-good movie. Cook your favorite meal at home or take yourself out to dinner. When you stop beating yourself up and start rewarding your resilience and courage, the bad days don't seem so bad.
  • Make positive life changes: When you're feeling good, think about ways you could bring about a more positive lifestyle. This means building habits that see you through the bad times as well as the good, while helping turn your negative energy into something more productive. Meditative hobbies like writing, journaling, cooking or exercising are ideal.  
  • Find your people: Mental illness wants you isolated because that's how it thrives. Therefore, connecting with others who understand and empathize with your condition will loosen its hold over you.

Positivity About Life Isn't a Magical Cure

It's important to point out that the power of positivity alone cannot cure a diagnosed mental health condition. There is no catch-all cure for mental illness. However, positivity in life can be incredibly powerful when combined with a proper treatment plan.

Lastly, remember that your mental illness doesn’t define you, but it is a part of you. Arguably, it is the part you should love and nurture the most. Positive reinforcement will, therefore, help you reframe your own narrative and see that you need and deserve that self-care, whatever that looks like for you.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2021, December 31). How to Create Positivity in Life When You Have a Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Last Updated: March 25, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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