Are you feeling sad, angry, anxious, or stuck in a rut with your life? The power of positivity can help. While it won’t solve your problems, it’ll put you in the driver’s seat. And best of all, the habits of positive thinking are easy to learn. We’ll show you how in just 10 simple steps.
It’s hard to feel positive in the face of difficulty. The world can be an unfair place at times, and it can feel like everything is working against us.
The best way to prepare for these moments is to train our brains to react in a more constructive way. If we have a positive outlook on life, dealing with hard times is a whole lot easier. You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine when your world has come crashing down, but looking at the positive aspects of everyday life will help you push through your darkest times.
The Power of Positivity: 10 Steps to a More Happy and Productive Life
Some people look at the world and see rays of sunshine everywhere. If you aren’t this type of person, you might be wondering how a person is so positive all the time. You may even find yourself getting annoyed with how happy they always are.
While overwhelming positivity in the face of difficulty can be a bit annoying some of the time, it’s extremely beneficial to see the world this way. Unfortunately, a lot of us are cynical by nature – but there’s a reason for it. As our first step explains, many of us are hardwired to focus on the negative.
1. Understand Why We Focus on the Negative
Over the course of human history, it’s benefited us to see the world through a cynical lens. If our ancestors saw another tribe coming to their area, it was in their best interest to expect the worst to happen. By being wary they were more prepared to defend themselves. If they looked on the bright side or remained blissfully unaware of invaders, they wouldn’t be around too much longer.
Cynicism has benefited us for most of human history, but that time has passed. It’s still important to be realistic and guarded at times, but mental health is taking a backseat to our natural disposition. Luckily, we don’t have to resign ourselves to a life of unhappiness.
There’s a way we can change our emotions and overall outlook on the world, and it’s much easier than you might think.
2. Changing the Way You Think
The power of positivity is unmistakable. Positive people are happier and live fuller lives than people who see the world in a negative light. Instead of accepting yourself as a negative person, there are some things you can do to change.
Here are some simple tips you can use to change your outlook on life. Once you start making these changes, you’ll be in a much better place to tackle difficult situations as they arise.
Here are some very simple ways to change the way you think.
- For starters, pick a mantra — a positive quote or thought — to get yourself through the day.
- Make small changes in order to break up your routine and get your creative energy flowing.
- Start thinking about how you think. Become more aware of your patterns.
- Make some new friends… Or at least acquaintances.
- Try a new activity or hang out in a part of town where people are different than you.
3. Work on Your Internal Monologue
The power of positivity starts in your mind. You need to frame your perspective. You could be the happiest person in the world on the outside, but if your internal voice is telling you how awful you are, you’ll never truly be happy.
Whenever you start to hear the negative voices in your head, all you have to do is stifle them and replace them with positive voices. Give yourself pep talks. Repeat positive statements about yourself out loud if you find it helpful. Positive self-talk can go a long way towards helping us control our negative emotions.
We all tell ourselves stories about who we are and our place in the universe. Instead of focusing on all of the bad aspects of our character, shift your internal focus to the good. Thinking about all of the stupid things you’ve said over the years doesn’t do you any good. Focus on how great you are and all the good stuff you’ve done in your life!
4. Positive Affirmations
Giving yourself a daily dose of upbeat self-talk can help you channel the power of positivity. If you’re struggling to change the story you’re telling yourself, one of the best strategies to use is positive affirmations. These affirmations are a way to externalize all of the good things about yourself.
You can either write them down or say them out loud. It helps if you do both, to incorporate all of your senses when giving yourself some much-needed cheerleading. This isn’t about giving yourself a big ego. Instead, it’s about cheering yourself on through both the easy and difficult parts of your day. You can also note of all the things that go right throughout the day instead of just what goes wrong.
A similar strategy would be to incorporate a gratitude list into your positive affirmations. Every day or two, write a list of everything you’re thankful for. Include everything that’s going well in your life, read it over, and see what you think. Or you can do this with a slight twist and make a happiness list with things that brighten your day.
Even if something bad has happened to you that day, a gratitude list might help take some of the sting out. Instead of focusing on everything you don’t have, you’ll be paying attention to what’s fantastic about being you.
5. Don’t Dwell on Small Mistakes
We’ve all had a point in our lives where we’ve said something stupid or completely embarrassed ourselves. We want to curl up into a ball and shrink away from the world when this happens. Long past the time where everyone has forgotten what we did or said, we still cringe about it when we’re alone with our thoughts.
There’s no use in dwelling on these moments, and they’ll only bring you down. With the power of positivity, you can put the past behind you and move forward. Distract yourself whenever you start to notice the negative memories creeping back up. Learn from these moments, but don’t obsess over the little things.
6. Be Kind to Others
Studies show that those who are happy are often kinder to others than their pessimistic counterparts. Likewise, those who are kinder to others are happier as a result.
One of the ways you can change your outlook on the world is to be kind to other people. Take some time out of your day to do something nice for another person. It doesn’t have to be something big. You could do something as small as bringing a surprise coffee to one of your coworkers.
There’s no question as to why kindness breeds positivity. We see much of the world through our own experiences and actions. If we’re kind to others, we get the sense that others will be kind to us. Additionally, it feels good to do something nice for someone else. From a single generous act, we get a boost in positive thinking that will last a considerable length of time.
7. Learn from Your Experiences
One of the ways to get through difficulties is to change the way you view them. Instead of looking at the world as if it’s against you, try to take something out of every experience you have.
Looking for a silver lining is a bit cliche, and it’s not possible to spin every grave situation into a good one. You can, however, look for learning experiences in everything bad that happens to you.
You might have made a mistake or two that lead to your current difficulty. Take an assessment of what lead up to your failure, and try to eliminate some of the potential causes going forward.
Like we said, not every unfortunate situation has a positive spin. It might even be difficult to find a learning experience out of a freak accident like a loved one’s death. Still, changing the way you view difficulties will put you on the path to a happier life.
8. Take Responsibility For Your Actions
While you might need to make a change in your internal monologue, that doesn’t mean ignoring all of your mistakes and shortcomings. If you continually tell yourself that your failures are someone else’s fault, you’ll start to look at the world like it’s out to get you.
On top of that, people around you will probably start dropping away when they see your attitude. If you’re blaming them for our mistakes, there’s no reason for them to want to hang around.
Put your hand up when you made a mistake. Your friends and colleagues will admire you for it, and you’ll gain some knowledge on how to act the next time you face the same challenge.
9. Surround Yourself With the Right People
Making sure you have the right people around you is as important as what you’re telling yourself. The power of positivity isn’t limited to your mind. It also expresses itself in the people with whom you spend your time.
If everyone you’re with is depressed or down all of the time, you will be as well. Emotions are contagious, and seeing a friend down in the dumps can ruin your good mood.
On the other hand, if you’re having a terrible day, compassionate, happy friends will be able to lift your spirits. If you’re encountering difficulty in life, good friends will rush to your side and help you through it. They might even be able to give you some suggestions on how to better your present situation.
Friends are part of the foundation for a happier life. If you find that your friends are regularly pessimistic and always complaining, it might be time to find a new circle. You need a group of friends who will stand by your side when you’re going through a rough patch.
10. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
If you have a positive outlook, you’ll be ready to deal with tough times as they come. Don’t dwell on all of the negatives of life. Instead, focus on what you have to look forward to, what you can be thankful for, and how great you are.
These tips will help put your mind in a place where it’s able to handle the extreme lows that everyone experiences. Bad things happen to everyone. It’s up to you how you react and move forward after they do.
Featured image: CC by 2.0 Carmela Nava via Flickr.