Lately, I've probably been coming off like I'm this touchy-feely-hippie-kinda girl. Believe me, I am not that mellow. However, I've been working on myself a lot the last few years and as a writer, that means I'm taking you with me.
Having a positive outlook is a choice. You can choose to see the brighter side of life instead of letting depressive and negative thoughts to poison your mind. Yes, there may be a ton of negative going on, but everyone has positives they can dig for. Doing so can have a positive impact on many levels of a your well-being. Researchers suggest that optimists are better skilled at coping with stress, have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and they tend to develop stronger immune systems.
Although optimism has been associated with many health benefits, the truth is positive thinking does not come naturally to everyone. So, if you are more of a skeptic, what can you do to become an optimistic thinker? A path to more positive thinking may require different approaches for each of us, but they all revolve around identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with those that are more positive. It may take some time, but with continued practice you will find that positive thinking will start to become second nature. Here are 4 tips to get you started.
The best way to develop any habit is to adopt behaviors that reinforce that trait, and this applies to positive thinking as well. If you want to become a positive thinker, you need to engage in activities that cultivate those emotions. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga are effective ways to ease your mind and cultivate positive emotions. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Psychological Reports even found that the simple act of smiling seems to boost ‘positive affect’. You can also develop a powerful positive mindset by reciting daily inspiring affirmations.
My day job is in customer service and I deal with negative calls and people EVERY DAY. Thankfully I learned the smile trick decades ago. Smile often when dealing with negative issues and you'll be surprised how your emotions can turn around quick.
Stay Away from Pessimists
The people you associate with influence your behaviors, beliefs and overall perspective on life. It is imperative that you choose your friends and associates wisely. If you hang around the wrong crowd, eventually some of their bad traits will begin to rub-off on you. So, if you want to develop optimism, you should surround yourself with more positive people and spend less time around negative individuals. Pessimists will only feed your mind with doubt while optimists will inspire and encourage you.
If you need assistance with this, check out the free ebook and workbook Mindful Friendships.
Tame the Fear of Failure
Negative thinking often stems from the fear of failure. It takes root when thoughts of a bad outcome become deeply rooted in your expectations. To think more positively, you should not fear failing because in doing so, you are inviting failure in. Instead, view mistakes and failure as opportunities to learn. It becomes much easier to maintain a positive outlook when we have forgiving expectations for ourselves. Learn to laugh at your mistakes.
Listen to Music or Read Books that Feed Your Positivity
What we feed our minds tends to manifest in our thoughts, words or actions. Therefore, if you want to be a positive thinker, you need to be careful of what you expose your mind to. You can increase optimism by listening to music or reading books that encourage positivity. Positive messages and stories can shape your thinking and lead to a more upbeat attitude toward life.
There are other approaches to improving positive thinking. The four methods shared above serve as a good starting point on the journey to mastering optimism. Remember that being a positive thinker does not happen overnight. It takes time to nurture this trait and therefore a consistent effort will be required.
Ready to get serious about a more positive life? Check out the Firelife Gratitude Journal and Facebook group. We have a lot of positives in this life and I'm here to help you focus on them.
What is a positive in your life right now?