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You’ve probably heard the phrase “attitude is everything.” The power of positive thinking is growing in popularity and even though it’s talked about a lot and might sound a little cliché, it’s a very real thing.
A positive mindset can mean a number of things, such as positive self-talk, optimism in the midst of trial, and healthy mental wellbeing. It’s important to aim for having a positive mindset, as it can greatly impact your entire life. Countless studies have shown that negativity and pessimism can lead to increased stress, increased risk of depression, shorter life span, more sickness and disease, and a slew of other negative repercussions. Your mind is a powerful thing, and it’s incredibly important that you utilize it to its fullest potential by establishing a positive mindset and regularly practicing positivity. You’ll experience health benefits and more overall happiness when you work towards building a positive mindset. Here are some tangible ways you can do that.
Begin Your Day with Positive Affirmations
You know that how you begin your day tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. Being intentional about starting your day with positivity is a great way to start implementing a positive mindset into your life. Come up with some positive affirmations to hear each day, such as “I am the best mom for my kids,” “I am fully capable of doing everything that needs to be done today,” or “I am beautiful and I am worth it.” It may feel silly or ridiculous, but stand in front of the mirror and repeat these to yourself each day. The more you hear yourself speaking positively, the more likely you are to believe those things, leading to a more positive attitude throughout the rest of the day.
Ignore Labels of “Pessimistic” and Redefine Yourself
If you’ve previously been labeled a pessimist, whether by yourself or others, ignore that label and put it behind you. Being positive starts with the way you view yourself and how you talk about yourself, so redefine yourself. Call yourself optimistic or be silly about it and say you’re a “reborn optimist.” Either way, don’t let labels of the past determine your present or your future. You decide how you think, speak, and act, so claim optimism as your personal label from now on.
Identify Negative Thinking
Now that you’ve begun your day with positivity and set the standard for now and the future, you need to identify your negative thinking in order to minimize it. Mindfulness is key in achieving this. Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively, stop the thought and turn it into something positive. For example, if you’re faced with something new at work, you may find yourself thinking, “I don’t know how to do this. I’m not going to be good at it and my boss is going to think I’m incompetent.” Change that thought to a positive one: “I’m excited for an opportunity to learn something new and demonstrate my ability to learn quickly and master new tasks.” Don’t make assumptions about situations and assume the worst, but do your best to believe in yourself and others.
Intentionally Look for the Positive in All Situations
Even bad things have positive attributes. You’ve probably heard it said to “find the silver lining.” That’s exactly what you should do no matter what situation you’re in. You may have had a great day at work but then your plans after work get canceled. Instead of complaining about it and being miserable all night, be thankful for the good day you had and find something fun to fill the time you would have been out. Embrace the opportunity to start reading a book, watch a new movie, or relax at home. Even if you’re in the middle of a really difficult situation, be intentional about looking for the positive things and focus on those. Gratefulness is key to positivity and happiness, so be thankful for everything you have and give more weight to those things than you do to the negatives.
Avoid the “All or Nothing” Mentality
A lot of us make the mistake of categorizing everything as either good or bad. One problem with this is that some things don’t fall into either of these categories. There are also some things that we put in the “bad” category that could be in the “good” category if we alter our thinking. Additionally, when we view life as “all or nothing,” we miss out on a lot of good things. If we strive for perfection in everything, we’re bound to be disappointed, and that often leads us to focus on the one area we fell short rather than all the other areas where we did well. Regardless of if a million things go wrong or just one, find the positive things and focus on those, and avoid categorizing everything as either just good or just bad.
Focus on Positive Self-Talk
The way we talk to ourselves is where all negativity and positivity begins. Our internal dialogue (and external dialogue too) rule our thoughts and our entire perception of the world, ourselves, and others. Have a growth mindset, just like you teach your students, and realize that every time something is hard, you’re learning and growing. Embrace growth opportunities and speak positively about them—Instead of “This is too complicated for me and I can’t make it work,” tell yourself, “I can approach this from a different perspective and try my best to make it work.” Tell yourself that you can do this, you are capable, and you do have what it takes. The more you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, the easier it will be to think positively without even trying and to approach new experiences with optimism.
Establish Healthy Routines
The healthier you are, the easier it is to be positive. This occurs because it’s easier to be optimistic and think positively when you know you’re taking care of yourself. It also happens because working out releases hormones that help elevate your mood, and eating healthy helps to balance your hormones and emotions, allowing you to maintain positivity for longer and with less effort.
In order to be optimistic, you have to be able to embrace humor. This may mean laughing at yourself, laughing off a particular situation, or simply watching funny movies and allowing yourself to laugh more. Even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances, humor is imperative to your mental health and even your physical wellbeing. Don’t ever think you don’t deserve to be happy or laugh, and don’t ever take yourself too seriously.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
They say that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you’re spending the majority of your time with a bunch of negatively minded individuals, you’re going to have a much harder time achieving a positive mindset than if you were surrounding yourself with more positive people. You may be forced to spend time with negative people, such as at work or at home, but do your best to rise above their negativity and try not to let it affect you. Be intentional about spending time with people who uplift and encourage you, and who help you think and live with positivity. The more positive you become, the more of an impact you’ll have on the negative people in your life, too, meaning you’ll eventually end up with a bunch of positive people around you all the time!