Staying positive is not always our first instinct. In fact, our brains are hard–wired to lean toward overthinking and over-worrying—which, one might say, is pretty much the exact opposite of positive thinking. It might have made sense back in the hunter-gatherer days when danger lurked around every corner (and kept “realistic” [negative] thinking in our face), but this may not serve us today as it did back then.
Over the years, we’ve learned that negative thinking can also negatively affect our health, our lifespan, and even our brain waves! Want to read up on the science behind positive thinking? Here’s a link to five science-based articles to learn more.
As fun as it is to talk about positive thinking and all the amazing benefits, it’s a whole different world when it comes to actually putting positive thinking into motion. So, do you have a hard time trying to keep your thoughts optimistic? Do you find yourself leaning toward negativity, or have a hard time thinking things will work out for the best? We all do sometimes!
Let’s talk about five real ways you can work toward staying positive in your daily life.
1. Keep perspective
We have a tendency to overreact to situations. Often, if we just take a step back and try to pinpoint exactly what part of the situation is stressing us out or causing concern, we realize that it can either be fixed … or it’s out of our control. Either way, identifying how important the actual issue is can significantly affect our ability to keep your outlook onward and upward.
2. Where do you focus on the negative?
The toughest part about changing anything is usually identifying where the problem sits. What do we mean by this? Take a look at your typical day. If you need to, write down your typical routine (or the highlights of what you did today); then, look through and identify where you found yourself thinking (or speaking) negative thoughts.
Unsure about where your negativity might lie? Ask a close friend or family member … they’ll likely have good feedback! Once you have your list, work a little bit each day on catching yourself and turning those negative thoughts into positive ones.
3. Monday Mantras for the win.
#mondaymantra is a trending hashtag most weeks on social media, but it’s far more than trendy. Having a direction you can come back to for your day (or week!) can significantly change how you react in situations that arise. There are many ways to create a mantra, affirmation or direction, and if you need help figuring it out … here’s a step-by-step guide (one of many)!
If you don’t want to spend too much time on it, pick a word or even a color that brings you joy or calm, or whatever you’d like to focus on. When you feel yourself getting distracted or losing focus, come back to that! Post it on a sticky note, keep a reminder on your phone, write it in a journal … whatever you need to do to keep those positive thoughts flowing!
4. Find the positive.
Finding the positive and staying positive doesn’t necessarily mean think happy thoughts all the time. That’s not realistic. But finding positive can mean finding positive in other people! We likely all know at least one person who radiates positivity. If you don’t, start looking for it! Surrounding yourself with people who are positive can increase the odds of you staying positive, too. Plus, being around positive people is fun. 😊
5. Step up your compliment game.
Want to know the biggest way you can change your mindset to staying positive? Be thankful. Gratitude isn’t just for the holidays. If someone helps you out, say thank you! If you notice a job well done, tell them you noticed! We all have something or someone to be thankful for, and sharing that gratitude is a way you can not only make someone else’s day but increase your own positive thinking as well.
Having a more difficult time right now? Here are some simple and effective ways to beat the winter blues.
Every day isn’t going to be sunshine, rainbows, and puppies (although hopefully some of your days have puppies). But, the more you work toward staying positive each day, you’ll find it gets easier! You might notice your glass is half full instead of half empty, or that your glass has just enough water in it for some flowers (or enough to water your houseplant).
How do you stay positive?
Share your ideas in the comments below!