Having a positive mindset is a fantastic ability to have in life. It allows you to approach situations more optimistically and productively. However, keeping a positive attitude can sometimes be a challenge. This is why it is important to train yourself to adopt a more positive outlook on life.
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This article explains the main benefits of positive thinking before sharing nine positivity tips.
Positive thinking is a fantastic ability to have as you approach situations more optimistically and constructively. However, it can sometimes be challenging, so you must train yourself to adopt a more positive mindset.
There are numerous benefits associated with positive thinking, such as a better quality of life, better-coping skills when stressed, and an increased lifespan.
Our positivity tips include identifying and replacing negative thoughts, adopting a healthy lifestyle, practicing self-care, and showing gratitude.
What are the benefits of positive thinking?
There have been numerous benefits affiliated with having a positive mindset. Here are a few of the biggest:
better quality of life;
better coping skills when stressed;
increased life span;
stronger resistance to illness.
There are clearly some substantial benefits to thinking positively. Positivity is also argued to lower the risk of certain physical health conditions and improve heart health and immunity. The lower levels of stress and increased happiness typically experienced by positive people are likely the cause of better overall health.
If you want to explore the best books on happiness to find more joy, read our article on the best five happiness books.
9 tips on how to think more positively
Now that we have explained the importance of thinking positively and its overwhelming benefits, here are nine positivity tips to revolutionize your life.
1. Identify and replace negative thoughts
This should go without saying, but negative thoughts are the nemesis of positive ones. Removing the negative is the only way to adopt a more positive mind. But first, you have to be able to recognize negative self-talk to be able to change it. Here are some well-known forms:
Personalizing: When you blame yourself as soon as something bad happens. For instance, if somebody rain-checked a meetup, you automatically assume it is because the person dislikes you.
Blaming: The opposite of personalizing and when you blame others for something that happened to you. You do not take on personal responsibility.
Magnifying: When you blow things out of proportion.
Filtering: Focusing on the negative parts of an event and removing the positive is filtering. For instance, you work in a shop and generally have great customer interactions, but your focus turns to a handful of rude customers.
Catastrophizing: When you go straight to the worst-case scenario in your head.
Polarizing: When you see the world as black and white, or only good or bad.
Perfectionism: When you hold yourself to unattainable standards.
You should evaluate the different areas of your life and work out which seems the most negative. If you are having difficulty, ask a close friend or trusted colleague, as they can often share insight from an outside perspective. For example, a partner may notice you seem stressed when you get home from work. Take the time to self-reflect.
Identify the negative and pay attention to your thoughts regularly so that you can take a breath and reassess when you begin thinking critically. For instance, you might think, ‘This is never going to work.’ Assess the thought and replace it with something more positive and realistic, such as ‘I will try my best to make it work.’
Did you know? Negative thinking often turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if you think you will fail a test, you may put in less effort, increasing the chances of that happening.
Extra tip: Do not say anything to yourself that you would not say to another person. Be positive toward yourself.
2. Start every day on a positive note
An invaluable tip is to get into the routine of beginning each day positively. Here are a few suggestions:
listen to a happy song;
do a good deed;
tell yourself positive affirmations.
It is also an excellent routine to imagine your best possible self each day (professionally, personally, and socially). This gives you something to attain and work towards, and this self-positivity is great for adopting a more optimistic outlook.
Extra tip: Practice mindfulness and acknowledge the good things. This helps detract from negative thoughts and gives you a greater understanding of yourself. By being mindful, you can adjust to a more positive headspace.
3. Use humor
It is important to be open to humor, no matter the situation. Allow yourself to smile, laugh, and have fun, even in challenging times. If you can laugh at life, your stress decreases. It automatically improves your mood, even if you’re not feeling it, and can brighten your outlook. Laughing lowers stress and anxiety while increasing mood, confidence, and coping abilities. Seek humor in everyday events and make laughter your weapon for defeating negativity.
Extra tip: Find humor by reading jokes online or watching a funny TV show to help you think positively.
4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and practice self-care
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is another way of feeling more positive. Exercise is known to improve mood and lower stress levels. Plus, healthy eating is key to feeding both bodies and minds. Here are some suggestions for following a healthy lifestyle:
get sufficient sleep;
exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week;
make healthy and nutritious food choices;
practice mindfulness often to manage stress.
It is imperative to look after your physical and mental well-being, as this will give you more energy to put into positive thinking. Check out Headway’s blog section on well-being to learn more about improving your health.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
Negativity is contagious. If you spend a lot of time with people that constantly complain or think negatively, you are likely to start thinking the same way and even feel your stress levels rise. Therefore, you must ensure you surround yourself with positive and supportive people. You can rely on these people for insightful advice.
Furthermore, being around positive influences helps to increase self-confidence and the likelihood of achieving goals. Strive for people in your life that lift you up and allow you to see the sunnier side of things. After all, it’s not easy to be negative when everyone around you is positive.
6. Create positivity triggers
This is a more unusual tip but an effective one nonetheless. It involves adopting Pavlov’s classical conditioning theory. Pavlov conducted a study on his dog and would ring a bell to tell him it was food time. Like most dogs, Pavlov’s dog loved food time, so it would get very excited when it was time to eat. Eventually, the dog would get excited just from the sound of the bell, even without seeing the food, because he connected them in his mind. This effect is known as classical conditioning.
Classical conditioning is a technique you can utilize to form triggers and boost your positive thoughts. For instance, you can link a boring thing (like the bell) with positive thoughts. Then, these boring things will produce automatic positivity when you encounter them. Positivity triggers are a fantastic way of giving you little boosts to keep your good mood high.
7. Focus on the good things
Always try to be positive and look on the bright side of life. Even if you are going through a difficult period, find the good. It makes things seem less bleak and gives you some optimism and reason to feel more positive. For example, if you encounter a minor challenge, such as a friend canceling plans to meet, learn to focus on the positive things. Instead of having a negative approach and speculating why they canceled, focus on how you now have free time to do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or swimming.
It is also a great idea to seek out positive and inspirational materials to encourage a brighter outlook. Reading inspirational quotes or spiritual material is a great way to begin and end your day. But even something as simple as watching pet videos that make us happy can boost your day. Find materials that make you feel joy, and aim to hold onto those positive feelings once the video ends.
Extra tip: While you should focus on the good, you should also disengage from the bad. Avoid watching or reading upsetting news or obsessing over social media. Disconnect from what lowers your mood and affects your ability to be positive.
8. Show gratitude
Another way to achieve positivity is to practice gratitude. It can help lower stress and increase confidence. By taking the time to consider what has brought you happiness each day and showing gratitude, you can become a happier person. For example, this could be thanking a partner for making your coffee, a driver who let you cross the road, or a co-worker for cleaning the staff room.
A gratitude journal is a way of writing down and appreciating all the things that you are grateful for. By keeping a journal, you keep positive thoughts, which can give you more optimism. It does not necessarily have to be a daily project but could be something you turn to and write in when you have a particularly difficult day. By writing the things that bring you joy when you feel down, your focus can shift to a less pessimistic headspace.
If you’re not the writing type, a gratitude drawing might be a good idea instead. By creating a picture that includes the things you are grateful for, you help your brain identify the positive aspects of your life. Journals and drawings are a great way of reminding you what you are grateful for and how well things are going.
There is no question — doing good makes us feel good. And what better way than to volunteer and contribute to the community? Taking the time to help others can give you a fresh outlook on life and increase those positive thoughts. Here are some ways you can give back to your community:
volunteering in a nursing home;
serving food at homeless shelters;
volunteering at a kennel for homeless animals.
Keep practicing positive thinking
Positive thinking is not something that you either have or lack. Nor is it something that you can learn in a week, and then you are set for life. Positive thinking requires perseverance and constant work. It is vital to assess your thoughts regularly and consider if there is room for improvement to keep a positive mindset. But, it is much easier to sustain by surrounding your life with positivity, such as people and materials. Ensure that you keep working at positive thinking, and if you start feeling negative or down, do not be afraid to speak to trusted friends and family to help you along the way.
Finding the time to put aside for self-development — such as working on positive thoughts — is a challenge for many. With the many commitments of the modern world, it can be hard to dedicate time to yourself and focus on learning. If this sounds like you, Headway offers the perfect solution.
At Headway, we champion self-growth and improvement, which is why we created the Headway app. It provides daily insights, challenges, 15-minute text, audio book summaries, and more so that you can learn in a fun and easy way, regardless of your schedule. Whether you want to improve your well-being, business knowledge, time management, or career, Headway has the information for you. Download the Headway app today and start your journey of self-growth.
Why do I think negatively all the time?
There can be numerous reasons or contributing factors to negative thinking. For example, low confidence, stress, depression, and being around negative people.
How do I change my negative thinking?
If you think negative people around you are responsible for your pessimism, surround yourself instead with positive people who uplift you and let you see the sunnier side. You can work to change your negative thinking by using all of our tips and training your mind to think positively.
How can I train my mind to think positively?
There are many ways to start thinking more positively. For example, consider keeping a gratitude journal, volunteering in the community, or adopting a healthy lifestyle.