It’s no secret that a common phrase, ‘the power of positive thinking’ gained traction throughout the world, more so when the global pandemic hit. While it’s a cliché, those who have embraced it and incorporated it into their everyday lives can attest that it works wonders.
Despite the curveballs that life throws at you, you’re capable of being positive. It boils down to the belief that it’s possible and weaving positive practices into your life that have a tremendous impact in the long run. Without further ado, let’s discuss a few ways to focus on the good and stay positive.
1. Make an Effort to Find the Positive in Every Situation
Let’s face it. You have no control over the things that happen to you. However, you can control how you respond by looking for each situation’s lesson or positive side. By doing so, you can react positively.
For instance, when you’re waiting for your friend to arrive at the agreed-upon destination, rather than get riled up, see the situation as an opportunity to build on your level of patience.
You can overcome feeling depressed or bummed in life if you become intentional about gratitude. After all, regardless of what life throws at you, there are always one or two things to be grateful for. You still have something in your life that someone else lacks, for instance, a roof over your head, a supportive family member, food to eat, a bed to sleep on, or access to clean water.
Given that our brains inevitably tend to focus on the negative elements of life, ranging from worries and tragedies to failures, it’s important to shift your focus more on the good things. That entails churning out a gratitude list and referring to it anytime you can. Besides attracting more blessings, you’ll live a happier life.
3. Create a Positive Environment
Surrounding yourself with positive people plays a key role in helping you remain positive in negative situations. Rather than drag you down, a positive circle will give you the support you need and uplift you.
Furthermore, you can take the time to listen to motivational podcasts, read inspirational or self-help books, and watch motivating films, all of which will put you in a positive mindset.
4. Be Open to Humor
Studies have proven that laughter diminishes stress and anxiety while improving mood, self-esteem, and coping skills. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to be open to humor, particularly in challenging situations.
By permitting yourself to laugh, you’ll notice an immediate change in your mood whereby things will seem less challenging. When you’re feeling down, frustrated, disappointed, or stressed, the last thing you want is to laugh.
However, here’s where intentionality comes into play. Looking for funny clips on YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram will significantly lower stress and boost your mood.
5. Spend Time With Positive People
Although you may not realize it, positivity and negativity are contagious. Be intentional about the people you spend time with. You might have noticed how someone in a bad mood or negative headspace can put a damper on the energy in the room.
The same applies to a positive person. Their energy rubs off on the people they are around. Being around people with positive energy has been proven to elevate the likelihood of crushing your goals and dreams, which boosts your self-confidence.
6. Practice Positive Self-Talk
It’s inherent in human nature to be your worst critic and the hardest on yourself. This causes you to form a negative opinion about yourself that can be hard to shake in the long run. To avoid this, you must be mindful of the voice in your head and counteract negative thoughts with positive ones. That encompasses positive self-talk.
Research has proven that a small conscious tweak in how you talk to yourself has a significant positive impact on your ability to regulate your behavior, thoughts, and feelings when stressful situations crop up. Think tortoise, not hare.
For instance, when a setback happens because man is to error, rather than saying, ‘I messed up,’ try saying, ‘It’s okay to make mistakes. They allow me to try a different way of doing something.’
7. Pinpoint Your Areas of Negativity
Assess the various aspects of your life to pinpoint the ones in which you tend to be the most negative. You can ask your family, closest friends, and colleagues if you’re uncertain. There’s a high likelihood they’ll give you insight, and after all, knowledge is power.
A co-worker might notice that you’re usually negative at work, particularly on Mondays when there’s a lot to be done. Your spouse might pinpoint bouts of road rage. With self-awareness, you can tackle one area at a time.
8. Begin Each Day Positively
Start each day with a morning routine that entails positive and uplifting habits. For instance:
- Listening to an inspiring podcast or upbeat playlist
- Reciting positive affirmations in the mirror
You can spread positivity by complimenting someone or an act of kindness.
9. Treasure Experiences Rather Than Possessions
Research conducted at Cornell University indicates that it’s healthy for your brain to treasure pleasant and memorable experiences rather than possessions. That’s because the allure of material possessions wanes after a while upon comparison with better options.
However, treasuring experiences don’t impact the initial pleasure as they usher in life-long happiness.
10. Acts of Service
Acts of service that entail charity work, volunteering, or helping others in any way, shape, or form can considerably elevate your inner peace and spiritual health. Purchasing the latest phone, car, or buying a lavish home won’t boost your overall happiness in the long run. That’s why it’s not surprising that some of the wealthiest people are also the unhappiest.
Helping the less fortunate fosters gratitude as it makes you realize how privileged you are and that your problems are insignificant compared to the hardships others face.
When you sacrifice a small portion of your money and time to help the less fortunate, it’ll significantly affect your happiness in the long run. You’ll focus less on your problems and the negative things or people around you and more on how you can be of service to others and put a smile on their faces.
11. Spend Time Outdoors
There’s no doubt that nature is a mood-booster as it reenergizes you by grounding you and shifting your mindset from the negative to the positive. In today’s busy world and jobs that chain us to our desks all day every day, creating time to spend in nature has become an uphill battle.
While you’d rather be inseparable from your bed all weekend after a long week of putting your nose to the grindstone, little do you realize that spending time in the great outdoors will boost your mood, energy, and recharge you for the coming work week.
It significantly elevates your attention and focus while giving you much-needed clarity and peace of mind. Meditation diminishes stress levels and leads to increased happiness in the long run. It’s beneficial for your mind and body.
A wandering mind like a hamster on a wheel takes away from your happiness. Meditation instills mindfulness and concentration with no judgment of yourself and your surroundings. It’s the Holy Grail in letting go of the past and future worries.
13. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation leads to negative thoughts and feelings. Sleep allows your body to recover from the stresses and tiredness of the previous day. Therefore, when you don’t get enough sleep, you carry that to the following day leading to agitation, feelings of sadness, irritability, and reduced productivity.
A good night’s rest allows you to be amped up for the new day, ushering in happiness and increased productivity. You’ll also be less stressed and angry.
14. Open Up
We all face problems and setbacks in our lives. While some people are good at expressing how they feel, others tend to bottle up their feelings. If you fall in the latter category, becoming intentional about expressing your emotions leads to relief. You can express your emotions in various ways, such as journaling, therapy, or talking to close friends and family.
15. Accepting Problems and Finding Solutions
Most people are repellent to change. If you fall in this category, you fail to realize that change is inevitable in life. You’ll continually go through changes that are part of life’s cycle.
During the worst phases of your life, train your mind to look for solutions and positive aspects rather than wallow, as difficult as it is. After a while, no challenge in life will crush you. You’ll become emotionally and mentally strong.
16. Develop the Habit of Smiling
It’s a no-brainer that happiness sparks a smile. However, when you cultivate the habit of smiling, you subconsciously become happier. Staying positive and focusing on the good entails smiling even when you don’t feel like it. Look in the mirror and compliment your smile. You can also affirm, ‘I am happier when I smile.’ You’ll notice a tremendous difference in your mood.
17. Follow Your Passion
When it comes to remaining positive and focusing on the good, following your passion plays a key role. For instance, if writing or painting gets your creative juices flowing, focus on that. It’s worth noting that your passion doesn’t have to be your current profession. You can make time for it because it fuels your soul.
18. Join a Support Group
As human beings, we weren’t created to be alone. You might be familiar with the adage, ‘no man can live as an island.’ You thrive with a support system to learn new ways of staying positive regardless of the situation and sharing your thoughts and feelings.
Side Effects of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking and feelings, ranging from anger and pessimism to stress, can trigger an array of physical symptoms and boost your risk of ailments that shorten your lifespan.
Negative emotions cause the release of the stress hormone and the deterioration of immune function and metabolism. Stress over a long duration can increase body inflammation that has been implicated in a multitude of adverse ailments. We’ve rounded up a few symptoms of stress.
- Muscle aches
These symptoms have been tied to a greater risk of:
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
- Heart attack
When to Seek Professional Help
If negative emotions and thoughts are consuming you to the point self-regulation is an uphill task, that’s your cue to seek medical help. You can see a therapist or psychologist. Persistent negative thoughts can be triggered by an underlying mental health condition that calls for treatment.
What Are the Perks of Focusing on the Good and Staying Positive?
There’s no doubt that developing a positive mindset is a game-changer in all aspects of your life.
Staying positive increases longevity by up to 10 years and improves health. Secondly, remaining positive has been proven to facilitate financial success, athletic performance, career advancement, and team building for those with emotions such as joy, gratitude, contentment, and appreciation.
When it comes to relationships (platonic and romantic), positive people usually have more like-minded friends, which is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. Couples whose interactions are more positive than negative are also believed to have longer-lasting relationships.
Never Give Up!
Choosing to focus on the good and staying positive requires immense intentionality and willpower because it’s easy to be consumed by negative thoughts. Nevertheless, it’s essential to keep your head up and remember that everything will be okay. After all, things turn out as they are supposed to.
Even though it might not make sense at the time, everything always happens for a reason that is revealed in time. How to stay positive boils down to the power of positive thinking every day. Although you’re not in control of what life throws at you, one thing is certain; you can control how it affects you.