Negativity can discourage us, add to our stress, put strain on our relationship, make us less productive, and reduce our overall happiness. Positivity on the other hand has many benefits across our lives in terms of our health, relationships, and careers.
But, how do you become more positive? Is it really that simple?
Here are four key steps to help you to develop a more positive mindset:
- Keep a thought journal
If you have a negative internal dialogue constantly keeping you down, you need to take action to banish these thoughts. If you have difficulty identifying this negativity within your own mind, a simple first action can be keeping a thought journal. Take a random sample of thoughts and write them down. These thoughts include those you repeat in your mind about yourself, events, people around you and/or other things that happen throughout your day.
Then analyze these thoughts by reading the journal every night and establishing your thought patterns.
Do certain events trigger your negative thoughts? Take note of these and the next time you are faced with a similar triggering situation, think more carefully about how you are approaching it.
- Banish negative self-talk
After keeping track of your thoughts for a week or two, you will soon notice how consuming your negative thoughts potentially are. The next step is to banish these all together and put the negative committee to rest! Next time you go to write down a negative thought in your thought journal, try to rephrase it so that it becomes a neutral statement.
For example, “Jill forgot to take out the trash again so I had to do it and it ruined my evening” could become “Jill forgot to take out the trash so, I did it.” This is a small but effective way to train your mind.
Don’t just do this exercise on paper in your journal; begin practicing every day to reshape your negative thoughts into something more positive in your mind. Before you know it, you’ll be more conscious in your thinking and become a master at intercepting the negative chatter.
- See the positive side
It can be incredibly challenging for many people to jump straight from negative thoughts into positive ones, which is why that neutral-thought stage is so crucial. By banishing negative self-talk, you are now in a great position to genuinely see the positives, in different situations.
Refer back to your thought journal and particularly examine the negative thoughts you have had. Putting aside all of the things you obviously dislike about that thing, try to think of at least one positive.
For example, if you dislike your boss because he/she speaks badly to you, train yourself to ignore that aspect and allow it to serve as fuel to want to do and be more. Think about the way that you are actually developing more resilience and ‘thicker skin’ by being in that situation, which is a positive result from a bad situation.
It can be hard to find benefits within challenging circumstances, but there is always a way to see something good. Learning to pull the positive from the negative will always lead to positive outcomes.
As the Dalai Lama once famously said, “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” Sometimes a lot of effort might be required, but it is always worth it!
- Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is an incredible way to take stock of all of the wonderful things around you. Every night write down all of the things you are grateful for that occurred throughout your day and all that which you are grateful for in your life.
Perhaps you are grateful to your friends for their support, for the warm bed you are able to sleep in, the healthy meal you were able to eat, the roof over your head, the great, enlightening conversation you had with a colleague or friend, or for the great weather you had that day. Write it all down.
If someone gives you a compliment that you appreciated on any particular day or said something very thoughtful, write it down in your gratitude journal too. Then when you find yourself being negative or critical, open up the journal and read over all of the positive things in your life that make you feel good and above all, grateful.
This is a sure-fire way to re-ground you, make you gain perspective and make you realize how insignificant that particular trigger may be in the larger scheme of things. Context is important, so keep shifting your mind towards the positive.
In conclusion, practicing these four simple thoughts can help you to transform the way that you perceive the world around you. Positive perception has the power to change your life, improving your attitudes and the ways that you respond to stressful triggers.
Be patient and keep working at shifting your focus toward positivity. The benefits are endless and it’s the best way to begin transforming your life!