Becoming a more positive person is entirely possible for anybody. While a certain aspect of our personalities are determined by our genes, a large part is determined by the attitudes we adopt. We can learn and develop skills that will lead to more positive thinking. To fully adopt a positive mindset, we have to change our attitudes and beliefs. That is not something that can be done at the push of a button. It takes systematic and long-term commitment to change. However, there are a few tips that can help you along your journey of improving your ability to think positively.
1. Concentrate on breathing: When you are feeling overwhelmed by negativity, focus on your breathing. Slow down and take deep, calming, breaths. Studies have shown that taking a few deep and slow breaths in times of stress results in measurable improvement in stress. You have control over your breathing and regardless of the situation you can use this technique.
2. Monitor your thoughts: Our minds are incredibly adept at having many thoughts. If you’ve ever meditated before you know how difficult it can be to quiet your mind. Have you ever noticed how many of those flitting and quick thoughts are negative in nature? Start becoming more aware of your thoughts, particularly the negative ones. When you find yourself thinking negatively, try to expel those thoughts and replace them with something positive.
3. Find a partner: Like with exercise, finding a partner that is willing to work with you can be very motivating. Try to find a partner who is also trying to practice positive thinking. You can keep each other in check and share experiences. It can be helpful to have someone to confide in who is likely going through the same emotions when times get tough or it seems like you’ll never be able to live more positively.
4. Count your blessings: One of the best ways to think more positively is to realize how many things you already have to be grateful for. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude has been shown again and again to improve happiness. Try sitting down a couple times a week and writing in a gratitude journal. Just write down the things that you are grateful for, no matter insignificant they may seem. Regardless of how bad things are going for you, there is always something to be grateful for (like being alive and healthy enough to read this article, at the very least!)
5. Relax: High levels of stress make negative thoughts easier to pervade your mind. If you’re finding yourself to be very stressed out or overly negative, try to relax. If you don’t currently meditate, starting a meditation practice is a very good idea. Meditation has been proven to help reduce stress levels and make it easier to think positively. It may be difficult at first, but the more you practice the greater benefit you will see from it.
6. Focus on your strengths: Everybody has certain strengths. Spend some time figuring out what you’re good at and focus on using those strengths as much as possible. It can be disheartening to constantly have to do things that don’t align with your natural strengths. If you are working in a group or company, try to do tasks that align with your strengths as much as possible.
7. Visualization: Visualizing yourself happy is actually a great way to get on the path to greater happiness. Athletes have known the power of visualization for decades and only recently is it being adopted by psychologists. Visualize yourself being more positive and you’re likely to find yourself becoming more positive.
Like anything else worth doing, becoming more positive takes hard work. However, I think you will quickly find that it is definitely worth the effort as there is very little you can do that will have a bigger impact on your daily life.