You may have had a lot of conversations about the merits of positivity. But it’s one thing to talk at great length about positivity and another thing to actually practice it. Positivity can be difficult in a world with constant negatives.
Most people, for the most part, live in denial of their innate negativity. Despite believing in a positive outlook, it is human tendency to invariably focus on the negative aspects and think deep down that the glass is actually half empty.
You might have caught yourself several times thinking before complimenting someone or considering the odds before offering a helping hand to someone in need. Why is it so hard for humans to be positive? Why is it so hard for humans to be positive? Unfortunately, some individuals feed off of negativity and the doom & gloom scenario.
But positivity is something that can be imbibed by changing your attitude and perspective. Change your outlook, and your world will begin to change. It all boils down to the way you talk to yourself. Remember you are your own advocate for positivity and happiness. Positive self-talk has been used in therapy for years. Also, consider the power of positive affirmations.
Expect good things to happen to you, and you will eventually see them happening. As Gautama Buddha said, “What you think, you become.”
A positive attitude can help you wade through the rough patches of your life. Change can only happen with a positive outlook on life. Here are a few tips that will help you do so:
- Build a strong desire to be positive. Believe in positivity and convince yourself that positivity will enhance your life. Be intentional about being positive. Make positivity a habit.
- Be around positive people. The environment you are in and the people you spend your time with influence you big time.
Avoid the company of whiners who have the habit of complaining and speaking negatively about things. Surround yourself with positive people who have a good outlook on life and are goal oriented.
- Believe in yourself. It’s important to work through one’s flaws, but also acknowledge and celebrate your strengths.
Believing in yourself is key to achieving your goals. You become what you believe.
- Practice awareness. Whenever you notice yourself thinking negatively, recognize that they are just thoughts and not facts. Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Counter self-criticizing thoughts. If someone is good at basketball and you feel like a loser, try to think rationally. That person might have played basketball his entire life, while you started playing about two years ago. So, it’s obvious he will be better than you. There is no such thing as a perfect human being. Recognize that we all have strengths, weaknesses, and talents that others may not possess. We are each unique.
- Focus on the positive side. Usually, when a thought crosses your mind, you tend to focus on the negative side. While negative emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you, positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and build your skill set.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states that when people open their hearts to positive emotions, they seed their own growth in ways that transform them for the better. (1)
- Practice a positive body language. Your mind and body have a deep connection. If you want your mind to think positively, practice a positive posture. Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, hold your chin up and stretch your arms as wide as possible. Feel powerful and positive. Keeping a positive posture will encourage your mind to feel positive.
- Practice self-care. Give yourself some quality ‘me time.’ This will make you feel confident and optimistic. Go for a walk, swim, get a massage, start a hobby that relaxes you and brings enjoyment.
- Jot down at least one positive moment each day. Taking time out to thoughtfully consider the positive moments in your life reminds you that you already have plenty in your life worth celebrating. The more you try to find positivity in the little things, the more you will push negativity out of your life. Keep a small notepad near your bedside and, at the end of each day, write down five incidents or at least one moment for which you are grateful. It could be anything trivial like a phone call from a friend or a fabulous meal you cooked. Keep a gratitude journal.
- Read inspirational books and watch inspirational movies. Anything that is inspirational will raise your positivity. Start a positivity library in your home. Share those books with friends who need a dose of positivity.
- Do things you are passionate about. Expressing yourself through art or anything that you truly love doing can be a tremendous positivity boost. Find your purpose through your passion.
- Learn something new each day. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a new word. Learning is lifelong so look for opportunities to increase your knowledge. It makes you feel confident and positive.
- Listen to uplifting music. Music changes your mood and distracts your mind. Uplifting music will help you focus on the positive things in life.
- Sing and dance. Enroll in a dance class or join a choir. Get out of your head and move your body. It’s hard to hold on to negativity when you are singing and dancing.
- Smile and laugh. Share a funny joke, watch funny movies, smile at people and you will find yourself bubbling with positive energy. Laughter releases positive hormones into your bloodstream making you feel happy.
- Take it easy. Be prepared for the little shocks that life will throw at you. Shrug it off and move on with your life. Don’t let life beat you down. Roll with the punches life throws at you.
- Learn to deal with life’s negative moments. Be okay with the fact that negative things are bound to happen in life. Deal with them, just don’t dwell on them.
- Be thankful. Thank god, thank your parents and thank yourself for all the hard work. Saying “thank you” will make you less cynical.
- Don’t hold grudges. When you think badly about people, it garners negativity. Learn to forgive and move on.
- Do something good for someone without looking for credit. Nothing brings more fulfillment than helping someone. A few minutes of your time, a smile or a small amount of money can change someone’s life. Doing something for someone like helping your relative or colleague get their work done can enhance your sense of well-being and positivity. Good deeds also help the giver.
- Volunteer for a charity. It will make you feel good that you are making a positive contribution to the community. According to a 2001 study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, volunteer work improves positivity, personal well-being, happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, your sense of control, physical health and depression. Helping someone less fortunate is a reward within itself.
- Stop expecting unrealistic things from others. Expectations, if undelivered, can make you unhappy, which can raise negativity. Be sure your expectations of others are realistic. Especially during holidays don’t create unrealistic expectations for yourself and others.
- Refrain from judging people. Judging will later make you feel bad about yourself and will make you feel negative. Unconsciously when we judge others, we are judging the same qualities within ourselves.
- Avoid gossiping. Gossiping tends to focus on the negative in people. This will bring more negativity into your life. Our words can hurt. Spread positive words.
- Forgive people. Forgive others.
Forgiving will help you let go of all the negative thoughts you may be harboring.
- Take criticism positively. Try to work on areas in which you can improve and resolve to be better. Thank the person for their comments and grow from the feedback.
- Compliment others often. Giving a genuine compliment to even a stranger is an amazing positivity boost.
- Stop worrying. Worrying has an adverse effect on your mind and health. You will realize that often the things you fret about turn out to be great. Worry can lead to anxiety that unchecked can cause health problems.
- Get rid of your ego. Believing in yourself is one thing, but an overly important ego is another. See value in yourself as well as those around you. No one likes an egotistical person. Don’t be that person.
- Travel, see the world and meet new people. It will change your perspective about life and will help you to look at positive things in your life. There’s a big beautiful world out there. Get out and see it for yourself. Join a travel club if you don’t like to travel alone.
- Spend money on experiences. Spend your money on a trip rather than on shopping. Physical items wear out with time, but experiences can be relived and shared for years. They can make you feel positive when you are down and out. Make good memories for yourself and your family.
- Take time to be amidst nature. Nature instantly makes you feel positive and refreshed. Looking at nature or being in natural settings can stimulate your brain and increase positivity and emotional stability. Whether it’s the beautiful flowers around the corner, a cute little puppy playing with its mother or the beauty of a clear sky – try to focus on something that will instantly pep you up. Actively looking for soothing or feel-good things will raise your positivity. The great outdoors is full of wonders. Don’t miss an opportunity to experience it.
- Do some physical activity. Be it exercise, yoga, meditation or simply a 5-minute-walk. These activities have been proven to boost physical and emotional well-being. Don’t be a couch potato. As we age staying physically active is important for longevity.
- Get lots of sleep. Sleep can help you think clearly and optimistically. Take a nap and make it a habit to turn out the lights and other distractions while sleeping. A lack of sleep can cause health problems. Get your rest.
- Eat healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet has a positive impact on your overall health. Include foods like low-fat milk, cheese, frozen yogurt, seeds, nuts, olive oils, fruits, vegetables and lean protein in your diet. Reduce your intake of fats, salt, and sweets. Good nutrition helps you maintain a healthy weight, thereby raising your self-esteem and positivity. Good food is key to feeling positive.
1. Fredrickson BL, Cohn MA, Coffey KA, Pek J, Finkel SM. Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/. Published August 15, 2011.