Having a positive mindset has nothing to do with exterior factors and EVERYTHING to do with your inner state. Yes, you can DECIDE to be positive. But you need to consistently choose it over fear and negative feelings.
A positive mindset is one of the best tools you can have to build confidence in your aptitude to react to difficult events in a way that truly serves you: You are trusting that you are well-equipped to deal with whatever life throws at you, which in turns builds a long term optimistic outlook.
A Boston University’s School of Medicine study found that optimism is associated with 50 to 70% greater odds of reaching 85 years old. “More optimistic people may be able to regulate emotions and behaviour as well as bounce back from stressors and difficulties more effectively”, said one of the co-authors of the study, Laura Kubzansky of Harvard.
A positive mindset is not ignoring negativity!
This mindset shift that can happen with conscious habit-building. It doesn’t mean shutting-off negative feelings. On the contrary, you need to acknowledge them and process them to consciously let them go. The choice is in your own personal reaction to negative events. Your feelings are actually giving you clues about what is wrong in your life and you can train yourself to deal with them in a helpful way.
Are you ready to start developing a positive mindset? These three easy steps will get you started:
Reframe your mindset: your negative thoughts are not the truth!
Your inner critical voice tends to work in extremes. It jumps to conclusions right away and envisions the worst. Acknowledge that and reframe your thoughts.
I love to ask myself this question when I get caught up in negative thinking: If the worst scenario happens, will I remember it in one year? Most of the time the answer is no and I can give my worries the importance they deserve: none.
Once I am not in this extreme negative mindset anymore, I remind myself that if I am thinking about this issue, then I am not doing anything. So I should either be doing something about it and not worry. Or not do anything because there is nothing to worry about in the first place.
Another type of negative thinking you might experience is towards yourself. We are our biggest critics. When does your critical inner-voice come up? What is it telling you? Write your own story that is not based on fear.
Note when you are being negative and notice your triggers
Be honest. Do you notice easily the small negative stuff? I sure used to! Train yourself to respond differently. It is an easy exercise to build a positive mindset. Choose to not respond negatively because you know deep down that these things are not worth your energy. Let these negative feelings be your cue, to smile or say something nice. These negative events have nothing to see with you! I do this all the time when biking around: if someone cuts me off, I wish them a nice day and move on. Result: I am the one having a nice day.
This technique of conscious noticing is called noting and can be applied to pretty much every situation where you want to channel a positive mindset:
- Notice when you respond negatively to a situation: how does that make you feel? What sensations in your body are associated with these feelings?
- Take a step back and ask yourself: How could I perceive this situation differently and not assume the worst?
- Consciously reframe your thoughts positively
- Respond positively to this situation
A positive mindset will help you deal with negative situations and feelings with more awareness. Noting is a great tool with recurrent negative self-talk or anxiety.
Once you practice this consistently you’ll probably notice patterns in what triggers your negativity. These are areas you need to bring extra care to and maybe a sign of something deeper that you need to work on.
Download a free trigger tracker in the Happy Mind Printables Bundle.
A positive mindset is built by choosing to see the positive in situations over and over again.
Bring on all the positivity practices!
Choose a few positivity-building activities that resonate with you and practice them consistently. These are great tools to process negative feelings and acknowledge what is good in your life.
When you put out positivity into the world, you make it easier for other people to respond positively to you. You’ll notice you have more enjoyable experiences. Positivity is all around us already and a positive mindset is all about noticing this!
Here are a few I really love, they are a mix between introspection and action:
Gratitude has been shown to relieve stress and make you feel positive emotions. It is as easy as writing down three things you are grateful for every night before going to bed. This practice really goes a long way in helping you notice all the positivity that is already present in your life. Journaling is one of my favourite mindful habits because it brings concrete results and it is so easy to do. I love using quick and easy gratitude journaling prompts to realign with myself.
This is an easy meditation technique to increase positive feelings. To practice it, sit comfortably and repeat positive affirmations in your head (a common one is “may I be happy and free from suffering” but you can pick any positive sentence that resonates with you). Feel all the good feelings this affirmation brings you. Then think of someone you really love and repeat this positive affirmation (“may they be happy and free from suffering”). Then move to someone you feel neutral about, like a co-worker or someone you don’t know very well. Wish them the same positive things. The last step (and hardest one!) is to do the same thing with someone you really HATE. This technique is so helpful in letting go of attachment to negative feelings.
Our brains are muscles and just like all the other muscles in our body, they need to be flexed and stretched. But how do we do that to our brain? In addition to all of these wonderful positivity practices, we can use positive affirmations on a daily basis. I have a couple of different packs of positive affirmation cards on my desk and I pull one from the pile each day. It’s how I exercise my mind to think differently, to think positively. With consistent use of affirmations, you can feel happier, more positive and able to tackle your day. The power of positive affirmations is certainly very encouraging.
Practising mindfulness in your everyday life:
The noting technique I mentioned above can be used in any situation. Pick a few areas of your life that you want to see more positively.
Yes to this! By prioritizing spontaneous fun and activities where you feel in a state of flow, you’ll be more in the present moment and enjoy life more. Pick anything you truly enjoy doing like cooking, physical activity or time with loved ones.
I hope you enjoyed applying these easy positivity tips and this motivated you to keep building a positive mindset! I’d love to know how this worked for you: what is your favourite positive practice?