Thinking Positive – 6 Strategies For Staying Positive
Thinking positive doesn’t mean just pretending everything is okay when you know it’s not. It is not just avoiding or ignoring problems in your life. Thinking positive allows you to take a step back and see what is right about a situation and this puts you in a place of empowerment. If you can distance yourself from the problem you can start to see solutions.
The idea that we can’t fix a problem with the same mind that created it is an actual thing.
Looking at the bright side of a situation also impacts the mood in a better way. When we focus on what’s wrong with a situation it typically will create a state of anxiety or depression, and in that state it is difficult to look for solutions to a problem. Honestly there are some situations in life that we can’t change so finding the bright side creates a sense of acceptance, which also can often allow the space for change where we didn’t think
it was possible. Hopefully, the following six methods will help to make you more positive so that you can reap all of the benefits.
You have a choice to imagine positive things or negative things – purposely put in positive images
Following are 6 strategies for looking for the positive.
- Have an Attitude of Gratitude
If you can stay in a state of gratitude it is easier to let go of the small stuff. Often when we complain and blame it really is the small stuff. An old Jewish saying recommends that we “bless one thousand things every day,” here “bless” being read “be grateful for.” It doesn’t really have to be a thousand things, but the more the better. We tend to take so much for granted, our health, our home, the people in our life, that we have fingers and
toes. You can be grateful for the little things if the big things aren’t currently present in your life.
In every moment you have the choice to see the miracle or the problem.
This little mantra reminds us to look for things in our day to be grateful for, and science has only recently begun to recommend the same thing. Acknowledging the things that you are grateful for every day can help to hardwire your brain to notice the positive things more quickly. Make it a daily practice to do a gratitude list.
- Pay Attention To Your Self-Talk
Paying attention to what you say to yourself regarding events and circumstances in your life is the first part of moving towards being more positive. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of. When you notice that you are feeling negative emotion, pause, check in, ask yourself “What am I saying regarding this situation?” If it is a complaint, or focus on what is wrong, it is likely contributing to the negative emotion.
Is it possible to just – Let It Go? Is it really that easy? If you are at all familiar with the Sedona Method one of the main concepts is the idea that we can just let it go. Ask yourself, would I be willing to let this go? if not now, when? How would I feel if I could let this go? How is holding onto it making me feel?
Once we can grasp the idea that we create our emotions with our thoughts, we gain the power to change our state. It isn’t possible to be in a peaceful, content state when we are focused on everything that is wrong with a situation. Play with the idea of letting it go. You may have to remind yourself repeatedly that I am letting this go, but eventually your mind will come on board and really shift focus in another direction.
- Practice Introducing Positive Thoughts
The staff at The Mayo Clinic point out that just like our thoughts can upset us when we don’t notice them, we also purposely introduce thoughts that make ourselves feel better. Trying to replace negative thoughts from our subconscious with positive thoughts from our conscious mind can be a very valuable tool. Not something that will happen overnight, but being conscientious abut it will make it happen.
I read that we have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day and over 90% of them are the same thoughts we had yesterday an
d the day before. We are habitual creatures and we can change but it takes practice. We need to replace the negative with positive. Again I’m not suggesting that if there are problems in your life you ignore them. Sometimes things need to change and we need to take action in order to create a healthier more functional life. Until you can change your circumstances, positive thoughts can help you stay strong and take care of your self in the midst of problems.
When we try to develop solutions from a place of anxiety and stress we are often reactive and impulsive, from a calm positive place we can be more creative and rational.
- Be Mindful of Who You Spend Your Time With
Dr. Gregory Jantz in a Psychology Today article wrote that it is difficult for us to stay positive when we are surrounded by negative people. That means people who practice negativity as well as people who somehow bring out the negativity in us. You may not be able to always avoid these people especially if they are family members or coworkers. But try to limit your interactions and try not to get caught up in the complaining and negativity when you are with them.
Seek out and surround yourself with positive people. Seek out opportunities to be with others that are upbeat and focused on enjoying life. Another way to look at this is drop out of the ain’t it awful club. If people are complaining and being negative, it doesn’t serve you it just strengthens the narrative of my life sucks. So you can either try to shift the conversation or walk away.
- Look At Challenges As Opportunities
Remember the earlier statement, in every moment we have the choice to see the miracle or the problem. It may be difficult to see the miracle or the gift in a situation when it feels like the walls are closing in. You may have had the experience of something that at the time seemed awful but as a result of that happening in your life you made some decisions that actually made your life better.
An article by author Paul Sloane published by Lifehack.org recommends looking at potential challenges or setbacks as opportunities to go in another direction. We tend to look at where we are as the culmination of a lot of hard work and so when things don’t go our way we feel like that work was for nothing. When in fact it could be just a stepping stone to the path you are meant to be on.
If we can relax and trust that things unfold the way they are meant to, simply because they did, we can take that step back and ask, what would make this situation better? It doesn’t mean that you won’t have disappointment a sense of loss, but if you again can take a step back and make a sound decision on next best steps, you may see that things have worked out better than you ever imagined they would.
- Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life
In his book The Success Principles Jack Canfield’s first principle is take 100% responsibility for your life. If you were to look at every situation in your life as though you created it and take responsibility for changing it there would be no more complaining.
That may be a hard pill to swallow. You say, I didn’t create this back pain, or this cancer, it’s not my fault the company downsized. The first thing I would ask you to do is be really honest with yourself, did you do everything you could to prevent the situation. Were you being mindful of your body and health, did you see signs that the company was in trouble? If you were taking 100% responsibility would you have done things differently?
Let’s say you didn’t create those situations though, I’m not here to argue with you. The truth is that if these things have happened in your life you now get to make the choice of how to respond, what do I do moving forward. That you are 100% responsible for.
What does this have to do with positive thinking? You have the choice here to look at the situation as an opportunity, what can I do to create something better in my life. If we stay in a place of victimhood, we complain, we blame, nothing can change for the better. So look at the bright side, health issues are a wake up call to take better care of yourself, career and work problems are an opportunity to really look at is this what I want to be doing with my life, maybe it’s time to look at doing something I love. What’s the upside of what is happening in my life?
Summing It All Up
Each of these practices will help you start to create change in your life, a more positive outlook that moves you towards a state of joy and happiness more often.
I would encourage you to pick one, practice it for 30 days and when you feel like you are having some success with that one start on a second one.
I am also going to add a link to a you tube video, The Seven Day Mental Diet by Emmett Fox, this is a really challenging exercise and you may want to really be more self aware before jumping in, or maybe just go for it. You will certainly see where the negativity is coming up for you. This is the ultimate test of staying positive.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snn5A-PEDwk – Enjoy!
Thanks for reading, please leave a comment and let me know if you have had any successes with the above strategies.