Negative, challenging situations happen all the time, it’s almost impossible to avoid a bout of pessimism. However, those worry-filed thoughts can drag our mood down and negatively impact our actions and even our health.
The good news is, it is possible to create a positive perspective and a more optimistic outlook on life and with that be able to stay constructive and positive even during tough times and keep working towards our goals and dreams.
Learning how to stay positive is invaluable to leading a healthy lifestyle. While is may seem that staying positive is nothing more than wishful thinking in the face of a challenging situation, the true obstacle to positivity is that our brain is hard-wired for negativity and to look for threats as a survival mechanism.
Maintaining positivity is a daily challenge that requires attention and focus and the intention to fight the brain’s tendency to focus on negativity. Here are our TOP 10 smartest and most effective ways to help you stay positive.
#1 Separate Fact from Fiction
When we are are learning to focus on optimism and staying positive, it’s time to stop our negative inner voice. Write down what you are thinking and evaluate the statements that are ruminating in your head. Are they are based on facts or did a negative thought based on your imagination take on momentum and lead you down a negative path that is based on fiction. Most of the time pessimism and negative thoughts are based on fiction and have no truth to them, so don’t give them any more power. Identify them, label them and separate them from the facts and you will be able to let go of the cycle of negativity and move forward with a more optimistic, positive outlook.
#2 Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
A major step in adopting a more positive outlook in life is to take time to contemplate what you are grateful for. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude shifts your focus to positivity and this positive attitude will become your new way of life. Every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed, take some time to think about three things or people that you are grateful for. And don’t just think about it, get into the feeling of gratitude and let your emotions be involved. You will be able to lower your stress and anxiety levels, improve your mood and have more energy.
#3 Find the Positive in a Negative Situation
A very simple, yet highly effective way to live a happier, more optimistic life and foster a positive outlook is to find the positive in a negative situation. Whenever you stumble on a challenging situation, ask yourself what is the one thing that is good about this situation? What kind of opportunity can I find within this situation? There is always something positive you can take away, sometimes you have to dig a little bit deeper to find it, but it is there. And when you are able to find the one positive even in the toughest of situations, you will be able to make that shift and turn things around.
#4 Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Molehill
If we are stressed out and the pace of our life is frantic, it is easy to lose perspective and let a molehill become a huge, terrifying mountain. Whenever you catch yourself exaggerating a situation into an insurmountable problem, stop yourself right there, take a deep breath and refocus. A simple way to put things in perspective is to ask yourself if this situation will matter in a year from now or even a month from now. Most likely the answer is no and it will help you to move on and let it go.
#5 Cultivate a Positive Environment
Choose wisely who you spend your time with and what input you get from the internet, TV and social media. It is detrimental to staying positive to watch what you feed your mind with. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and support you and filter the information you let into your life. Limit your time consuming negative media sources and instead spend more time listening to empowering audio-books and podcasts, watch motivational videos, read constructive books and blogs and listen to uplifting music. This will have a huge impact on your outlook.
#6 Start Your Day with Optimism
The way you start your day usually sets the tone for the rest of the day. So be mindful how you spend your mornings. If you jump out of bed and go full speed right away, let the troubles and stresses take over, it’s usually a downward spiral from there. Take your time in the morning, slow things down, start with a meditation, a few simple stretches, reading an inspirational book with your morning coffee, get a workout in and have a healthy breakfast and you will see that it makes a big difference for how your whole day will turn out.
#7 Challenge Negative Thoughts
Whenever a negative thought pops up in our mind, we have the choice how we respond to it. If we decide to dwell on it, it becomes significantly bigger and gets more energy. Instead, challenge your negative thoughts as unproductive and untrue. Practice turning a negative thought into the exact opposite, positive thought and become more proactive. Remember, this won’t happen over night, but if you are patient and keep at it you will be able to make this an automatic response and negative thoughts will be less likely to pop up.
#8 Learn to Handle Criticism
It’s a fact of life that we all have to deal with criticism at some point in our lives. And sometimes it’s hard to take because it feels like we are being rejected. But since criticism is pretty much unavoidable, learn how to handle it in a healthy way. Don’t respond to criticism right away, listen to the feedback you have gotten and ask yourself if you can learn something from the criticism. Is there some truth to it and can I take it to improve myself? Or is it invalid? Remember, criticism isn’t always about you, it could always be that the other person has a bad day and just needs to lash out and attack someone to let go of their own frustrations. Contemplate the criticism and decide whether it’s worth to reply and implement it or if you should just simply let it go and move on.
#9 Exercise and Sleep Well
We know that exercise is good for our bodies, but we also know that it is so much more than that. Exercise releases feel-good hormones like endorphins that have a huge impact on our emotional and mental well-being. Get moving and things will become a lot more clear in your mind and it’s a lot easier to have an optimistic outlook on life. The same goes for sleep. If we are sleep deprived, things tend to be a lot harder and it’s more likely that we have pessimistic thoughts, however, if we have a good night’s sleep, it’s much easier to find solutions to problems and stay positive.
#10 Add Positivity to Someone Else’s Life
It’s a natural rule of life, whatever you send out, you will get back. While this may not instantaneously happen every single time from everybody, the positivity you send out will come back to you in some way, so make it a point of adding value to someone else’s life and spread positivity. It may be as simple as lending a supportive ear to someone or giving a helping hand to a friend that’s moving or simply offering a smile to a stranger on the subway. When it’s appropriate, give hugs and encourage someone who has had a bad day.
Consciously increase your focus on the positive and cultivate a resilience when times are tough. Address challenges and failures without letting them get you down so you are more productive, motivated and likely to succeed in any situation. Finding a positive attitude and staying optimistic will have a huge impact on your health, performance and life.
SHIFT YOUR MIND TO OPTIMISM AND WIN AT LIFE
Joschi & Monika