We often hear people talking about having a positive approach to life challenges. But the question is how to do it. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, that prevails in modern-day life, staying positive is no less than a challenge. Positivity can reflect on one’s thoughts, perspectives, emotions, and habits. Our attitudes and thoughts shape our lives. It is up to us whether choose to stay positive or fall into hopelessness and helplessness.
How positive thinking can change your life
We all have certain dreams and goals in life. The path to accomplishing our dreams is not an easy one. Obstacles can hinder our progress and make us feel dreadful. But, to achieve your goals, you need to stay positive. Positive thinking empowers you and gives you the strength to achieve your dreams. We can’t control external factors that influence our life but we can control our thinking patterns.
a) Being positive improves our health
If we stay positive and energetic then our functioning, psychological, and physical wellbeing improves. Positive thinking helps you live longer and live better. When you aim to stay positive then you see a boost in endorphins, the hormones that make you feel good and happy. It boosts your immunity and helps you to fight stress and depression. Constructive thinking results in positive emotions like joy, compassion, and happiness. It also helps you to face the situation more productively thus it battles stress. On the other hand, negativity is linked to despair, dejection, and failure.
b) Positive thinking broadens and builds
Often we are so much engrossed in problems that we are blind to opportunities. Negative thoughts don’t allow us to see the possibilities that could lead us to success. Barbara Fredrickson, in her positive theory of “broaden and build” says that positive emotions open up new avenues of possibilities. It leads us to emotions like happiness contentment and joy and in return, they make our mind more receptive to new skills. As a result, these skills can add more value to our life.
c) Positive thinking fosters resilience
Apart from the physical and psychological wellbeing, constructive thinking makes us more resilient. Resilience is our ability to cope up with the stress and challenges that life throws at us. It means staying consistent, steadfast, and positive no matter what obstacles you face. Positive thinking shapes our mindset in such a way that we face challenges in a calm manner. Our perspective changes and we tend to view challenges as windows of opportunities. The more positive our mindset is, the more resilient we are going to be. We should try to stay positive no matter what.
Habits that foster positivity
It is obvious from the above discussion that staying optimistic can change our life for the better. It changes our perspective and attitude. Now the question is how we can become more positive and incorporate it into our daily lives. There are certain habits that we can adopt to foster positive thinking. If we develop these habits then over the passage of time then our life can be filled with satisfaction, happiness, and success.
1) Embark on inner self-journey
The first and foremost habit that you can develop to stay optimistic is self-reflection. Self-reflection means reflecting on your actions, desires, and thoughts. It can bring positivity in the sense that you assess your desires and thoughts from all the aspects and then develop a certain thinking pattern to cope up with the situation. It helps in framing a non-negative response to any situation by keeping in mind all the consequences. You realize that positive thinking is the only way to succeed. It will save you from despair.
2) Break out from negative influence
Our environment plays a significant role in developing our mindset either positive or negative. It includes people and places where we spend our time. Interaction with positive people and engaging yourself in constructive activities can help you stay positive. Surround yourself with people who lift you. Think of someone who shows a positive mindset and spend the most time with that person. Reflect on how that person copes with challenges and try to follow his footsteps. Also, you can listen to some motivational stories that reflect upon positivity. We should try to avoid negative influence be it people or places because it limits our ability to focus on positivity.
Commute with nature
Nowadays, we spend most of our time indoors. Spending time outside soothes our minds which can help us in developing a positive mindset. The research was carried out by Strayer, who suggested that spending time with nature restores the attention circuit of our brain. As a result, you are more inclined towards positive thinking. It means that nature heals our brain, which in turn can enhance positive thinking among us. One can go out for a walk anytime and feel the positive influence of mother nature. When we connect our self to nature then our mind catches all the positive energy from it. This positive energy can shape our lives for the better.
Cut negative self-talk
All of us engage in self-talk. Our communication with ourselves determines our thinking patterns and actions. Did you hear the famous maxim “as you sow, so shall u reap”? So the way we nurture our inner self will determine our thinking whether it is positive or negative. If your self-talk always includes “No” or “Never” then it means you are doing negative self-talk.
According to the Mayo clinic, negative self-talk manifests itself in filtering (when you concentrate only on negative aspects), personalizing (when you always blame yourself), catastrophizing (always considering that only worst will happen), and polarizing (one needs perfection to achieve something). One example of negative self-talk is if friends meet up plan gets canceled at last moment then you think “it’s because of me, nobody likes me”. When you engage in such talk, then it leads to negativity. It makes you foresee only the worst possible outcome whether it exists in reality or not. It makes it harder not to stay positive in worst situation.
Now the question is how you can relieve stress and achieve constructive thinking? Affirmations will instil positive energy in you for example replace “I can’t do it” with “let’s try”.If you cut negative talk, you tend to give more power to the positive energy inside you. It opens up new possibilities in life.
Stay in the present moment to be positive in the worst of times
Thinking about the past misfortunes can make you feel pessimistic. The reason is that when we remain engrossed in the past, we forget the present. We forget the opportunities that the present moment holds for us. In this way, we unconsciously shift our attention towards negativity. For instance, you lost the football match last week but the defeat got on your nerves and you are still mourning over the loss. On the other hand, staying in the present moment can help you dig out the reasons for the loss, and you can work on improving yourself. Once you realize that you don’t have control over the past and future then you focus on investing all your energy in the present moment to make it better. We need to get over our past and keep on moving forward.
Speak out your emotions
In our lives, there are some low moments when we don’t feel optimistic and empowered. The stockpile of negative emotions can cause us to think negatively. Studies have also suggested that repressing our emotions lead to stress and negativity. It means a mind that does not repress emotions has a better chance to think optimistically. It’s not only vital for our physical wellbeing but also for your mental health.
We can express our emotions by writing it on paper or by talking to our near and dear ones. We all have experienced that speaking our hearts out to anybody we trust relieves stress. Self-expression is also vital to develop an optimistic mindset. When we express ourselves, we get rid of the negative emotions that we have been hoarding inside ourselves.
When you incorporate these habits into your daily life, then you will break away from negativity. If you want to spend a happy life then you have to develop an optimistic mindset. You can’t achieve results overnight. But you can gradually transform your thinking patterns. Slowly your brain will get accustomed to positive thinking. The more you practice, the sooner you will achieve an optimistic mindset. Consider problems as a blessing in disguise. Eventually, you learn to deal with situations with a constructive mindset. We should learn to stay positive in all sorts of situations whether it is to stay positive at work or to stay positive during health crises.