Alongside the past two posts on the benefits of Positive Thinking and Psychology, I thought it may be helpful to list some key touchstones of positivism. When it becomes more difficult to cultivate positivity or learn where you can find it throughout your day, within your mind, look over this list and see which can apply. As we start to have negative thoughts it becomes difficult to stop them and it can be much easier “in theory” to shift to positive thoughts. But like any muscle that needs strengthening, positive thinking is something we can strive for and lean towards.
1. Smile. Often.
It quite literally feels less heavy in your body because you’re using less muscles to smile than frown or scowl. Science has study the affects of simply smiling to lead to a more positive outlook and happier mood. You may have noticed how difficult it can be to keep a straight face when someone else is smiling brightly or laughing-as a human community this gesture is meant to relax us.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
Along the same thread of community and mirroring those around us, it is important to look at who you surround yourself with. Are the ultimately happy, bright people? Do they encourage you? Are they energized? The emotions of our community has a heavy affect on our own outlooks. Not feeling people today? Go pet a dog or a friendly cat. The energy of these little guys undoubtedly will lift your spirits and calm your nervous system. (Therapy animals exist for a reason!)
3. Meditate or Practice Yoga.
Sitting inside your mind can be uncomfortable and the need to fidget, distract, and run scenarios in our minds can make meditation difficult for most of us at some point or another. However, cultivating a time of day where you simple “are”, is crucial. Allowing your body and mind to quiet helps us to gain insight to what may really be behind an angry emotion or negative thought. Enabling the mind to explore that can help you to overcome or work through an issue once it surfaces for what it truly is.
Whether that’s yoga, walking, running, playing a sport-get into your body! Feel your muscles working, your lungs filling you up, your blood circulating from head to toe and throughout each muscle-be grateful for what your body can do. Living in an active state of gratitude can push away those thoughts of negativity about what we can and cannot do. Bringing awareness to what you are very capable of is empowering.
5. Don’t play the victim.
YOU create your life, take responsibility for it. There is always a way to change or shift your life into something that represents more of what you crave. There is no getting stuck when we see the openings and opportunities around us.
6. Recognize a negative thought.
Then phrase it positively. For example if it’s body hate about an area in your body think about what that area can do and how it carries you or supports you rather than what it looks like. Recognizing and then switching negative thoughts to positive thoughts eventually becomes habitual. Creating a much more positive dialogue inside our minds helps turn into a more positive lifestyle altogether. “Our thoughts become our reality.”
7. Help someone.
Take the focus off of you and onto someone else. This doesn’t have to be volunteering at a soup kitchen or at an animal shelter, it can be small. Buy the person behind you their coffee, hold the door open for someone, be kind, and really listen. Truly listening and hearing people around us gives us a sense of connection. Getting out of the “drama” of our own lives allows us to see the bigger picture.
8. Move on.
No one is perfect including you and that’s fine! Move on from instances where you feel that you were “less than” or that didn’t live up to a standard you had created in your mind. It’s okay to make mistakes and you’d tell that to a friend–treat yourself the same
9. List five thing that you are grateful for right now.
At any point in the day whether you start to feel anxious, negative, or defeated remind yourself to list the things you are grateful for. Being grateful helps you appreciate what you already have. My example; my health, job, family, beautiful friends, comfortable apartment.
10. Read positive quotes or listen (sing long) to a positive song.
Take in the words and the feelings around that quote or lyric. It’s a wonderful stress release and is a sure way to push that negative thought back.Consider even placing a quote on your desktop, mirror, fridge door, in your car, wallet-wherever to encourage you.
“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” ~Dalai Lama