“Positive thinking” or “Positivity” in general gets thrown around a lot these days whether it is plastered on quotes all over Pinterest, printed on graphic tees or featured on a sign to decorate your house. It has become a soft and fluffy term that is easily disregarded. Many contest that having a positive outlook isn’t as meaningful as terms like “work ethic” or “determination”. However, by adopting a positive mindset you can develop an abundance of life skills that last much longer than just a smile. These skills can be used to enhance your mental wellbeing, fulfil your career potential, reach personal goals and attain overall success.
Tips for a positive mindset
Make it a habit
Thinking positively comes naturally to some people but for others it will take a lot of practice. If you struggle with this, then practicing positive thinking until it becomes a habit is the way to go. How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, so be sure to start every day on a positive note. Avoid moaning about the day ahead and instead focus on the things you’re looking forward to. Remember to make time for yourself to do something you enjoy.
Practice challenging any negative thoughts
It’s inevitable you’re going to have some bad days and that’s okay. You need to challenge this negative thought process and prevent it from impacting your feelings and actions. By doing this you learn to understand your thought patterns and it may highlight the root of your negativity. This will also promote the good habit of seeing things from different perspectives which is a powerful technique you can apply in most aspects of your personal or work life.
Don’t stand in your own way
We sometimes intoxicate ourselves with anxieties that stem from a self-imposed pressure to be a certain way, from setting unrealistic goals or perhaps from getting bogged down when something doesn’t go our way. Generally, if your state of mind is optimistic you are more amenable to capitalise on opportunities, whereas negative thinking and self-doubt blurs your vision of what you can do or become. Taking a few moments to pause and reflect is a good way to stop negativity in its tracks. Try positive self-talk and remember it isn’t vain or arrogant to tell yourself you’re good at something. Equally, if you got something wrong then don’t be hard on yourself. Reflective practice enables you to spot opportunities for improvement.
Learn to handle setbacks
Mistakes and setbacks are inevitable in life. Many people fall into the trap of complaining, blaming others or being defensive, but remember that you have the ability to choose how to respond to such events. By taking “response-ability” you are owning the situation and can make careful, though-out choices that allow you to grow and improve.
Be careful to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when dealing with setbacks. If you choose to overthink things you can lose perspective and make issues appear bigger and scarier than they actually are. Understanding that you cannot control everything in life is also important. Be sure to focus your energy on the things that you can control or influence so you can learn and do better next time.
Visualise your goals
“Manifesting”, or the purpose of thinking aspirational thoughts with the purpose of making them real, has become a huge trend across social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new generation has discovered the 2006 book The Secret by Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne, which has sold over 30 million copies to become one of the most successful self-help books of all time.
Although some people clearly think it’s utter nonsense, there is a growing belief amongst many that there is some method in the madness! In essence it’s all about “faking it until you make it” or thinking your way to a better life. If you tell yourself you’re confident and come across well on first impressions, then chances are you will. The power of visualising what you want and seeing it in a positive light makes it more likely you will achieve your goal.
Benefits of positive thinking
Many studies have proven that a positive attitude can increase productivity by improving factors such as motivation, concentration and energy.
Healthy mind, healthy body
Most people regard stress as a destructive force that can take a toll on your mental and physical health. By adopting an optimistic outlook, you will begin to see challenges as opportunities. A positive mindset can improve stress management, resilience and general wellbeing.
Studies show that optimistic people sleep better and longer. A positive outlook can help you relax and take a step back from the stress and anxiety of our daily lives. It enables you to see things more clearly and to work out how to work through a problem. A relaxed mind and body helps you to sleep better so you can rest and recover.
Positivity makes you a better collaborator by helping you to be more open to other people’s ideas and more tolerant of their foibles. People also generally enjoy being around positive people and will gravitate towards them in both professional and personal relationships.
To conclude, always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how difficult things were, tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better!