Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Having a positive outlook in life is a choice. You can choose to see the brighter side of life instead of letting depressive and negative thoughts poison your mind. Doing so can have a positive impact on many levels of your well-being. Researchers suggest that optimists are better skilled at coping with stress, have lower risk of cardiovascular disease and tend to develop stronger immune systems.
Although optimism has been associated with many health benefits, the truth is positive thinking does not come naturally to everyone. So, if you are more of a skeptic, what can you do to become an optimistic thinker? Well, getting on the path to positive thinking may require different approaches, but they all revolve around identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones. While it may take some time, with continued practice you will find that positive thinking will become second nature. To get started with this important character-molding endeavor, here are 4 tips to help you think more positively.
1. Cultivate Positivity
The best way to develop any virtue is to adopt behaviors that reinforce that trait, and this applies to positive thinking as well. So, if you want to become a positive thinker, it is helpful to engage in activities that cultivate those emotions. Relaxation techniques are effective ways to ease your mind and cultivate positive emotions. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Psychological Reports even found that the simple act of smiling seems to boost ‘positive affect’. You can also develop a powerful positive mindset by reciting daily inspiring affirmations.
2. Stay Away from Pessimists
The people you associate with can influence your behaviors, beliefs and overall perspective on life. It is therefore imperative that you choose your friends and associates wisely. If you hang around a negative crowd, eventually some of their undesirable traits will begin to rub-off on you. So, if you want to develop optimism, you should surround yourself with positive people and spend less time around negative ones. Pessimists tend to fuel doubt, discouragement, and adversity while optimists build up, inspire, and encourage.
3. Tame Your Fear
Negative thinking often stems from fear. It could be fear of failure, success, challenges, new experiences, etc. Fear takes root when thoughts of a bad outcome become deeply rooted in your expectations. To think more positively, identify the fear and challenge whether its realistic or not. Along with that, consider the worse case scenario and ask yourself can you handle it. The answer is likely yes. You can also consider different ways to handle the worse case scenario and visualize yourself doing those things. This takes away the surprise and sting of an actual negative event. It is also helpful to view mistakes and failure as opportunities to learn. It becomes much easier to maintain a positive outlook when we have forgiving expectations for ourselves.
4. Listen to Music or Read Books that Feed Your Positivity
What we feed our minds tends to manifest in our thoughts, words or actions. Therefore, if you want to be a positive thinker, you need to be careful of what you expose your mind to. You can increase optimism by listening to music or reading books that encourage positivity. Positive messages and stories can shape your thinking and lead to a more upbeat attitude toward life.
There are many other approaches to improving positive thinking. The four methods shared above serve as a good starting point on the journey to mastering a positive mindset. In conclusion, remember that being a positive thinker does not happen overnight. It takes time to nurture this trait and therefore a consistent effort will be required.