Positive thinking is a well-known and successful strategy for improving quality of life and creating happiness. Positive thinking, however, isn’t just about thinking positive thoughts or looking at the world through “rose-colored glasses”. It is much more than that. Click here to learn more about what positive thinking really is, and how to make it a habit.
It is also well-known that people who don’t think positively are less happy and fulfilled in life, partly because they become quickly frustrated by the inevitable stresses and challenges of life and their frequent, unavoidable feelings of being “overwhelmed”. This negative outlook then makes it even harder to manage those challenges and move forward, creating a downward spiral into further negativity and even depression for some people.
Positive thinking (true positive thinking) on the other hand, creates an “upward spiral” by allowing the mind to focus on strengths and accomplishments, rather than weaknesses and setbacks, which increases happiness and motivation – which improves results and circumstances. This, in turn, opens the mind to opportunity and allows more potential for making progress – leaving less time for feeling down and “stuck”.
With this philosophy in mind, the following 10 tips provide practical suggestions you can use to help you shift into habitual positive thinking patterns, thereby creating a positive “upward spiral” towards a better life:
1. Take good care of yourself – both physically and mentally: It’s much easier to be positive when you are eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest. This includes taking nutritional supplements like vitamins and antioxidants to prevent illness and disease (like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease). Click here to learn more about this.
2. Remind yourself of the things for which you are grateful: Stresses and challenges don’t seem quite as bad when you are constantly reminding yourself of the things that are right (good) in your life. Taking just a few minutes every day to stop and appreciate the good things will make a huge difference. The “3 Great Things” exercise is a great way to do this. Click here to learn about this quick, easy, effective exercise for creating an attitude of gratitude.
3. Get the facts – don’t assume things: Low self-esteem is an issue for many people. Sometimes you assume people are thinking things about you that aren’t positive. Don’t waste time worrying that you did something wrong unless you have proof that there is something to worry about. Click here to learn more about improving your self-esteem and reducing tendencies to worry about what others think.
4. Stop using negative absolutes: Do you use words like “always” or “never” a lot. These are absolutes. For example, have you ever told a spouse, “you’re ALWAYS late!” or complained to a friend, “you NEVER call me!”? Thinking and speaking in absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘never’ makes the situation feel worse than it is, and programs your brain into believing negative things that aren’t true. Interestingly, it works the other way, too. If you use positive thinking with absolutes, you can improve your life. I’m ALWAYS successful, I NEVER give up, and I am ALWAYS enthusiastic are some simple positive absolute affirmations.
5. Detach from negative thoughts: Your thoughts can’t hold any power over you if you don’t let them. Whenever you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, look at it briefly, and substitute it with something positive.
6. Squash the “ANTs”: In his book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” Dr. Daniel Amen talks about “ANTs” – Automatic Negative Thoughts. These are the bad thoughts that are usually reactionary, like “Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me,” or “The boss wants to see me … it must be bad!” When you notice these thoughts, realize that they are nothing more than ANTs and squash them! Consider the opposite (better yet, convince yourself that the opposite is true).
7. Practice “loving”, “touching” & “squeezing”: You don’t have to be an expert to know the benefits of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick-me-up. Even touching strangers can help (just be careful with this). One research study on this subject had a waitress touch some of her customers on the arm as she handed them their checks. She received higher tips from these customers than from the ones she didn’t touch!
8. Increase Your social activity: Connecting with people – especially positive people – is an essential part of life. By increasing social activity, you reduce loneliness and increase self-esteem. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will affect you in a positive way!
9. Contribute to yourself and others: Helping people is a guaranteed happiness booster. Everyone feels good after helping someone or contributing in some way. You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources – or just make it a habit to help someone (even in a small way) everyday. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return. It involves the “Law of Attraction”. Click here to learn more about this great technique to build positive thinking and happiness.
10. Use “pattern interrupts” to get out of a negative “rut”: Ruminating is a common problem amongst “negative”, pessimistic thinkers. Ruminating basically means “getting stuck” in a “rut” of a negative thinking. It is like hyper-focus on something negative. It’s never productive, because it’s not rational or solution-oriented. It’s basically just excessive worry. If you find yourself ruminating, a great way to stop it is to “interrupt the pattern” and force yourself to do something completely different. To interrupt your pattern, try changing your physical environment. Perhaps go for a walk or sit outside. Go to the gym and get some exercise. Go to the beach, the mountains, or the countryside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music. Do whatever you can to simply change what you are doing and focusing on and you’ll “interrupt the pattern”.
These 10 simple tips will improving your life and help promote a positive thinking habit. This will lead to greater joy, fulfillment, and happiness (and just as important, help eliminate or reduce negative thinking, which reduces unhappiness). Take the next 10 weeks and focus on one tip each week. At the end of 10 weeks, it is guaranteed that you will be thinking more positively (as a habit) and your life will improve significantly.
BeHappy! my friends
Positive Thinking 101
The Happiness Formula
Free Happiness Formula Video Course