Most of us have heard the saying: The optimist sees the glass half full, while the pessimist sees it half-empty. In its simplest terms, positive thinking is optimism and negative thinking is pessimism. It is an attitude towards life, yourself and particular predicaments and events in life.
Positive thinkers quickly zone in on the positive side of even the darkest moments in their lives, and often see those predicaments as opportunities for growth and learning. Positive thinkers are resilient and able to deal with stressful situations in productive ways.
"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine."- Anthony J. D'Angelo
Becoming a positive thinker is not necessarily something that will happen overnight. Depending on the severity of the negativity, it can take time to make appropriate changes.
The practice of positive thinking, and making it a character trait rather than a one-time thing, takes effort, patience, and time. If optimism is not natural to you, there are ways to turn it around.
Work towards combating the negativity you identified and maintaining an optimistic nature and use these steps as tools in the process.
7 Steps To A Positive Attitude
1. Say something positive whenever you think something negative. The tricky part about this is catching each negative thought as is happens. As much as possible, stop the negative thought as it happens and say something constructive to yourself, such as "today is going to be great."
Positive affirmations can be recited daily to reprogram the mind of negative thinking. There is a positive opposite for virtually everything negative...
"The weather is too hot." versus "The sun feels good on my skin."
"People at work are annoying." versus "It's great to a have a team to help with the workload."
"I look fat in that dress." versus "I look awesome in that dress."
"I screwed up again." versus "I made a mistake that I will learn from."
"I should be graduating at the top of my class." versus "I am so proud that I am graduating."
"All this snow is a hassle; it makes life harder and creates more work." versus "The snow left my backyard looking like a scene from a postcard."
"My husband cooked dinner for me, but it was only pasta." versus "I so appreciate my husband cooking dinner for me."
"I worked hard all day but did not get nearly enough done." versus "Wow, what a productive day I had at work."
2. Laugh often. Negative thinkers tend to be very uptight, and it's no wonder considering the heavy burden they often carry and the lack of positivity in their life. Allow yourself to laugh and often. Seek out scenarios where you laugh, like hanging out with funny people or visiting comedy clubs. Learn to see the humor in life, even during painful times. Laughter reduces stress, stops you from taking everything too seriously, and yields a more optimistic outlook.
3. Surround yourself with positive people. Negativity breeds more negativity. A positive attitude is contagious, and the best way to adopt such a thought process is to learn first-hand from a master. Having positive people in your life will allow you to view first-hand what it looks like, and positive people will give you uplifting advice, feed a positive outlook and problem solving suggestions, as opposed to negative people who will only want to sink in the muck with you and feed your negativity.
4. View every experience as a learning opportunity. Consider this scenario. A positive thinker finds out that their significant other has cheated. They break off the relationship, evaluate what went wrong, and attempt to learn from the situation, viewing it as a growing experience and a stepping-stone to a brighter future with someone else. Their process is a positive one that will include pain, and anger, but the way the positive thinker deals with it is constructive. The optimist knows that not everyone is a liar or a cheater, and that they can and will meet someone honest.
A negative thinker finds out that their significant other has been unfaithful and thinks thoughts like, "all men/women are liars and cheats;" I hate them all." They will dwell in the misery, and pain, and not view the experience as a learning process. They may become consumed by anger and hatred and generalize the entire opposite sex as evil, and eventually they may fall into a state of depression and experience anxiety and other ill health effects. Their next relationship may inevitably suffer, as their general distrust of the opposite sex will surely affect intimacy.
The positive thinker's resiliency and attitude allows them to grow through the painful experience, come out better for it on the other side, and avoid possible health manifestations that can result from negativity and its stress.
The negative thinker's own attitude will result in them missing an opportunity to grow, and the stress that attitude puts on their emotional and mental health will only harm them in the long run.
5. Adopt practices such as yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, tai chi and deep relaxation. These practices help you to focus your mind, build self-awareness, and obtain a deep peace. They also help you to maintain awareness about your thoughts and feelings, which helps you to control them so that you can build more positive energy in your mind and body.
6. Use positive affirmations. Our own inner dialogue determines our emotions, this means that we must be deliberate and conscious about what we say to ourselves. Speak positive affirmations to yourself every day, as they can help re-program your mind towards the positive mode and control your inner dialog.
Our mind is a garden and our attitudes are the seeds of its life, so plant healthy and weed regularly! Always repeat positive affirmations phrased in the present and personal tense, for example:
"I like myself!"
"I love today!"
"I love my life!"
"I see the positive in everything!"
"I can deal with anything!"
"I am strong!"
"I am optimistic!"
"I enjoy being around positive people!"
"I am aware of my thoughts"
And my favourite of all - "You are stronger than you seem, braver than you believe and far more capable than you think you are."
7. Practice Gratitude. There are multiple methods to transform your negative feelings. One of the fastest and highly effective ways is to harvest feelings of thankfulness and appreciation directed towards:
• Other people in your life
• Material things
• Your life circumstances
• And even strangers
Practice starting your day by focusing on being grateful, and bring to mind several specific things. This will help you move your mind towards positive thinking and positive energy vibrations.
There is nothing stopping you from achieving a more positive state of mind other than yourself. Start by acknowledging your negative thoughts, determining their source, and then transforming them into positivity.