Being positive is not about rainbows, butterflies and starry skies. It’s a attitude of optimism, a focus on the good and a way to look for solutions to life’s problems. We have so many things coming at us each day, especially when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.
The amount of stress we’re under is at an all-time high. How we focus our thoughts will shape how we act and react to what our life throws at us.
I recently heard someone compare being positive and embracing a positive attitude to doing push-ups. To see results, you need to practice and keep practicing continually. The more you practice push-ups, in theory, the stronger you become with an increased ability to do more. We can look at building a positive mindset in the same way.
We have thousands of thoughts that run through our minds throughout the day. Have you ever taken inventory of your positive, negative or indifferent thoughts? Some people are born with those rose-colored glasses that help them see the possibilities, feel the gratitude and embrace the hardships as life’s way to teach you. Many people though don’t have the genetic predisposition to look at life that way and see the darker side of challenges. Things are not possible and feel hard. Not to worry if you’re the grey-colored glasses kind of person. With a few positive thoughts a day, you can turn the instinct of the negative into something positive and productive.
According to MayoClinic, positive thinking can have many benefits to your health.
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
- Improved resilience
Remember those push-ups? Building the positive mindset is a continual process. You can’t just do it once and be done. It means taking the steps to build an awareness of your thoughts, turn the negatives around to the positive and allow yourself to believe in the possibilities one thought at a time.
5 Ways to Grow your Positive Mindset:
1) Identify the Negative Thinking
- Is it doom and gloom in every situation?
- Do you blame yourself for everything?
- Are you magnifying the negative in every situation?
Journal your thoughts. Write down the thoughts you’re having and evaluate how you may be creating the negativity. Acknowledging it is the first step to turning those negative thoughts around. You can also just stop for a moment to reflect if journaling is not your thing. Taking a moment to identify your negative thoughts will help build your self awareness.
2) Check Yourself Throughout the Day
Take a moment to stop your thoughts and evaluate how your doing. Are you thinking about things in a negative way? If so, how can you turn that around. Practicing this step multiple times a day will also help you become more aware of negative thinking and provide the opportunity to change that thought into the positive.
3) Make it Healthy
Diet and exercise make such an impact on how we feel physically and how we view the world. The smallest of changes make a difference in our well being. Walk outside for 10 minutes. Or do a few jumping jacks if it’s too cold out. Drink water. These are just a few possibilities.
Include one healthy diet and exercise change a day. Little steps don’t feel overwhelming and affect your mood in a positive way. Keep it simple and you’ll be glad you took the baby steps to get started.
4) Evaluate Your Tribe
Who you hang out with will impact your view of the world. Even during the pandemic, the people you surround yourself with in person or remote will impact your stress level. Take inventory of those who support you and nourish your soul as well as those who suck the life out of it. Make adjustments to the company you keep if they’re not nourishing your positive mindset because your thoughts and life depend on it.
On the flip side of that, what impact do you make on those within your tribe? It’s good to think about how your communication, support or lack of affects those you are around. We feed off the energy of those who surround us. It’s important to have an understanding that it’s a two-way street.
5) Journal the Gratitude with a Twist
A gratitude journal is simple way to take those grey-colored glasses and turn them rosy with one entry at a time. I love my gratitude journal and start a new one each year. Keeping it simple, I just list one thing I was grateful for that day. You can add one or many. The goal is to think about something that occurred that day and why you’re grateful for it. Jot it down and include the date. These journals are fun to look back on and reflect.
Here’s the twist. After you write down what you were grateful for that day, take a moment to think about something you did well that day and affirm what was good about it. This twist is a way to help encourage yourself with some positive self talk. A little goes a long way. Don’t fret if you miss a day when journaling. Sometimes I do. I just pick it up and continue to update my journal from where I left off. Every positive thought makes an impact.
Positive change takes time. You can start small and select one of these suggestions to practice for a week. Then build from there. Creating awareness and taking some steps toward change are really the cornerstone for building a positive mindset. There’s no right or wrong way to get started. It’s about getting started in the first place. You can do it! You’ll be cranking out those positive push-ups in no time.