Is the raccoon looking in or is he looking out? Either way, he can climb that fence – unless he is locked in a cage. We can’t tell the perspective.
Our joy, and perhaps even our curse, as human beings often come from our ability to chose the way we will view and interpret the world.
People who are able to grow a more sunny outlook on things are happier and have less stress than those who tend to focus on problems.
It seems like a no-brainer – always think about the best parts of every situation. Still, many of us find ourselves stuck on the negatives in front of us.
If we are fortunate we discover, and master, positive thinking at a younger age. Looking around at people of all ages, it is painfully obvious (and sad) that some people will go a lifetime and never uncover the answer.
Does anyone else love lists? Here are six things you can work on (one at a time if you like) if you want to get positive by reshaping your way of thinking.
Six Steps to Positive Thinking
Learn to direct your thoughts. As soon as you catch yourself thinking about anything negative actively change your mind to think about anything else that is positive. If you are working on a gratitude practice this is a good time to shift your mind to what you are grateful for.
This may be easy for you or extremely tough. Sometimes our brains are just wired to focus on the negative. Our repetitive thoughts and actions reinforce connections in our brains so digging out new connections can take time and effort (especially if you have a long history of negative thinking). In the long run, it’s well worth the effort.
Surround yourself with positive people.
If you surround yourself with negative, miserable, unhappy people your life is going to be negative, miserable, and unhappy. If you surround yourself with positive people who will influence you to do better in life, living with joy, than you will do those things.
You are influenced by and become like the people you allow into your life. Choose those people carefully.
Take responsibility for your life and your actions. I know this one may sound like a bit of a bummer at first but really taking your life into your own hands is an empowering move. When you take responsibility for your life you step up and say “Nobody has the power over whether I succeed or fail. Nobody can hold me down or stop me, only I can do that.”
Start a gratitude practice. Always pay attention to and look for things to be grateful for. Before you go to bed think about what you are grateful for. When you wake up in the morning have gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. If you find yourself in a difficult situation – always remember to ask yourself “what can I be grateful for right now?”
Be mindful, meditate, do yoga or any other mindful exercise. If you don’t get enough exercise and eat healthy foods you are going to get sick and feel like crap. It is very difficult to be positive when you feel shitty.
Take care of your body and take the time to relax your mind. Be mindful as you exercise. If you learn to pay attention to how your body is feeling. Pay attention to each footstep below you, feel it. Breathe with intention, focusing on the inhale and exhale. Let your workout calm your body and mind simultaneously.
Get inspired by positive people. Read books, listen to speeches, and reflect upon positive quotes of others. Listen to an audio biography of someone who inspires you on your way to work. Watch a TED Talk. Read self-help books. Subscribe to a new podcast. Find a mentor. Work with a life coach. Surround and feed your brain positive affirmations and avoid garbage.
Note: it is a good idea to unfollow/hide negative posts and people during this transition as they are poison for your brain.
At first, you may find yourself making mistakes. Hold yourself accountable. Fix them. Always be determined to do better next time. It’s worth the work. YOU are worth the work. You can do it!