The Power of Positive Thinking: 5 Ways You Can Practice Positivity

julie lofgren headshot
Health & Wellness Expert August 11, 2020

We’re constantly looking to external sources for our well-being, but we forget about the incredible resource we have internally – our mindset! The link between having a positive attitude and getting a positive outcome may sound like common sense, but many of us don’t take the time or make the effort to truly apply this approach to many aspects of life.

It sounds simple, right? “Just be positive!” We’ve all heard this before when faced with a challenge. But it’s not always that simple. Creating a consistently positive mindset takes practice. It requires avoiding negative energy almost as much as involves creating positive energy. And with all the techniques and methods out there for self-improvement, it can be easy to be overwhelmed when looking at how to start. So, let’s just take it slow and look at five quick and simple tips that you can put into action immediately:

1. Use affirmations.

Positive affirmations are short, positive statements that you can repeat regularly to yourself or leave notecards around where you will regularly see them. They should be positive, in the present tense, and state something that you want. Keeping them brief makes them easier to remember and repeat. Try saying something to yourself such as: “I’m alive and well” or “today is going to be a great day!” It sounds too simple, right? You’d be surprised at how effective this practice can be in creating positive energy.

2. Remind yourself to focus on the good things, no matter how small they are.

Try attaching thought triggers to items you use every day to remind yourself of things that make you happy. For instance, you could change your phone wallpaper to trigger a memory of a certain place, put a sticker on your water bottle that reminds you of your favorite hobby, wear a bracelet that was given to you by your best friend, or even make the password you use everyday something that reminds you of something you are grateful for. Little triggers like this can build up over the course of a day and make a difference.

3. Do something nice for someone.

Don’t wait for someone to inject positivity into your day. Instead, take charge and create a positive moment for someone else. You will likely find that doing nice things for others can lift your spirits and be just as fulfilling as having someone do something for you. It doesn’t have to be grand, either. Just giving a friendly gesture to someone else as you pass by can make you feel positive. Since smiles are covered by masks at the moment, try waving, nodding, or simply giving a happy “hello” to a stranger. (We are all going to get good at smiling with our eyes this year!)

4. Focus on the present moment.

Many times, we let negative memories from the past affect our current thinking. Or we let worry about the future affect how we are thinking about the present. Try to remove this worry about past and future moments and focus on what you can control right in front of you. Remember that nothing ever happens in the past or the future. Things happen in the present. Each moment you are in, however small or seemingly insignificant, can be a positive one if you don’t let worry about other moments get in your way. If you focus on your present situation and what is affecting you right here and now, you might realize how unimportant some of the things you may have been worrying about are.

5. Surround yourself with positive people.

You’ve likely heard that we end up being “the average of the five people we surround ourselves by,” or some similar adage over the years. While it may be dangerous to make such concrete conclusions about your own character based on who your friends are, we can still use this principle as a guide to create healthier environments for ourselves to harbor positivity. Ask yourself: Does this person lift me up and support me? Or do they put me down to make themselves feel better? Sometimes the answer may be harder to discern than you’d imagine. Seek out people who support you and lift you up and then do the same for them. The more you hear positive thoughts and outlooks from those around you, the more likely you are to have your ways of thinking impacted.

Even if you can’t put all of these tips into practice immediately, try one or two. Positivity tends to compound over time. Think of each little step you make towards changing your mindset as being a drop of fuel in your tank. Even if it’s not full, it has the ability to get you to where you need to go.

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