One of my favourite quotes is from poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, and it reads: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” This may sound cheesy, but mindset really is everything, and I truly believe that having a positive attitude can bring wonders to your life.
Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that focuses on being optimistic. It’s not about avoiding or ignoring life’s difficulties, but more about accepting that whatever happens is the right thing to happen in that moment.
When you start to practise positive thinking, you become better at setting the right goals – and in turn achieving them. And the benefits don’t stop there, as the law of attraction tells us that like attracts like. When you think positively, you will begin to attract positive people, opportunities and choices.
At one level, most of us know all this, but adopting a positive mindset can be difficult and challenging at times. As humans we’re naturally programmed to protect ourselves; in our hunter-gatherer past, not paying attention to the predator ahead could spell our demise! So if you find yourself being pessimistic, it’s likely to be your brain looking out for trouble and keeping you safe.
It may help to see positive thinking as a skill you can learn and work on, rather than as an innate personality trait. In this guide, I will be sharing some of my top tips and habits that help to keep my spirits up and can help build happiness and positivity in life. And what a great time to talk about the power of positive thought, with yesterday having been National Smile Power Day.
Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones
Negative thinking patterns can have a huge impact on our overall mindset; sometimes we can be pessimistic without even realising it! The first step to achieving an overall positive attitude is to focus on your own inner monologue and self-talk. Next time you catch yourself being critical, judgemental, or full of fear and worry, try to consciously replace the thought with a more positive one.
Rather than thinking, “Why is this happening to me?”, ask yourself, “What is this teaching me?”. Eventually this will become natural, and your brain will automatically turn a negative thought into a positive one.
Exercise your Body and Mind
We know that exercise is good for our bodies, but what about our minds? It has amazing physical and emotional benefits too. Research has shown that even after a short burst of exercise, your body releases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid, which are all brain chemicals associated with feeling happy and less stressed. Moving your body is an excellent way to fight the negative effects of difficult situations, release stress and maintain an overall positive mindset.
We all find ourselves being negative, but even in the worst of times we all have things in our lives to be grateful for, no matter how big or small! Every day think of five things for which you are grateful. These can be anything from the lovely chat you had with a friend, to the delicious meal you ate last night. Whatever they are, write them down. Actively acknowledging what you’re grateful for will help magnify those things in your mind and keep you positive and thankful, even in tough times.
These three tips are not a ‘quick fix’ way to create a positive mindset – true change takes time. It’s like building a muscle: the more you implement these techniques, the more they’ll become natural to you. With practice we can all add more positive thoughts to our day-to-day life.
Emotions are contagious, so by adopting an overall optimistic mindset you can cause ripples in your social circle and encourage others to do the same.
Love Jane x