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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

How to Think Positive Every Day

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How to Think Positive Every Day

Many of us may have heard of the importance of positivity but few can really tell why it’s important.

Barbara Fredrickson, a university professor in Psychology, discovered how negative emotions affect our minds.

In the experiment, participants were asked to tally some objects they listed. Results showed that participants with negative emotions named remarkably fewer than those with positive or neutral emotions. [1]

The conclusion is, negative emotions do narrow our mind, forcing us to pick from limited options. This phenomenon is especially observable when we are in life-threatening situation, where we have to take immediate action.

When we are trapped with a reduced number of choices as a result of emotions coming into play, we make wrong regretful decisions.

So it’s really important to think positive.But… how?

Thousands of articles online teach us how to think positive in the most clichéd ways possible. You should cheer up, crack a smile, look on the bright side of life…blah…blah..blah…

Don’t worry! The tips you are going to see below are nothing like those. We aim to offer some practical and specific tips for you to start making REAL changes.

Start with your posture: sit up straight! It’s more than etiquette

While one may think cultivation of positivity always requires conscious effort, indeed it doesn’t.

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Sitting up straight may appear irrelevant to positivity. But a study reveals the association between posture and positive thoughts.

The result shows that people are more likely to generate positive thoughts and recall positive memories when they are sitting up straight.[2]

So, sit up straight right now! Sometimes tiny things in life all contribute to our well-being without us noticing.

Have a teaspoon in your pocket

What else can a teaspoon do other than stirring our refreshing cup of coffee? Well, a Quora user, William Peynsaert, thinks of a brilliant idea to use a teaspoon for our evasion from negativity. [3]

All we need is a teaspoon. Nothing more.

Well, technically, we also need a pair of pants with pockets. In case we are not wearing any.

What we do is to put the teaspoon into either one side of the pocket. Whenever we feel like formulating a negative thought, put the teaspoon into another pocket. Just that simple.

The principle behind is that the action occupies our brains so we don’t have spare resources to bring up any negative thoughts. Usually we are quite impulsive to have negative thoughts and by the time we finished transferring the teaspoon, the urge is long gone and SNAP! We successfully stop a negative thought.

At first we may find ourselves doing it over and over again. But eventually, we will do this less and less.

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After all, we can choose whatever utensils or stationery or anything that fit us. It’s just a medium.

It may sound silly but it does work.

Instead of news, read something uplifting in the morning

It is common to watch morning news reports. For the sake of keeping abreast of the latest news. This is definitely good not to block ourselves off the outside world. But, what news is mostly about?

Car crash. Terrorist attack. Natural disaster. All sorts of disheartening incidents.

I am not suggesting us not read any news but a trade off. Devote part of your morning on something more uplifting.

Start our daily confidence programming habit. Instead of news update, begin our day by reading a chapter of an empowering book. We can also go for our favorite spiritually boosting and inspirational materials.

Here are some suggestions for books if you are struggling to begin with:

These are some popular good books for you. Of course you can look for your perfect ones.

List 3 things you’re grateful for every day

It is simple and easy to do. Try to list at least 3 things we are grateful for every day. In the end, we won’t realize how much it helps us.

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Researches [4] reveal a multitude of benefits in expressing gratitude on a daily basis. Being grateful is associated with our well-being. It can also improve relationships and help with emotional maturity. Gratitude can simply promote happiness.

It’s true that we can always find dissatisfaction in life. Same to satisfaction. Half-filled and half-empty glass.

It’s actually a piece of cake to find things we can express gratitude on.

Start of weekend. Cats and dogs outside. Hiking trip cancelled. Meh!

Well, at least we have a home sheltering us. We even have Netflix to entertain ourselves.

Or, year review.. NO pay raise. Can it be worse?

You are not sacked, aren’t you? You still have a stable job.

Or even, back to very basic. We are still alive, right? We are still living in this world of mystery and amazement. We still have lots to explore. There’s nothing to mourn on.

There are always angels and devils in our brains. While we are usually the devil’s advocate, try to stand on the angel’s side now.

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Use the app “Happify” to cultivate positivity scientifically

Ever imagined an app to ‘happify’ ourselves. An app to delight ourselves and brighten our day?

Then try Happify, an app designed specially for us to handle our negative emotions. It provides us with scientifically-proven tools and techniques to promote our emotional well-being.

    It consists of short activities and games for us to relearn situations and be more aware of the subtle little things we should be grateful for.

    While we usually the gadgets are taking a toll out of us, it is now possible to cultivate positivity right back from it.

    Celebrate your small wins every day

    One easy way to start cultivating our positivity is to write down our small wins on a daily basis. And research has reassured the potential benefits of doing so.

    Progress is a lot more than just a step closer to success, as Amabile and Kramer suggest. In fact, if we properly record our progress, no matter how small it is, we instantly receive a confidence boost!

    Teresa Amabile from Harvard Business School and Steven Kramer read through approximately 12,000 diary entries written by 238 individuals from 7 different companies. The employees were asked to write about their emotions and moods, motivation levels, and perceptions of the work environment as well as what work they did and what events stood out in their minds on a daily basis for 4 months. [5]

    The result showed that any accomplishment, regardless of its size, activates the reward circuitry of our brains. Once activated, a chemical dopamine is released and this chemical is associated to the feeling of pride and achievement.

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    More importantly, the chemical also motivates us to continue on with the taking challenges and to attempt to repeat the same achievement next time. This forms a positive reinforcement loop that makes us more likely to be successful.

    So pay close attention to what you achieved. Ran for 400m? Got up 10 minutes earlier? Mark these down and recognize yourself! It’s never too much.

    Reference

    More by this author

    Jeffrey Lau

    Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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    Last Updated on November 19, 2021

    25 Signs That You’re A Mentally Strong Person

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    25 Signs That You’re A Mentally Strong Person

    I am not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode that always comes to mind is when Wesley Crusher had just missed getting into Star Fleet Academy. Captain Picard consoles him by telling him the real measure of a man is what he learns from his mistakes.

    If you look at real-life historical figures, there are many examples of those that exhibit mental toughness. One that stands out is Teddy Roosevelt. His words and deeds tell the true character he possessed.

    Teddy Roosevelt. Captain Picard. Examples in fiction and nonfiction of inner strength and fortitude. But many people may not look at themselves as a mentally strong person. We are often our  harshest critics and do not realize what kind of strengths we possess. Here are 25 signs that show you have nerves of steel:

    1. You don’t yell or become easily angry.

    Even in the harshest stress factors, you choose to stay calm and you try to handle situations smoothly. You feel that by raising your voice, you’re lowering yourself.

    2. You are open to feedback.

    You are not afraid to voice your opinion; neither are you afraid to take other’s opinions or feedback, whether they’re negative or positive. You rather welcome it so you can learn.

    3. You apologize when necessary.

    You know well when you’ve made a mistake and you apologize, not worrying about losing face. You are aware that by apologizing, you’ll be the bigger person.

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    4. You are willing to adjust to bring improvement.

    Being a mentally strong person, you’re adaptable to change. You know that change is good for whatever condition you’re in.

    5. You don’t limit your thoughts to just superficial matters

    You don’t just see things as they are. You look deep into matters and you read into things before drawing a conclusion.

    6. You refrain from expectations on others.

    You don’t expect anything in return when you go the extra mile for someone. You have always been selfless.

    7. You know how to set boundaries to keep things in perspective.

    You don’t let others cross the limits you’ve set, and you let others know about those limits politely yet firmly.

    8. You are open to receiving help.

    You are well aware of the areas you’re weak in and you are not afraid to ask for help from others. You know that by doing so, you’re only learning.

    9. You are not co-dependent.

    You are just not the kind who relies on others emotionally or just to get things done. By doing so, you maintain a healthy relationship both personally and professionally.

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    10. You follow your instincts.

    You believe in gaining experiences, because of which you learn to follow your instincts to guide your judgment.

    11. You forgive yourself.

    It’s hard to move on if you don’t let go, and this is one of the things you’ve learned over the years. So you forgive yourself when you make a mistake and leave the past where it belongs instead of dwelling on it.

    12. You understand your limitations.

    You have certain limits that you’ve established for yourself and you’ve embraced them because you know well that that is who you are.

    13. You understand that conflict can bring resolution to a problem.

    You know that holding grudges has never been a solution to problems, nor has anyone achieved anything out of it. So you think of a solution, instead.

    14. You avoid procrastination.

    You prefer to finish the task at hand before moving to the next one. Although procrastination sounds appealing, it only keeps piling up work.

    15. You take negativity with grain of salt.

    You’ve hardly ever made assumptions without first being fully aware of the situation. You avoid believing in the negative stuff that you’ve been told, as much as you can.

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    16. You are responsible in financial matters.

    You, in general are a wise person. You don’t only make decisions wisely; you also avoid spending money foolishly.

    17. You know that persistence pays off.

    You have a strong will power which doesn’t let you give up on things you really want. You keep persisting until you know success is at your doorstep.

    18. You find ways around any obstacle.

    You keep trying and you don’t stop until you’ve achieved that target. Giving up just isn’t your thing, but looking for alternatives is.

    19. You are always looking for ways to improve yourself.

    You often feel that you can do better and that there’s always room for improvement, because you embraced the fact that no one is perfect a long time back.

    20. You take action in maintaining your health.

    If you’re not healthy, you’re not wealthy and wise — and that you’re motto. So you try to eat, sleep, drink and breathe healthy as much as is possible for you.

    21. You try new things outside your comfort zone.

    It’s not as if you get bored easily but staying put gives you no exposure nor do you learn. You move outside that comfort zone to experience change and fun along with it.

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    22. You do not blame circumstances on extrinsic things.

    You take everything into consideration and you know that blaming something that’s beyond your control is useless and silly.

    23. You use your time wisely.

    Going around wasting your time is a big “NO” for you. So you choose to spend that time productively so that others along with you can benefit.

    24. You let others take the lead.

    You know how things are done so you sit back, relax and others take the lead while you enjoy. You do try to give them your full support, though, if they need it.

    25. You remain calm and clear of thought during a crisis.

    Good result of anything comes out when it’s done with a peaceful and a calm mind. So even in a crisis situation, you try your best to remain calm.

    Life is full of challenges that must be dealt with. The ability to deal with these challenges requires some degree of mental toughness. The types of stress in daily life can vary. Things happen, from missing a credit card payment to dealing with death in the family. Everyone also deals with problems in a different capacity.

    Some may question whether they have any mental toughness in them. Certain people have ice in their veins, while others are ready to run at a moment’s notice. If you feel you are someone who lacks being a mentally strong person, train yourself to be. Read about people whose actions you admire.

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    Study those that dealt with adversity and created change. Learn how to use that for positive change in your own life.

    Featured photo credit: Louish Pixel via flickr.com

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