Last Updated on April 8, 2021

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

In order for you to change your life, you must first change the way you think. If you are new to self-improvement, this is something that you must understand. Looking back at the various figures who have made dramatic changes in their life, there was a point where they had to shift toward positive thinking.

This concept isn’t as simple as it looks on the surface. Much like any habit, there are particular ways to go about tapping into the power of positive thinking and to be thinking positively on a daily basis.

What Is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is precisely what it says. It’s a series of habits and thought patterns that make you see things in a more positive light. One common example is seeing the failures you experience as lessons and opportunities to grow.

Positive thinking encompasses a number of things and impacts our lives in big ways. Positive thinking can create changes such as:

  • The way you talk to people both online and in person.
  • The people you attract.
  • How you inspire and encourage other people both directly and indirectly.
  • Your productivity methods and overall working capabilities.
  • Your stress level and how you manage it.

From this description, you can say that thinking positive is much like a lifestyle. The more positive you are, the more good things will appear around you, even in situations where you experience setbacks or challenges.

Another way to look at positive thinking is the addition of good thinking habits replacing bad ones. For example, how many times have you said “I can’t do that task” or “I’ll never achieve this goal of mine”? By definition, thinking this way will guarantee that you’ll avoid that task and put less effort toward that goal. On the other hand, by thinking “I can do that task” or “Someday, I’ll achieve that goal,” you’ll be motivated to work towards those objectives.

How Does Positive Thinking Change Your Life?

For those who have been in the self-improvement world, you can tell from the points above how your life can be impacted. Things like improved productivity, being more approachable, and more can create ripple effects throughout your life.

Getting into more details, these things can translate to larger things in your life. Some changes that positive thinking will do to your life are things like:


  • Being able to achieve goals consistently when you set them.
  • A dramatic change in your attitude.
  • Using money in a more intelligent manner to the point you’ll be earning more.
  • Having more like-minded friends.
  • Being more generous and kind to others.
  • Living a longer life.[1]

Positive thinking from this viewpoint can sound like it’s too good to be true, though this is no simple task. It’s not a matter of flipping a switch, and suddenly you’ve learned how to think positive. That said, these are good incentives to be working towards, and there is research behind these things being true.

How to Tackle Negative Thoughts

Another key aspect to positive thinking is that positive thinking isn’t about eliminating all negativity from your life[2]. Our lives do have negative events; you’ll make mistakes, fail, and have setbacks. However, it’s important that you strike a balance between being aware of reality and accepting your surroundings and thinking optimistically.

There is no right or wrong method to pick from, but being able to limit negative self-talk in various areas of your life comes down to a few simple techniques. Here are some examples.

Follow a Precise Guide to Cultivating a Positive Mindset

The guide involves looking for feedback, paying attention to your thought patterns, and rearranging them to accept negative emotions. Other guides will bring you through the process by getting you to believe you can change your attitude all the way to avoiding toxic positivity.

Learn About Your Thinking Style

Are you a logical thinker or an emotional one? Do you focus on the short-term or the long-term? Do you naturally sway toward the positive or the negative? Identifying all of these things can help you get a handle on how your mind naturally works before you go about changing it.

One way to tap into your thinking style is to learn about how you are motivated. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style? One you know your motivation style, you’ll begin to understand yourself and how you think on a daily basis.

Create a Curiosity Around Negative Thoughts

Looking at negative thoughts as something interesting instead of as something damaging is a good step toward giving them less power. When a negative thought comes around, try writing it down and contemplating it for a few moments.

Why did that thought come about, and why are you looking at that particular thing in a negative way? How can you change that thought into something positive?


10 Simple Habits to Practice Positive Thinking

The methods mentioned above are ways to nullify the impact of negative thoughts. There will be times where you will still think negatively, but the impact will lessen. This is especially true when you incorporate various habits into your life to improve your positive thinking.

Here are some things to consider to help you cultivate a positive mindset.

1. Do One Act of Kindness Daily

Making someone smile has as much of an impact on them as it does for you. Doing good things feels good, which is why many of us feel compelled to make donations to non-profit organizations. The act of charity warms our hearts.

But you can make more of an impact by doing something nice for someone else. Smile and say hello to someone, give someone a compliment, or help them out in a small way if you see them having issues.

2. Laugh More

Along a similar vein, positive emotions cause us to shift our attitude, and laughter is another big one to consider. Laughter shouldn’t be forced though, so make a point of being around people who can make you genuinely laugh. This can be a comedian, a friend or family member, or anyone who can get you to chuckle.

3. Read More Positive Material

Our social media diet is one of the largest influencers of our mood. That, along with television or other video content. If you’re watching or reading content that makes you angry, negative, or hateful, that behavior is going to project onto everything else you do and get in the way of positive thinking.

To change that, you must change how you are consuming content and what you gravitate toward. Make a point of reading some positive news and developments. Another option is to read or watch videos that focus on things that you’re passionate about.

4. Set Goals

Another solid method is to set goals and work to achieve them. This can tackle a lot of negative thoughts as people often set goals and give up due to negative thoughts most of the time.


Setting goals and striving to achieve them on a regular basis allows you to build the framework to overcome those negative thought hurdles. You’ll eventually stop making excuses and focus on the task at hand.

5. Have a Strong Morning Ritual

In general, what you do first thing in the morning determines the energy you put toward the rest of your day. We all have our usual routine in the morning, and many times that routine doesn’t put people in a space that’s conducive to positive thinking.

My recommendation is to mix up your morning ritual to include some positive things. Examples are doing some exercises, showing yourself some self-love through gratitude and positive affirmations, or maybe doing something you enjoy, such as completing a puzzle or writing a poem.

6. Ask the Proper Questions

Negativity is something that we have to accept, but how we change the impact of it can be through questions. The catch is that you need to be asking the right kind of questions first.

For example, if you’re a pessimist, the questions you’ll be asking yourself are negative. “Why did this happen to me?” “Why do bad things happen to me whenever I try something?” These are negative because you’re painting yourself as a victim, and it does nothing for your mindset but slow you down.

Instead, start asking questions like:

  • What’s one good thing about this situation?
  • What is it that I can learn from these events and circumstances?
  • What is one small thing I can do right now to start fixing this?

By asking these questions, you’ll start to give your brain some tasks to ponder over to solve this situation and gain something from these experiences.

7. Create a Positive Environment

Consuming positive content is one way of creating a positive environment, but there are other things that can influence it. In general, creating an environment where you can be positive is key to development. This means:


  • Do the things that bring joy and energy into your life.
  • Be around positive people who lift you up.
  • Continue to strengthen that environment by reinforcing standards for what’s acceptable for you and what isn’t.

8. Meditate

Meditation is another morning activity to consider and one to do overall if you want to practice positive thinking. Meditation provides a number of benefits when done on a regular basis.

Meditation provides you with an opportunity to look inside yourself and see what makes you tick. It helps you to look at thought patterns and to begin rearranging them. It’s a powerful method because it adds perspective to who you really are and what you truly think[3].

From there you can make drastic changes by simply meditating.

9. Write Down Your Thoughts and Tackle the Issues

Similar to meditating, consider jotting down the thoughts that come to mind whenever you feel stressed. During these periods, you’ll see that when you’re stressed, you’ll be writing down things that cause you to feel stressed. It could be something extreme, or it could be a series of small things you need to do that have piled up.

The idea is to write out those thoughts and the next day begin working on fixing those problems to make room for a more positive outlook.

10. Read Positive Thinking Books

The last method to boosting positive thinking is to be reading more books on the subject. Positive thinking is a subject that has been researched heavily, and there is a lot of information on it. You’ll find a lot of it overlapping or having similar elements, but it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few books and read what the author has to say on the subject.

While reading articles is great, a book has more room to add more details and perspectives that aren’t otherwise there when reading an article.

Final Thoughts

Positive thinking is not something that can be done overnight. It’s something that takes time as it involves rewiring your very way of thinking and reinforcing habits. It’s not an easy path, but it can lead to many avenues opening up to you in various ways. The road to success and to great change is through a positive and developing mindset for better physical and mental health.

More Tips on Positive Thinking

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via


More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive Do You Know Your Motivation Style? A Stress-Free Way To Prioritizing Tasks And Ending Busyness How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet) What Is A Flow State And How To Achieve It For Productivity

Trending in Positive Thinking

1 What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive 2 4 Signs You Have a Distorted Self-Image (And How To Fix It) 3 10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead 4 20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong 5 How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative

Read Next


Published on March 23, 2021

4 Signs You Have a Distorted Self-Image (And How To Fix It)

4 Signs You Have a Distorted Self-Image (And How To Fix It)

In the perfect world, we would take great pride in the body that we have and recognize that we are beautiful in our skin. However, the truth is, feeling like this is not all that common. Whilst it may be common for some people to think that they are not the best version of themselves and want to change it, some see their body in an entirely different way from how anyone else would see them.

This is what is known as a distorted self-image.

What is a distored self-image? If you have a distorted self-image, the way that you may see yourself is not accurate. You may think that you are shorter than you are and a bigger clothes size than you are. You may also focus on specific aspects of your self-image, thinking that they are much more apparent than they are to anyone else looking at you.

Not only can a distorted self-image impact your physical appearance, but it can also affect how you view your talents, your abilities and the values that you have too.

Signs That You Have a Distorted Self-Image

It can be hard to know when you have a distorted self-image; after all, the way you feel is how you feel. You may think that the way you view yourself is usual and is just the way you are. But this is not an accurate portrayal of you and how you fit into the world.

The signs that you may have a distorted self-image vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs that you should make sure that you look out for, as this will help you to identify the problem and try to work toward a solution for the future.

1. You Are Highly Critical of Your Body and the Way That You Look

Look in the mirror, what do you think? If you are immediately highlighting all your flaws to yourself, then you may more than likely have a distorted self-image.

It is normal sometimes to see an issue that you may want to fix; however, if this is all that you see and you keep telling yourself that these flaws make you unattractive, you may need to change the way you see yourself.


2. You Attach Shame to Your Weight or Your Appearance

Shame is a strong emotion, and it is not one that you should carry around with you. If you feel any shame when you look in the mirror or step onto the scales, this is not the right mindset.

While shame can come from your thoughts and feelings, there are also times when you may feel shame because of the things that other people around you have said or done over the years.

3. Your Sense of Worth Is Tied to How You Look

One of the most dangerous things you can do is tie the sense of worth that you have for yourself with how you look.

You are more than your appearance, and you should never link the two together. This is a recipe for a whole host of problems related to having a distorted self-image.

Instead, you should see your worth by what you can give to the world, your talents, time, and kind nature. All of those things make you the unique person you are, not whether you have cellulite that you are sure everything can see or that you think that your nose is too big.

4. You Spend a Large Amount of Time Focusing on Your Weight, Your Exercise and What You Eat

It is good to be active, and we should try to eat as balanced a diet as we can to keep ourselves healthy. But, this is not something that you should be fixated on.

If you find that you spend most of your time focused on what you eat, tracking your calories and exercise, this will leave you a) feeling deflated and b) with not much time to think about all the great things about being you and living your life.

How To Fix Your Distorted Self-Image

You may think that you can live your life even though you have a distorted self-image; however, the truth is, you can’t.


You need to change things, and you need to turn your view of yourself around. But how do you do this?

1. Take Small Steps

Changing how you see yourself will take time, which means that you need to ensure that you take steps that are as small as possible.

Don’t try to change your entire outlook on yourself instantly; you are just setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set yourself smaller goals, little leaps, which you can achieve, before moving on to the next one.

2. Stop Listening to That Critical Voice

You are your own worst critic, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure that you stop listening to that little voice inside that is pointing out all your flaws. It will be hard to silence it, but you can replace those negative thoughts with positive ones when you focus on challenging those negative thoughts.

Check out this article for more advice: How Negative Self Talk Is Slowly Sabotaging Your Life

3. Learn to Appreciate Yourself More

One simple thing that you can do to improve your self-image is to take the time to remember what makes you so unique.

You only need to dedicate a few minutes to this, but what it will do is show you that there is plenty to love about being you and turn what could be a negative mood into a much more positive one.

4. Stop Finding Fault in Being Good Enough

There is no shame in being “good enough” sometimes; just being what you can be is great, and you should never feel any shame in this.


Here’re 5 Reasons Why Being a Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

So many times, we try to find fault because we are not excelling in everything. Sure, there are some things that we can push ourselves harder (particularly where we are talented or skilled), but, for the most part, trying on best is enough.

5. Realize That Comparing Doesn’t Help

It is good to take inspiration from other people and see them as the catalyst that you need to help you achieve the best possible. However, comparing yourself is not always a healthy approach. Other people are going to be better than you at things; they will be taller than you, have longer hair, and have a flatter stomach. This is just part and parcel of life.

Once you can appreciate that you should accept you, rather than wish you were them, you are one step closer to boosting your self-image.

Here’s How to Stop Comparing Your Life to Others (Step-by-Step Guide).

6. Find Supportive People

We should make sure that we spend time with people who make us feel great, rather than with those who make us feel less than great.

You will have people around you who can drain you with their negativity, so, as much as you can, limit your time with them. Instead, focus on those who make you feel great, supportive of who you are, and positive in their outlook on life. Not only will they remind you of all the great things you have, but they will also be a massive boost to your mood.

This is How To Stay Away From Toxic People When It’s Hard To Do So.


7. Eat the Right Food

We have already covered how those with a distorted self-image are likely to become fixated on the food that they eat. While it is not a good idea to let your diet take over your life, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try and eat the right foods.

Think about the foods that make you feel full of energy and those that don’t. Try and have as balanced a diet as you can, drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

However, don’t limit yourself to a life without treats. If you want to treat yourself, then do it. You are going to feel amazing for it, we can promise you!

8. Do Something Nice For Someone Else

If you feel down on yourself and your place in the world, then remind yourself just what good you can do. There is always going to be someone out there who could benefit from your help. So offer it!

Think about the ways that you could give back. You can give back to colleagues at work, you can give back to family and friends, or you could give back to your wider community. Any of these approaches will make you feel great and show you that you have worth and value too.

Find out Why Helping Others Actually Helps Yourself.

Final Thoughts

The simple thing to remember when it comes to self-image is that you are in control. You need to think about what you bring to the world and your place in it.

Don’t be too hard on yourself for your physical flaws; these cannot be changed. Instead, focus on being able to look after yourself. Not only will it help you to feel better about yourself as a person, but it will also help you to feel better about how you fit in with those around you.

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via

Read Next