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5 Steps To Build A Positive Thinking You’ll Be Proud Of

5 Steps To Build A Positive Thinking You’ll Be Proud Of

When it comes to your health and well-being, the thoughts you think are just as powerful as the food you eat and the exercise you get.  Your mind is a powerful force with a profound influence on the way you experience life.  It was once thought that eating a healthy diet and getting appropriate exercise was enough to ward off illness and maintain one’s health; however, research has consistently proven that your positive thoughts play a huge role in your well-being. We’ve all been given the advice to ‘think positive’ and ‘look on the bright side’, and for good reason; when practiced regularly, we become more resilient to stress and the negative thought patterns that can develop.

Negative thoughts are emotionally and physically draining, and they often lead to judging others or ourselves.  Negative thoughts close us off to the people and possibilities around us and limit our experiences .  They can also be self-perpetuating; once a negative thought patterns begin, it takes some work to reverse those patterns.  Positive thoughts, on the other hand, can leave you much more open.  From that place it’s easy to embrace all of the potential joy and happiness your experiences have to offer.  And when positive thinking is part of your daily living and becomes a habit, you begin to build a skill set of of abilities and emotional resources that you can use later in life.  For example, you may develop the ability to communicate more effectively, to experience and explore the world around you differently, to empathize with others, or to express yourself more effectively.  These skills will broaden your sense of possibilities and options in any situation allowing you to experience the world in a more positive way, which will help you in having more positive thoughts.

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Here are 5 things you can do right now to make the shift to positive thinking you’ll be proud of.

1)  There are lessons everywhere.

When you are in the middle of a negative experience, it is easy to look at the damaging way it’s impacting your life.  It is easy to dwell on the many ways you are being inconvenience or even hurt by the circumstances.  It’s human nature to look at things that way‒at least, initially.  Re-frame your thoughts around the situation by looking at the lessons and opportunities the situation has to offer. Every situation has the preverbal sliver lining; sometimes we just have look for it.  While in the throes of the situation ask yourself “what am I supposed to learn from this situation? and “how can I grow personally as a result of this?”  Some of the biggest lessons come from the most difficult situations; and although we may not see them until much later on, navigating the situation will be easier when you approach it as an opportunity too learn.

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2)  Let go of the need for perfection.

When we set the standards for ourself or others in our lives at a very high level, it is easy to miss the mark.  Judgement is the natural outcome of failing to achieve the standard you’ve set, and judgement is almost always negative.  By letting go of the need for perfection in yourself and others, you allow yourself further opportunity for joy and satisfaction, as well as thoughts that bring about positive feelings toward yourself, your environment and the people in it.

3)  Be present.

In our multi-sensory, information-driven world, it is very easy to be distracted.  In reality, the brain is designed to attend to (or do) one thing at a time, to do that one thing efficiently and then move on to the next task.  When you can train your brain and nervous system to shut out all of the distractions and focus on the task at hand, you begin to experience life very differently.  Being present with whatever situation you find yourself in is truly a gift to not only yourself, but anyone else involved in that moment with you.  If you find this difficult to do initially, remind yourself of what you are there to do and gently pull yourself back into the moment.  Over time, this mode of being will become very natural to you, and as your nervous system relaxes, you will make more room for a deeper presence in your life.

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4)  Be grateful.

When people think about the many blessings in their lives, their thoughts automatically change to positive ones.  End each day by expressing your gratitude for the things, people, circumstances, or situations, from your day that you were grateful about.  They don’t have to be grand; often the simplest things have the greatest meaning.  Recently I was grateful that a young man held a door open for me as I struggled to carry grocery bags.  His thoughtful action put a smile on my face that lasted well into the day and left me with a feeling of having to pay his generosity forward to someone else in need.

5)  Focus on what you want more of.

What you focus on grows.  By focusing on the positive things in your life, you will get more positive things in your life.  When you focus on negative things, well, more negative things are likely to arise. Ask yourself what you would like more of.  Create opportunities to have more of those things and the things you want less of will naturally, and over time, fall by the wayside.

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Positive thinking becomes a way of being when practiced daily.  It also becomes a way to open your heart and mind to the amazing possibilities of life that will build your happiness, resilience and joy.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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