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How to Build Positive Thinking to Improve a Bad Day

How to Build Positive Thinking to Improve a Bad Day

I’ve had some bad mornings in my life — mornings where I woke up late for work or school (sometimes even waking up after I was supposed to be there), hungover, still bruised and/or bleeding from the night before, broke, in a car, on the street, and next to some insane people. From that point, the day goes downhill — I lost my job, car, and house; missed the bus; went broke; missed lunch; said the wrong thing on the news; got surrounded by police and homeland security; and ended up in the hospital, where I was released with nothing but a pair of shorts and my iPhone. Despite all of these problems, I manage to wake up again the next day, ready to face and change the world with the power of positive thinking.

Happy people used to annoy me. I was never one of those happy people until the last year or so. Before I became happy, I would listen to angry music, relate to it, and start steering my life toward that direction. When 2Pac, Eminem, etc. shouted about their problems, I internalized them and made them my own. The anger they expressed became what I thought I had to be in order to follow the footsteps of my idols… but then I realized I don’t have to be angry; just because I have problems doesn’t mean I have to focus on them. Instead, I can resolve them internally and work toward a positive outcome. This is when I discovered the power of positive thinking, and I’d like to share with you its simplicity.

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    Just Do It

    The trick to positive thinking is to simply think positive. I know this sounds a bit obvious and unobtainable, but bear with me — it’s easier than it sounds. Your thoughts are under your control. You’re the only person who ever hears them unless you choose to say them or (preferably) act on them. Let’s say you’re a couple of dollars short on your electric bill; you can choose to either freak out and stress about how broke you are, lowering your mood and allowing your day to be controlled by the electric company, or you can choose to focus on how to make the best of the position you’re in.

    Take the MCs I used above as an example. Sure, 2Pac and Eminem aired their dirty laundry and angry thoughts in their music, but they didn’t climb to the top of the hip-hop game by doubting themselves. Both of these men put themselves out there, knowing they could fail, but also believing in themselves enough to rise above the competition. Eminem, for example, is known for publicly discussing his mama and baby-mama drama. Instead of dwelling on it, he made a career out of it, talked his problem out, and moved past them. You can do the same.

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      You’re Not Alone

      Life sucks sometimes, but it’s a beautiful experience you only get once. As Jay-Z put it, “Flowers need water to grow; It gotta rain. And in order to experience joy, you need pain.” Bad things happen to all of us — no matter how rich, famous, or successful we are. So why do some of us smile while others don’t? It’s not a natural disposition; some people just repeat mantras in their head whenever a bad thought enters their head.

      I get angry sometimes; other times I get sad, or even depressed. I’ve had thoughts of what things would be like if I were dead. I drove across the country to start over — twice. As recently as two years ago, I briefly considered ending my life. As recently as two days ago, I anguished over where the hell my life is going, and why it feels like I can’t do anything right. I’ve made mistakes and bad decisions that have cost me nearly everything on more than one occasion. There isn’t much I haven’t lost — but I continue getting back up, putting a smile on my face, and going back out there to try again. You can do this too, but you need to start thinking positively. Here’s how I do it.

       

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        Repeat After Me…

        When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is look myself in the mirror — it’s important to be able to face yourself in the mirror — and look at the man I’ve become. I reconnect with myself and remind myself that I’m a great guy. I compliment myself out loud to ensure the first words I both hear and say each day are positive. Then I clean myself up and eat breakfast to gather enough energy to be me. This sets the tone for the rest of the day.

        Throughout the day, I need a refresher for a variety of reasons: things don’t go as planned, something bad happens, someone rubs me the wrong way. During these times, my first thought used to be exasperation, but I forced myself to stop. I close my eyes for 10 seconds and breathe, repeating, “This, too, shall pass,” in my head over and over until I calm down. It’s a quick meditation to reset my train of thought. Whenever I have downtime, I take a moment to think about all of the wonderful people, places, and things in my life. I remind myself that I’m alive, I’m okay, and I’m fully capable of overcoming any obstacles.

         

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          Maintenance

          It was difficult at first, but eventually it took less and less time to get back into the game. The negative times have gotten less and less frequent (although they still happen). I still have a lot of problems (financial, romantic, career-based), but they don’t overwhelm me anymore. When something doesn’t go my way, I simply go a different route. Things haven’t necessarily gotten easier, but I accomplish much more. Knowing I’m constantly moving toward my goal (even if I fail, I’m still learning something and making progress) makes it easier to get through the hard times.

          The more you think positive, the easier it gets to think positive. Like everything else in life, it takes practice. If you’re feeling down and out, stop for a minute and think about everything you’re grateful for. Instead of thinking about your problems, think about your triumphs. The difference between a good day and a bad day is nothing more than the perspective in which it’s viewed. Think positive, and you’ll make a positive impact on this world. Get started right now.

           

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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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