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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

How to Think Happy Thoughts and Train Your Brain to Be Happy

How to Think Happy Thoughts and Train Your Brain to Be Happy

Do you know that your brain can produce unhappy and happy thoughts? No matter what you’re going through, for example amist the coronavirus epidemic, you’re capable to think happy.

Sometimes we think it’s our genes that make us the kind of person we are. However, that’s not the whole story. Often we are so preoccupied with the status quo that we forget we have the power to become the person we want to be.

If happiness is what you’re after, know that by training your brain, you can program your mind to make yourself happy. And let’s face it, who is not looking to be happy?

Here’s how you can start instilling happy thoughts in your brain:

1. You Choose How Happy You Are

How? By the type of thoughts you make. Positive thoughts make you happy, while negative thoughts make you unhappy.

“I’m so fat.” – That’s a negative thought that makes you feel helpless.

“I will never achieve this.” – Another negative thought.

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“I like spending time with my spouse.” – A positive thought that brings you good feelings.

“Let’s go on vacation, babe!” – Now that’s excitement! Happiness is here!

So far so good.  But how can you produce more positive thoughts so that you’re happier?

2. You CAN Train Your Brain to Think Happy Thoughts

By training your brain to think more positively than negatively, you’ll become happier. Here’s an example:

Have you noticed how some people feel bad about themselves when someone criticizes them, while others never seem to care?

What most people don’t know is that how you react to criticism is a habit – a thinking habit.

Some people habitually take it personally and feel unhappy, while others are habitually indifferent and keep being happy.

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That isn’t true just about criticism. It’s true about everything: how you react to compliments; how you react to bad drivers; how you react when you feel threatened or taken advantage of.

By actively choosing different thoughts, you can reinforce the habit of thinking positively and decrease the habit of thinking negatively.

But what about occasions that are indeed negative? Does this mean you should deny the truth and wear rose-colored glasses? No.

3. You Can Think Positive and Still Be Realistic

Some people equate “thinking positively” as wearing rose-colored glasses. That’s not what I am suggesting.

“I’m so unfit” – a negative thought that brings in bad feelings.

“I’m so unfit but I am now exercising and I’m getting fitter every day!” – started out as a negative thought, but got twisted into a positive thought. The result? One step closer to happiness!

You see, the word “but” is magical: it keeps your thoughts realistic, but they no longer make you unhappy!

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4. Add a “But” to Turn Your Unhappiness Into Happiness

If you could just add a harmless “but” to every negative thought you produced, you could transform all negative thoughts into positive ones.

The result? You could transform all your unhappiness into happiness! A few examples:

  • “I feel like will never lose weight” becomes “I feel like I will never lose weight, but I know there are other people who used to be exactly like me and made it happen!”
  • “I will never find love” becomes “I will never find love if I keep staying at home just like I am right now. But if I start going out more, my luck might change.”
  • “I will never pay off this debt” becomes “I will never pay off this debt, but I could pay some of it if I start saving $100 more every month.”

See how powerful the word “but” is? It’s like having a happiness magic wand!

5. The More You Get Used to Adding a “But,” the Better Happiness Results You Get

At first you’ll need practice. Adding a “but” to your negative thoughts does not come naturally when you’re just starting out.

However, the more you do it, the more your brain creates neural pathways that build the habit of thinking “but” automatically every time you think negatively.

This “but” technique will literally change the structure of your brain and elevate your happiness level dramatically. Being happy can be that easy.

6. Stop Making Meaningless Affirmations

Many people try to jump to the happy thought directly from the unhappy thought. So instead of thinking “I’m so unfit, but I am now exercising and I’m getting fitter every day,” they’ll think “I’m fit”. They jumped from “I’m so unfit” to “I’m fit”.

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The problem is that usually those affirmations and “happy thoughts” are not really happy thoughts. They instead make you unhappy. Why? Because you don’t believe them.

If you believe you’re unfit, you cannot fool yourself into believing you are fit. However, you can believe that you can get fit.

And that’s why the “but” technique works so marvelously. Just like the “what if” technique, it accepts where you are, but shows you the road ahead.

Identify your negative thought that you can turn into a positive one with the simple use of a “but” now. Today is the day you can start training your brain to be happy!

More About Positive Thinking

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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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:

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  • 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?

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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.

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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:

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  • 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.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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