As an active learner of becoming the best version of me, positive thinking is one of the key habits I’m working on. I’ve read books and other resources, listened to endless podcasts, attended workshops, and attend discussion groups.
If you, too, want to become a more positive person, here are some of my learnings that will help you become a more positive, and ultimately happier person.
Are Your Thoughts on Autopilot?
Life is supposed to be fun and filled with joy, so let’s take a look at a habit that will help you live like your glass is half full, not half empty; positive thinking. The word “habit” is important, because YOU can change habits that don’t serve you well.
First let’s discuss the flip side; negative thinking. As humans, we are all going to have some negative thoughts. It’s just the way our brain functions. Rehashing negative thoughts over and over exaggerates the issue and it can have a serious impact on our mindset.
Over time, negative thinking becomes habitual. It leads to negative thoughts happening so quickly that we don’t even realize our mind went straight to the negative side. It’s like our way of thinking is on autopilot.
Here’s an example of how thought patterns can be so ingrained in you that you’re caught up in bad feelings before you even consciously realize what’s going on.
Fact: Your significant other is a little late getting home.
Thoughts: There may have been an accident or some sort of trouble occurred. Or maybe you think he/she stopped for some fun without you or purposely left work late to avoid you.
Result: Choosing the thoughts in this example leads to you feeling worried, scared, angry, disrespected, and overall not happy.
These thoughts feel better: The fact that your honey is not home on time doesn’t mean they did it on purpose or that something terrible happened. It’s just a situation that sometimes happens to all of us. Better, more positive thoughts could be: I’m sure they’ll be home soon….. or, nice opportunity for me to sit down for a moment of peace and quiet.
Jumping to negative thoughts is not helpful and creates unnecessary feelings of stress, anger, fear, worry, and any other crappy feeling. Ultimately negativity gets in the way of you and the joy you deserve. This might sound obvious, but then why are there so many people in this habit?
Your Thoughts. Your choice.
Each of us has the ability to take control and reduce negative thinking, and this is something I’ve focused on for the last few years. Lose the autopilot habit of negative thoughts so the positive ones can shine.
If a negative mode of thinking has gotten you to where you are in life, don’t fret. You can “reprogram” yourself to become aware of the habit, and then CHOOSE to react differently. Make a new habit of thinking positively. Negative thoughts won’t suddenly stop but you can bring them down to a slow crawl.
If you can recognize negative thoughts as soon as they start, you can curb them before they get really rolling. You don’t have to let these thoughts rule your life. You can take control back.
Bottom line is that you can choose to get angry or worry about a situation, or you can become aware of your negative thoughts and break the habit of negative thinking. Do you want to feel stressed and irritated? Of course not. So then you need to choose thoughts that make you feel calm and satisfied. Don’t let a situation bring you down.
How to Become a More Positive Person
I hope you’ve decided that no matter where you are on the negativity scale, that you’d like to slide closer to the positive end. Positivity is a learnable quality. You can learn to become a more optimistic person with a positive attitude.
Here are the steps I’ve taken to make a habit of bringing more positive energy into my daily life.
Consciously be aware of your thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling happy, what thoughts got you there? When you’re feeling annoyed, what thoughts got you there? Your feelings are the indicator that will tell you if your thoughts are leaning toward the negative or positive side. Consider journaling to help you become better aware of your thoughts and feelings.
This step is huge. From experience, I know that it is eye-opening to put effort into being aware of what you’re thinking.
When you realize your thought is negative, stop! Take a big breath in, hold it for a moment, and then let the breath and the thought go.
Assuming the negative thought isn’t life threatening, make the choice to stop thinking negatively. It doesn’t matter if you feel you’re being treated unfairly or if you think someone is being rude. Just let it go! Every little thing that doesn’t go exactly as you desire doesn’t need to get you all upset.
Reverse the trend. Every time you have a negative thought, correct the thought. Figure out a different more positive thought that will produce a happier feeling. Attract what you want to your life by conditioning your mind with positive thinking.
If you’re annoyed with a person, take it a step further than just stopping the negative thought. Think about a few positive aspects of that person. (And don’t say there aren’t any!) Find a positive in every situation.
In one of self-improvement guru Dr. Wayne Dyer’s talks, he shared a great story to show how he once adjusted his thoughts. While on a trip, he used a restroom where there was a gentleman with a tip jar who handed Wayne a hand towel. Wayne thought that it was ridiculous that the guy would expect money for something he could easily grab himself. After leaving the room, he caught himself thinking poorly of that gentleman, and realized he had no idea of the circumstances in that man’s life. There was nothing good coming from his negative thoughts about the man, and he consciously changed his thoughts.
Just like Wayne did, try to guide your thoughts to a more positive place. Here’s a quote by Wayne Dyer that sums up how our thoughts affect us:
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Correct Your Actions If You Can
If you can, go back and correct the action you took based on negativity. In the story above, Wayne went back into the restroom and gave the gentleman a tip and a short, friendly hello or thank you of some sort.
If nothing else, give a person a smile because it might be just the thing they need to get them through their day. (Read my post Why Smiling is Good For You – it’s another way to get positive vibes flowing.)
Don’t Forget This Important Step
Changing your thought habit will take practice – likely months of practice – but it’ll be so worth the effort. At first it may seem awkward and useless because negative thoughts keep popping up, but stick with it. Out of the blue one day, you’ll handle an unpleasant situation in a no-drama manner and realize that your new positive thought habit is serving you well.
Overtime you’ll be able to manage your thoughts better and get rid of those useless negative thoughts that cause poor feelings. A positive mindset can really change your life, so practice, practice, practice!
Tips For Success
1. Watch Out for Negative Energy
Be conscious of who you spend time with because negative people are contagious. We all know someone who talks time and time again about their personal problems, but never take any steps to change.
Don’t let anyone bring you down because they have negative energy. Avoid chronic negative people or at least be aware of how their habit might be affecting you.
Instead of getting caught in their negative thinking, let positivity radiate out from you. Just think about the impact you can have on someone who is spewing negative energy if you counter it with positivity! You might stop them in their tracks or at least be a speed bump in their path.
2. Positive Affirmations
Your subconscious mind is taking notes on the thoughts you feed it, and it creates habit patterns that cause you to do thinking that you don’t even realize you’re doing. If you’re doing something that isn’t beneficial, the subconscious is still taking notes and doesn’t realize it’s hurting you.
Build up your subconscious mind with positive thoughts. Condition it to be more positive by repeating positive things until you believe it. Feed your brain positive thoughts to create positive habits that benefit you. Say positive things that align with the way you want life to be.
When you think and talk about what you want and how to get it, you feel good and in better control of your life.
3. Practice Simple Daily Habits
Read The Power of Positive Thinking where I give you 5 simple daily habits to become more positive.
4. Plant Seeds
To cultivate positive thinking within yourself, start to consider there’s something deeper you can take from unfortunate experiences. Challenging times are the seeds and you can find great gifts for ultimate happiness and success. When you think negatively, it’s real. But if you start to learn the positive thinking philosophy, you can get to the place where there is no problem that is not an opportunity. In time, you’ll be able to view every challenge as an opportunity.
When things go wrong, be eager to find something positive about the situation. When looking for good things, you’ll find it. And in the process, you’ll become a more positive, happier person.
Let life challenges, big or little, take control of your life and look at it as a learning opportunity. Make your glass half full, not half empty!
When the Going Gets Rough
Of course being positive and cheerful is easy when life is rolling along easy peasy and nobody is ruffling your feathers. Reality is that life isn’t always rosy, but using these tips to become the most positive person you can be will help you strengthen your habit of thinking positively. With practice, you’ll be ready to more easily fight negative thoughts and keep a positive outlook when rough times come along.
Using the power of positive thinking to develop a positive attitude can literally be life-changing.
Control your destiny and behavior through positive thinking. Having a positive attitude and being able to look at the sunny side is most important when things don’t go as you wish and you need to deal with unpleasant things. Your true attitude will shine when things don’t go as planned, so make sure it’s a positive attitude!
What do you think about changing habits and developing a more positive mindset? Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts.