Scientists believe that positive thinking is a learnt behaviour – that the mind can actually be trained to think more positively. I want to preface this post by saying I use to be a pretty negative person. The worst part is that I didn’t see anything wrong with being that way. I pegged myself as being ‘upfront’ and ‘honest’ and I took pride in those traits. It wasn’t until I hit a low point (different story for a different day) that I decided something had to change.
This is when I began reading the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Some of you may have read the book, if you haven’t I suggest you do! It was with the help of this book about 8 years ago that I began to improve my mindset. Living a more positive life is not an overnight process, and in my opinion it’s a trait that can always be improved upon. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Read, read, read
There are a ton of people out there (much wiser than you and I) who have taken the time to put their wisdom down on paper for us to learn from. Take advantage of that. Maybe reading isn’t your thing and if it’s not that’s okay. You don’t have to commit yourself to reading an entire novel. Maybe just read quotes instead… small snippets of inspiration… small reminders on a daily basis go a long way in helping you stay on track. There is a ‘the secret’ app based off the book that offers ‘a secret a day’. Its $5.99 but totally worth it in my opinion.
2. Think twice before you speak
As Maya Angelo once said ‘words are things’ – so before you go around letting your mouth run the show and saying whatever negative comment creeps into your mind STOP… Take a moment, think about it, and then think about it again. Does what you were about to say serve a purpose? Or are you just wanting to hear yourself speak? Most of the time we are narrating our way through life saying things like “it’s cold”, “I’m tired”, “this chair is uncomfortable” when really those thoughts don’t need to be vocalized. Choose to focus on and express the positive aspects of your day instead.
3. Practice gratitude – you’re alive, aren’t you?
This one is a no brainer but it’s funny how often we can forget to be grateful for all that we have. The very fact that you are sitting there, alive, breathing, and educated enough to know how to read this is something to be SO DAMN grateful for. Whether you believe it or not, when you are grateful for the good things in your life you open yourself up to receiving more goodness. Start your day with this mindset – each morning when you are getting ready say out loud 5 things you are genuinely grateful for. Better yet write them down… in fact, start a gratitude journal. Make gratitude a priority and watch your life begin to shift.
Some people think affirmations are silly, but don’t shoot the messenger they actually work.In case you’ve been living under a rock, an affirmation is a positive statement that is meant to be repeated to improve your frame of mind on a specific topic. For example, every morning I affirm out loud “my actions are intentional and they bring me closer to my goals”. Your affirmation should speak to you on a personal level, and if you aren’t big on writing there are about a million affirmations online… just type it into google.
5. Set Intentions
I set new intentions for myself every month. A short list of simple goals, or things I want to pay extra attention to that month. When you are laser focused on self-improvement you will have less time to worry about the dark side. More importantly, achieving these small goals will give you something to feel good about… and when you feel good you project those feelings creating a more positive environment.
6. Don’t beat yourself up
There’s always going to be moments or days when you get into a negative mindset or say a negative comment, I do it all the time, we are only human after all. So, when this happens don’t dwell on it because the dwelling can cause a negative spiral… and then you will feel worse for being negative about that… and around and round we go! Give yourself some wiggle room to acknowledge the sucky things that may arise then move along.
7. Cultivate a positive environment
They say you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Make sure you aren’t surrounding yourself with a bunch of Debbie downers whose favourite topic of convo are how lame Becky’s new hair, how boring bowling with Aunt Cheryl will be, or how much they hate Mondays.
8. Use the best tool at your disposal – your breath
Breath work is the most under-utilized tool like EVER! Anytime I get anxious, annoyed, upset, or get stuck in a negative rut I turn to my breathing. There are a ton of breathing exercises out there but I will tell you about my favourite one. Close your eyes, take three deep inhales through your nose, then exhale back through your nose. You are welcome!!
If you’ve made it this far in the post then clearly you are or at least care about being a more positive person. Give yourself some claps for that and go about your awesome day.