One thing I believe in that a lot of people scoff at is the power of positive thinking.
“So you’re telling me that even when life sucks, all I have to do is think positive thoughts and all my problems will go away?”
No, that’s not what I’m saying. But I am saying that when you re-frame your thoughts and look at things from a different perspective, you will be a lot happier, even when you are having a sucky moment in life. I can tell you this from my own personal experience: being more positive can make a HUGE difference in your life!
I used to be a pessimist. My glass used to be half empty all. The. Time. I used to focus on the bad and take the good for granted. All I could see were the things that were going wrong. And like a domino effect, more things seemed to go wrong.
But when I started intentionally being more optimistic, things somehow started to get better. My glass was half full and I was thankful for the good things in life. And when bad things did happen, I could handle them better and with a clearer mind. When your attitude changes like that, of course you become happier.
Here are a few of the benefits you’ll get from positive thinking:
- Less stress and better ways of managing stress
- Stronger immune system
- Lower risk of heart problems
- Improved relationships
- More pleasant to be around
So today I thought I’d share my tips for becoming more positive, even when things DO suck.
I wanted to say that you can’t be happy ALL the time. That’s unrealistic, inhuman, and asking for disappointment. Trying to stay positive isn’t about never being upset. Traumatic things happen, bad things happen. And of course, we get upset about them. It’s not about ignoring or refusing to acknowledge negative emotions.
No, no, no.
It’s about learning how to not let being upset overtake you and learning to deal with negativity in a more healthy way. When I talk about being positive, I mean being able to have a more optimistic outlook on life instead of wallowing in negativity 24/7, constantly worrying and stressing about everything.
Now let’s get on with the post!
Here are my 7 best tips for being more positive:
1. Practice gratitude
Every morning when I wake up, I write down something I’m thankful for and put it in my gratitude jar (<< free printable!). Sometimes I write down big things I’m thankful for, like my amazing marriage. Sometimes I write down small things I’m thankful for, like a nice cup of tea. But no matter what, I make sure to think of at least one thing. This is great for helping you realize that there is always something to be grateful for – even when things are going wrong.
I read a book a little while back (Searching for Happiness) and I love something that the author said in it. I forget the exact words and story, but it was about a church that was learning about gratitude and thanking God. Someone said that even when you’re going through something absolutely horrible and can’t think of a single thing to be happy about, you can at least be grateful for the fact that your life isn’t always like that. Gratitude is seriously powerful.
2. Let go of toxic relationships
One of the toughest things that I’ve done is leaving a friendship that wasn’t good for me. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who you were close to, but it’s necessary if you ever want to be happy and free. I’m not saying dump all your friends – but you have to cut ties with people who are not good for you. This friend I’m talking about was constantly complaining about every little thing I did, constantly focused on herself and all of her problems, constantly threatening to end the friendship. How is that healthy? It’s not.
If you have any friendships that almost make it feel like you’re trapped or suffocated, friends that are just always complaining, friends that make you feel like they’re pulling you down or purposely trying to make you feel bad – it’s time to drop ’em. They absolutely kill your positive vibe. Here’s a post to help you deal with these negative relationships.
3. Take care of yourself
I know that some of the things that I’m saying might seem self-centered or even selfish but they’re not, I promise. Sometimes life can be so chaotic and so demanding that you completely forget to give yourself the care and attention that you need. Self-care isn’t just healthy – it’s vital if you want to be happy and balanced.
Self-care allows you to clear your mind, relax, get re-energized, and be better at taking care of all of life’s responsibilities. I recommend spending time AT LEAST once a week by yourself, doing whatever you think you should do to practice self-care. Here’s a list of 26 ideas if you don’t know what to do. This should help you clean the cobwebs from your mind and have a more positive attitude.
You might like: Self-Care 101: The Basics (Free Worksheet)
4. Ditch the victim mindset
“I can’t help it, XYZ happened to me.”
“I’m not successful because XYZ happened to me.”
“It’s hard to be happy when you’ve been through XYZ.”
Does any of this sound familiar? It’s easy to blame problems on circumstances beyond our control, but it’s not going to help you get any better or move forward. I mean, we’ve all had horrible things happen to us – some of us more than others, but all of us to some degree. No, it’s not always our fault that these things happen and yes, they might have hurt us and upset us – I’m not disagreeing with any of that. Life is cruel sometimes.
The thing is, if you want to be more positive, take control of your life, be successful, and move forward, you’ve gotta stop thinking of yourself as a victim and start taking responsibility. I’m not saying what happened to you doesn’t suck, but you’re the only one who will clean up the mess. So dust yourself off and start going after what you want in life. You got this!
5. Declutter and simplify
I don’t know if this is just me, but when my home is cluttered and dirty, I can’t relax. I can’t clear my mind or feel at peace. When my mind is scattered and I’m not at peace, it’s hard to be positive. This isn’t just true for my home either, it’s true for my life in general.
Turn your home into your safe haven. Surround yourself with things that you love. Simplify your schedule, your life – simplify everything. Leading a more simple life makes it way easier to be positive. Here’s a post to help you achieve this goal!
6. Leave the past in the past
Oftentimes, when it comes to our past, we do one of two things: 1) We focus on the bad things that have happened to us and can’t move forward, or 2) We focus on how great it was and the present can’t live up to it.
Instead of doing either of those things, we should do these two things: 1) Use the past as a lesson and learn from it, then move forward, and 2) Accept that the past is the past and focus on creating an awesome present. You can’t be positive in the present moment and having an awesome life now when your mind is focused on what’s already happened.
7. Create your own happiness
Happiness comes from within. It doesn’t come from having a nice house, having trendy clothes, having cool friends, having a fast car, or having a good job. You could have all of those things, but none of it would matter if you weren’t happy with YOURSELF. On the flip side, if you had none of those things you could still be happy if you were happy with yourself. Remember that. People who create their own happiness don’t need anyone or anything else to make them happy.