If you read my article: The Power of Positivity – How thinking positively changed my life, you’ll be aware how switching your thoughts from negative to positive can have a great impact on your life.
However, for a lot of us, this shifting of perspective isn’t as simple as it initially sounds. Especially when life has dealt us (or is currently dealing us) an almighty sh*t sandwich! So let me start by saying something completely negative but utterly important – It is IMPOSSIBLE to be positive 100% of the time.
How about we set ourselves a more realistic goal – positive thinking for the majority of the time.
I am aware that for some of us even that seems impossible. But fear not help is at hand! To help get you started here are some simple steps to encourage you be more positive…
As I mentioned in The Power of Positivity, I’m not a naturally positive person. I became more positive by actively choosing to be positive. So if you find yourself thinking negatively, make the conscious choice to switch to a positive thought. Replace ‘I’m going to be late’ with ‘I’ll make it’. Replace ‘I’m not able to do this’ with ‘I’m capable’. Replace ‘I’m a failure’ with ‘I gave it my best. I’m learning. I know what I need to do differently next time’.
It can be especially difficult to choose to be more positive when you’re thrown an unexpected curve ball. When this happens you can adopt the 3 P’s approach.
Whatever is happening try to pause your mind. It will no doubt be going into negative mindset overdrive. Whether you need to mentally or actually tell yourself to STOP, do it. You need to slow down the runaway negative train, allowing you to process what is happening.
Top tip: If you need some support in calming your mind, meditation is a great tool to use.
Processing is critical. You mustn’t ignore what is happening to you and the emotions you are experiencing. Allow yourself time to work through everything. You might find Moments: releasing anger, re-balancing & re-framing helpful in guiding you through this.
Once (and only once) you are ready, it’s time to choose positivity. So, ‘yes it was terrible I lost my job, but it made me re-evaluate my career. It helped me to realise how supportive my family and friends are. It gave me valuable skills that will serve me well in my next role. I’m looking forward to my next opportunity. I have grown from this experience.’
Good to know: There is no set processing time scale. The severity of the event, relates to the longevity of the processing time required. It is also completely individual to you. To force yourself to be positive before you have fully processed will only mask the issue potentially leading to problems later on.
One of the simplest ways to become more positive is to practice gratitude daily. Practising gratitude switches your focus to all you have to be thankful for.
This changing of frequency naturally draws your attention to even more things to be grateful for, pulling focus from negativity.
Before you go to bed tonight, think of 5 things from your day that went well or that you feel grateful for. No matter how small, come up with a list of 5. If you’re struggling, here are some to consider:
- I’m grateful for the roof over my head and the security of my home.
- I’m grateful for the safe journeys to and from work today
- I’m grateful I got to watch my favourite television show tonight (I’m grateful I have a television!!)
- I’m grateful for the food I got to eat today
- I’m grateful for the hug/text/call/chat I had with my child/partner/parent/friend
If you can list more than 5 – great! Go for it! You’ll most likely find the more you do this, the easier it is to reel off a good long list. At the end, say thank you – those two words are a great way to just acknowledge the gratitude you feel. If you can, start listing in the mornings too, the more time you spend thinking of what you’re grateful for, the less time you spend thinking negatively.
Challenge self-imposed barriers
I’ll never be able to afford that
This only ever happens to other people not me
I’ll never be able to work there
No-one will ever find me attractive, I’ll be single forever
These are examples of very common negative statements people make. They’ve said, I can’t and so they won’t. If you hear yourself utter anything similar, challenge whether there are any actual factors blocking you or whether the barriers are self-imposed.
For the majority of factors we put forward as reasons why we can’t, there are countless examples of people who face similar if not more challenging circumstances to us and have gone on to achieve exactly what we say we are unable to.
Be it people with disabilities, born into poverty, or who didn’t have access to a decent education, etc, etc. You name it, someone has most probably overcome it. The key is to identify these challenges as hurdles not barriers. Have hope and faith in yourself and move away from allowing your now to be your reason for never.
Watch your language
As you might already have picked up, the language we use is very important in helping us to be more positive. Start actively listening to your thoughts and your words. Note how often you use words like can’t, won’t, mustn’t, shouldn’t, don’t – can you start to use the positive version of the word instead? When you’re looking to increase your positivity question whether something actually needs to be said? Will it serve you? Which leads me on to…
We can be quite practised in communicating what we don’t want – I don’t want to be late, I don’t want to mess this up, I don’t want to go to this meeting. Quite often these statements become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Now imagine if the same can be said for the things that you do want, wouldn’t that be great! So, to help you be more positive and reap better benefits, start to create a daily wish list of what you do want and phrase it in a way as if it’s already yours – Today will be a good day, I will be on time, I will benefit from this meeting, I will do a good job. Just try it! When you see more positives occurring to you daily, you’ll become an expert in flipping the script!
Sometimes we all just need a bit of extra support. There are some really simple ways to help keep you in a positive mindset. For me it’s affirmations, books and talking things through with other positive people. These are all means to challenge any negativity you are struggling to overcome and are easily accessible to all.
Affirmations or mantras are just short statements to read aloud (or quietly to yourself) which help to raise your positivity levels. Statements such as I am at peace with all that makes up my life and/or I am a good person and good things happen to me, help to make you feel more positive. Pick one or a small selection of them and repeat a few times – simple. You can find some lovely affirmations by visiting louisehay.com where you’ll discover a whole library of them and also a new positive affirmation daily.
There are also a wealth of positive thought books to help. I recommend 5 of my positivity inspiring favourites here. But it doesn’t have to be books relating to positivity, any books that provide inspiration and/or support in areas that you need extra guidance in will help provide you with a boost.
Finally, talking things through with people who you know are positively minded is a great way to help bring you back to positivity. They can apply a perspective that you might not have been able to see. They can motivate and leave you with a renewed sense of purpose and wellbeing. Be sure to tap into your network whenever you need to, I’m sure they’ll be happy to help (they’re positive people after all).
Want to boost your positivity levels further? Read: 5 Easy ways to instantly boost your mood
Have you found your day goes better when you start off in a good positive mindset? What do you find helps to make you be more positive? What are your experiences with positive thinking? Get in touch by leaving a comment or question (always happy to try and help) in the box below.