Ups and downs are a fact of life we all deal with, but it can often seem like some people handle the cycle more easily than others.
If you are prone to negative thoughts or struggle with negative spirals, life’s ups and downs can begin to feel a little one-sided. For those in a similar position, making the switch to positive thinking can have a major impact on your life and drastically improve your mental health and general wellbeing.
It sounds simple, and research has shown the power of positive thinking can have remarkable effects on our lives, but making that shift is rarely an easy task. Below we’ll go over some tips you can use to shift into a positive mindset and turn healthy patterns into lasting habits.
Focus on the Positive
If staying positive sounds like an uphill battle, you aren’t alone. Humans suffer from a phenomenon known as Negativity Bias. This bias predisposes us to focus on negative emotions and dwell on them for much longer than necessary.
Combatting this trend is all about making a deliberate effort to focus on the positive things. No matter how small the win, allowing yourself to enjoy the moment without pushing it away in favour of negative thoughts is crucial. Part of this also means learning how to accept praise for your good works - both from other people and from yourself - instead of reaching for self-criticisms.
We suggest keeping track of the good things that happen throughout your day and using them when you can feel negative thoughts surfacing. If you do it often enough, making a conscious choice to prioritise the good things over the bad can become a sustainable habit that improves your life immensely.
Surround Yourself With Positive Influences
When we become immersed in negative thinking, the people, media and outside influences around us can be the difference between lifting us up and keeping us down.
Your social circles are an easy place to begin. Are your friends a good influence? Do they engage in positive behaviours and support one another? If the answer to those two questions is a “no,” then it might be time to revisit who you associate with. From up close it can be difficult to see all the ways our friends are holding us back, so it’s important to make an objective decision about their company. Friends who also engage in positive mindsets, who lift each other up and who are good and healthy influences, are the people you should be surrounding yourself with.
Likewise, enduring negative media or a harmful work environment will only make it more difficult to effect positive mindset changes. We understand not everyone has the freedom to change jobs, but on this journey, it’s worth considering ways you can provide a healthier work environment for yourself.
Form Healthy Habits
Healthy bodies beget healthy minds, and one of the best ways to reduce and replace negative thoughts is to live a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and plenty of sleep will all contribute to your ability to form and maintain a positive mindset, even when the going gets tough.
Take the Good With the Bad
As we said, ups and downs are unavoidable, and shifting to a positive mindset doesn’t mean you need to avoid or deny the negative emotions in your life. Practising positivity is as much about learning to accept the bad as it is about learning to focus on the good.
You will have bad days and tough times and no amount of positive thinking can change that. However, setting yourself up with strong habits that help you recover from negative thought patterns is the key. The real difference between positive and negative mindsets is the ability to influence your own moods and thinking, rather than becoming trapped in one cycle or the other.
Ready to Work Towards a Positive Mindset? The Open Mind Institute Can Help!
In a year where stress levels and negative emotions are running high for us all, a little refocusing could be exactly what you need. Our coaching programs are designed to help clients make positive changes in their mindset and lives, improving work performance and quality of life across the board. For more information, or to find out how we can help you, contact our friendly team today.