(+ 25 Small Habits to Help You Cultivate a Positive Attitude Every Day)
Have you ever been told that you should be optimistic? It seems like everyone is telling you to be more positive and to work on your mindset. But no one will tell you HOW to be more positive!
Isn’t a positive or negative mindset the sort of thing you are just born with? And is it really THAT important to be optimistic anyways??
No! And YES!
Your mindset (and the way you approach your life) is something that you learn as you grow, from your family, your friends, and from the society around you. You can become more positive by teaching yourself to think more optimistically!
Read on to learn:
- Why a positive mindset is important
- 4 fundamental practices to help you change your mindset
- 25 small habits that will help you have a positive attitude everyday
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”- Anais Nin
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Optimism is Smart
Being positive is smart. Having a positive mindset will improve your outlook on life, help you get through challenges, and make the best of every situation. Ever heard the saying: “Change your mindset, change your life?” The way you think, and the way you view the world has a cascading effect on every part of your life; being optimistic can even help you live longer.
Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean that you pretend everything is fantastic and happy all the time. It means that you accept what you can’t change and focus on what you can change.
Instead of agonizing over what has gone wrong, you focus on moving forward constructively.
It means that you understand that nothing is ever all bad and that you have confidence in your ability to get through whatever life throws at you.
Being Positive is a Choice
Being positive is a choice! You get to choose how you want to react to the world around you and which thought patterns you want to focus on. You can choose to think about the good things in your life, instead of obsessing about everything that has gone wrong.
And it doesn’t matter if you are used to looking at things with a pessimistic outlook, don’t worry! You can become an optimist! It’s a skill that you can practice and get better at until it’s second nature. Think of it as a habit building. You are making a habit out of positive thinking.
So it’s ok if it doesn’t come naturally to you or if you have spent a lifetime being pessimistic. You can train yourself to be more positive and train your brain to have a more optimistic viewpoint.
How to be More Positive: 4 Fundamental Practices
So how do you work on having a more positive mindset? Here are 4 fundamental practices to incorporate into your life that will help you be more positive every day.
1. Notice the Good Things
Practice looking for the good things in your life. A lot of times we tend to get stuck mentally on the uncomfortable or painful things that happen and ignore all of the great stuff. Instead of dwelling on the bad and letting the good go by unnoticed, try to make a habit of noticing good things that happen, no matter how small, like when you get a great parking spot right away at the store or when the weather is perfect for a planned outing. Take the time to mentally save them instead of letting them fly by.
The flip side of this, of course, is looking for the good in bad situations. Even when things just are really really bad, try to think about something positive it could lead towards, or something to be grateful about, or even just one positive step you can make in the near future.
2. Reframe Negative Situations
Every challenge is a chance to grow. Embrace setbacks as opportunities – for adventure, for growth, for creative thinking, for you to smash through limiting beliefs. There are no dead-ends, only re-directions.
When a negative situation arises, instead of feeling helpless or sorry for yourself, ask the question: What is the opportunity for growth within this? What have I learned from this situation? How has it helped me?
Instead of sinking into self-doubt and anxiety, ask yourself: what awesome things could come out of this? What is the best-case scenario here?
Don’t let uncontrollable events render you helpless. Learn to control the effort you put in and have fun with the challenges that you encounter. Embrace challenges as a new adventure rather than attempting to resist an experience for growth.
3. Keep Some Perspective
Or rather: Don’t make mountains out of molehills. Look at situations realistically, as they are, and in perspective.
Ask yourself how you will feel about it in 1 month, 6 months, 5 years? Will it even matter? Is it really THAT big of a deal?
Don’t get sucked into worst-case-scenario thinking. Try not to assume the worst of situations and people. Don’t catastrophize – things are often not that big of a deal.
If somebody doesn’t answer your text, instead of diving into some weird twisted thought spiral of self-loathing and insecurity, try to remember that you are only the center of your own universe. People are busy and have stress in their own lives, and sometimes texts just get dropped.
If you find yourself obsessing over something bad that happened, try asking yourself, “How could this have been worse? What did I do that kept it from being that way?”
If you find yourself worrying and stressing about some imaginary possible bad thing happening, try tapping into your creative side and seeing how ridiculous and catastrophic a situation you can come up with and then laugh at it!*
*I suppose it depends on your personality. If you will get sincerely worked up about insane and nigh impossible possibilities then maybe avoid them altogether.
4. Choose Positive Language
Words matter. The words you choose to say out loud and the words you use inside your head have a huge impact on your mindset.
Train your brain to see things in a more positive light. For instance, instead of thinking of your life as ‘boring’, think of it as ‘peaceful’ or ‘ripe with possibilities.’ Instead of ‘hectic’ use words like ‘exciting’ or ‘lively.’
In the same way, the labels you use to describe yourself and your life become self-fulfilling. Be kind to yourself!
If you have gotten into the habit of beating yourself down in your head, work to change the tone of your self-talk. You can do that by not letting negative thoughts go by unchallenged.
When you catch yourself thinking negatively, deliberately challenge the negative thought with two positive ones. For instance:
Instead of: I’m never going to figure this out try: I can figure this out and I am a determined person
It will probably feel silly at first, but if you keep with it you WILL see a dramatic difference in the general tone of your thoughts and feelings about yourself.
These 4 fundamental practices will help you be more positive if you work on incorporating them into your life.
Besides these foundations, there are smaller habits that you can incorporate into your normal routines that will help you become more optimistic and happy.
25 Small Habits to Help Cultivate a Positive Mindset
Marathons are run one step at a time. Lives are built one choice at a time. Making small positive changes to your daily life can have an enormous impact.
The habits you choose determine the shape of your life. Here are 25 ideas (in no particular order) for habits to help you become a more positive, happy, and confident person.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Every day write down 5 things that you have to be grateful for. Perfectly toasted bread, being alive, literally ANYTHING.
2. Get to Know Yourself
Work on self-discovery. Getting to know your underlying values and motivations can help you feel more positively about your life AND more fulfilled.
3. Be Present
Slow down a little. Practice mindfulness and being present by focusing on your life at this very moment instead of overthinking the past or worrying about the future.
4. Love Yourself
Work on your self-esteem and self-love. Pretend you are your best friend and treat yourself accordingly.
5. Don’t Internalize Other People’s Projections
You are not defined by what anyone else thinks. Your value is not tied up in what other people project onto you.
6. Practice Forgiveness
Learning to forgive is incredibly important for becoming a strong, positive person. Choosing to forgive other people releases you to move forward productively in your life.
7. Help Other People
Stop focusing on yourself so much and focus on other people. Make a habit of going out of your way to do something nice for someone else.
8. Speak Kindly
Speak kindly to other people (and yourself). Go out of your way to give genuine compliments to strangers.
9. Set Attainable Goals
Set yourself up for success by setting short term attainable goals and following through.
Reward yourself when you complete them!
10. Don’t Complain
Complaining leads to lower moods, negative emotions, and a decrease in life satisfaction and optimism. Don’t do it! And don’t join in when people around you start doing it.
11. Take Care of Your Body
Choose healthy habits – diet, exercise, water, sleep. These are going to affect your overall wellbeing and mood. It’s hard to be positive when you feel crappy.
12. Create a Morning Routine
Mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. Chose to start your day on the right foot by creating and sticking to a routine that sets you off on the right foot every day.
13. Connect with Other People
Pay attention to your relationships. Reach out to people who care about you. Humans are social creatures and need human interaction. Putting the time in to nurture mutually beneficial relationships will help you be happier and more satisfied with your life.
14. Stand Up Straight
Practice good posture. Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, put your chin up. Body language affects not only the way other people perceive you but also how you feel about yourself!
15. Listen to Music
Listen to music that makes you feel better or that puts you in a good mood
16. Learn Something New
Embrace the idea of being a lifelong learner. Lean into your natural curiosity and learn something new!
17. Have Fun
Embrace play. Set aside time specifically to just have fun and enjoy your life.
Answering specific prompts and freewriting are both valuable tools to help you evaluate the quality and tone of your mindset AND start to actively change it.
20. Clean Your House
Take advantage of all that new space you created when you decluttered and clean up your house. There is a clear link between the state of your living space and the state of your mind.
There are SO many different ways to meditate and free guides and resources are everywhere! Pick something and try it out! If you don’t like it, try something else.
22. Use Affirmations
Put on some music and move your body in a way that feels good to you. Enjoy the endorphins!
24. Spend Time with Positive People
The people you surround yourself with matters. If you are with people who are complaining all day long, you are of course going to start thinking more negatively, even if you are already a very positive person. Try to spend more time with people who feel good about themselves and who make you feel good.
25. Remind Yourself to Be Positive
Set yourself up for success! Set reminders to be positive. Put them in your calendar, set up sticky notes, read inspirational quotes, whatever works for you!
Working to shift your mindset from negative to positive can have a dramatic impact on your life. It is only possible to have true transformation when that process moves from the inside out. If you put in the time and effort to cultivate the 4 fundamental practices to becoming more positive you will see dramatic results in every part of your life!
In case you forgot, those 4 positivity practices are:
And use the list of 23 easy habits to bring optimism and positive thinking into every part of your life. Download my Positivity Habit tracker below to keep you on track! Don’t forget that little changes add up quickly to create big transformations!
One step at a time.
What do you struggle with the most in your quest to be a more positive person? Tell me in the comments below!
“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” – Helen Keller