We are humans are not typically taught to be mindful of what we think when growing up. When we are older, they come across information and even scientific data that shows us how important it is to be aware of our thought life.
When that happens, one can easily despair when they see the kinds of thoughts you have. The typical narrative is that our mind does an excellent job when it comes to negative thinking. It is depressing to realize that, but the good thing is there’s hope.
If you are here, it means you’re ready to make that mental change from negative to positive thinking and rip the benefits of doing the same thing. In this article, we share practical steps toward being a positive thinker.
Remember to be patient; it took you years to get to where you are. It won’t take a few minutes to undo your thought patterns. It might take weeks or even years, but only remember to keep at it.
Why it’s essential to be a positive thinker
Before we get into the practicality, it is vital to understand why you’re doing what you are. You might be jumping on the bandwagon, where being a positive thinker is the “in thing.” Whatever your reason, there is indeed much to be gained from making the shift.
Multiple studies show that when you have a positive mindset, your mood does tend to be better, and you’re more confident. What’s more, you reduce your chances of getting conditions such as depression and anxiety, or other stress-related illnesses and disorders. There are continual studies that show the same.
The steps to becoming a positive thinker
If you do wake up in the morning and immediately think you’re going to have a rough day, the chances are that precisely that’s what you feel will happen. Things that would not typically get under your skin will suddenly be the order of the day.
Therefore, train your mind to say something positive as soon as you wake up. Some people have a hard time in the morning; put a post-it note next to your bed with a positive affirmation so that you can read it when you wake up. After you do, hold it within your mind for a few minutes, really thinking about it and what it means to you.
Do the same around your house, such as on the bathroom mirror, next to light switches, or on the fridge door. Affirmations are personal; figure out where you feel deficient and write statements for them.
For example, if you don’t feel confident, a phrase like “I am stronger than I think I am” can be something to write. It will remind you that even when in social situations, you can still find it within you to be confident. Don’t just do it in the morning.
Every time you catch yourself beating yourself up or talking down at yourself, replace it with a positive affirmation.
Find the good in everything
Complaining comes naturally to us; it feels like it’s hard-wired within us. However, that too is a behavior that gets be unlearned. If you’re stuck in traffic and that’s getting you irritable or in a nasty mood, think of what good that can come out of it.
You’ve been putting off listening to that podcast; why not do that instead? There’s a problem that’s been bugging you for a while; why not take that time to ponder on it and come up with possible solutions? You’re in your car with your kids- would you consider using that time to play games to get them quite pumped for the day ahead?
Do aim to find a silver lining in every inconvenience. No matter how painful, there is always some good that comes out in the worst of situations.
Sometimes, you have to go down to our biological basics and start seeing the good things that remain. For some, it requires being thankful that you have breath in your lungs. Those who are depressed, being grateful that you have happy socks or a mug you love is enough.
Start small, and soon enough, spotting the beauty in things even when they seem chaotic will come more effortlessly to you.
Grow a sense of dark humor
Dark humor exists for a reason. It is indeed a tool that aids us in our general well-being, but also when talking about mental health. When you add jokes into a problematic situation, it makes it easier to accept the position one is in. It also helps the mind move past what is wrong, and look for the good in it.
For the most part, you will find that there’s a lesson in everything you’ve been through, and when you’re in a humored state, seeing these lessons becomes easier.
Those who appreciate dark humor tend to get labeled as there being something wrong with them. However, if you look at life itself, there are happy and sad things that happen, and it only makes sense for our humor to reflect the same.
Jokes are a fantastic way to cope with hard experiences and move past them. When you’re able to laugh about something, you are indeed taking back control of the narrative. If anything, the funniest people tend to be those who’ve experienced hardships in their life.
If you’ve ever asked, “has that always been there?”, then it’s a telling sign that you’re not usually present. Driving past a house for three years, and noticing a paint job is one thing. Being told that the house got repainted two years ago- that’s quite another thing.
Most of us go about life, not seeing what is around us. That’s because we are often buried in our minds in the past or the future that we neglect to see what is truly in front of us.
Our thinking tends to be marred by experiences and our imagination. If you’re late for work, you panic because you know your boss will tell you off. By the time you meet them, you’ve created an entire scenario in your mind and are feeling bad about it.
Next time, why not consider trying a different approach? See all the things you can notice when you’re present and let the future take care of itself. If you’ve soaked up the woman’s beautiful smile, a sale you’ve seen, or the listening to a podcast, your boss yelling at you won’t feel like cosmic end times.
Mind your circles
Whether family, friends, or co-workers, be cautious of people you allow into your life. Even if you are the ring-leader of the complaining committee in your office or among your friends, you’ll have to remove yourself from that space.
You cannot become a positive thinker when you’re surrounded by negative thinkers around you. As you make the transition, you have to be wise about how to avoid the same people you were complaining with.
It might appear to mean, but you do have to protect your mind in the early stages of change. If it means taking up a course to do over lunchtime instead of gossiping, do so.
If a family member is complaining, use that as the perfect time to excuse yourself and do some chores. Eventually, get a tribe of positive thinkers to walk with you through the journey.