You may know someone in your life who is always optimistic and upbeat about everything. Being positive somehow comes effortlessly to them.
Well, you can be the same way too. You needn’t be born lucky or have everything go your way to have a positive attitude because fortunately, it’s something you can develop.
Here are five tips that can help you create and maintain a positive attitude even amid challenging circumstances.
Focus on what you are grateful for
Psychologists say that our brains have a negative bias, i.e. we pay more attention and are more stimulated by negative details than positive ones, therefore it’s not surprising why keeping a positive attitude can be challenging.
However, keeping a gratitude journal is a powerful way to train our brain to focus on the good that is always present in our lives, which may get obscured when we are focussed on the negative.
What’s great about keeping a gratitude journal is that when we focus and cherish what we already have in our lives, it makes us less prone to compare, complain, and focus on what we don’t have; all of which can bring down our mood and make us feel negative.
In fact, an overwhelming amount of research on gratitude show that being grateful can make you happier, strengthen relationships, have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, help in reducing stress, be more productive among a long list of benefits.
Keeping a gratitude journal simply involves jotting down what you are grateful for and describing why you are grateful for it.
Writing 5 things you are grateful about daily, preferably each morning can be immensely helpful in creating and maintaining a positive attitude.
Here are some gratitude journaling prompts to get you started,
- What was the best thing that happened today/ yesterday?
- The events in your day that you were thankful for and why?
- What boosted your mood or made you smile today?
- A friend/ friends /family member that you are really grateful to have in your life and why?
- What’s something you are grateful to have today that you didn’t have a year ago?
- What material possession are you most thankful for in your life and why?
Take time to relax
It’s always going to be easier to be positive when you are feeling relaxed than when you are feeling stressed out and overworked.
Set aside some time for yourself every day to just relax. You can do this by listening to music, doing some deep breathing exercises, singing, taking a power nap or doing whatever activities that help you relax. Also make it a point to spend some time each day doing activities that make you feel good, even if it’s only for a little while.
Change your perspective
Our perspective makes all the difference between having a positive attitude and not having one. Perspective simply means how we look at something, be it an incident, situation, experience, event, people or relationships.
Often we can be quick to jump on certain experience or events and label it as negative, which then later tends to be our experience of it. But many of the challenges we face in our lives can be seen as blessings if we are willing to open up our minds and look at them deeply from a larger perspective.
You can transform your perspective to a positive one by asking yourself a few questions.
- What has this experience taught me? / What is this experience teaching me?
- What qualities has this experience instilled in me?
- How has this helped me grow / How is this helping me to grow?
Sometimes the answers may not come instantly, but if you maintain a positive perspective, sooner or later, the answers will dawn on you.
Asking these questions to myself helps me to keep my peace of mind when I am going through challenging circumstances. It has also helped to reframe events in my past that I once considered to be negative and see them in a positive light.
Daily exercise comes with a host of benefits and is a great way to way to lift your mood and feel positive. Since the mind and body are closely linked, when your body feels better so will your mind.
Exercise releases feel good chemicals in the body such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine all of which help to boost your mood and sense of well-being.
You could do this by going for walks, working out, running, cycling or getting your body moving in whatever way you prefer. Doing it right in the morning will be a great way to start your day.
After I’ve started exercising daily over the past 7-8 months, I have noticed it has had a big increase in my energy levels during the day and a positive impact on my mood.
Outside circumstances are always changing, and things may not always go the way you’d like. Therefore if you make your attitude dependent on ever-changing outside circumstances or other people, you are going to have a tough time staying positive.
Take responsibility for your attitude and commit to staying positive, irrespective of whatever situation you encounter. Because let’s face it, there are no rewards to be gained by staying grumpy and negative when life doesn’t go according to our preferences.
(This, however, does not mean you should avoid or suppress any negative feelings that may arise, because that only makes things worse. – I’ve explained why you shouldn’t do that in this article)
To maintain a positive attitude is important to take it easy on yourself. Don’t set up unrealistic targets and beat yourself up if you fail to meet them. Staying positive will not always be easy, but it can be made a lot easier if you are willing to be easy on yourself.