Negativity has been seeping into every crevice of modern life, making positive thinking that much harder. But the effects of negativity can be insidious, impacting our minds and bodies over time.
How does one cultivate a positive thinking mindset when the world, and our futures, look more bleak than exciting?
We can start by creating a mind map that lists out all the good aspects of our lives—our families, our friends, our pets, our jobs, our homes, an upcoming vacation, or a beloved hobby.
But it isn’t enough to simply acknowledge that we have good things—positive thinking is a mindset that we need to work on every day, similar to doing an exercise to adjust a painful muscle.
We look at the best ways to develop positive thinking habits so that it becomes an instinctual part of your personality.
We have mentioned how using a mind map to acknowledge the good things in your life is an important step in positive thinking. But creating a positive attitude requires a bit more effort.
Even simple things like finding the subway buggy that stops closest to your exit are a good enough reason to be grateful.
Find different things to be grateful for and it will soon become a habit, coming to you almost automatically.
Many people also advocate keeping a ‘gratitude journal’, a mental or physical one where you can note down all that you have been grateful for during the day.
You could also note your reasons to be grateful on social media using a hashtag.
Do Good Deeds
Keeping the gratitude you are learning to feel only to yourself is counter-intuitive. Gratitude is something you should be sharing with others.
This can take the form of doing good deeds for others—giving them a reason to be grateful.
So, the next time a colleague needs help figuring out the new collaboration tools, offer to give them a hand with it.
Or when a family is looking to start a business, help them find the best free business name generators.
Doing good things for others—without asking for anything in return—is an act of kindness that keeps on giving.
You will have seen stories on the internet of people paying it forward—this is how it starts, with one person doing a good deed for another.
When you see a way to help someone, take the chance and do it—it will make you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
Stay in Good Humour
There is nothing like a good laugh to keep your spirits up. Laughter sets off good chemicals in your brain, and helps to decrease anxiety and stress, as well as negativity.
Find ways to be humorous during your day—find jokes to share with your family or colleagues. If there is a mishap with packaging design, make light of the matter as you work towards a solution.
Add humour into your working life—when you are writing a white paper or making a video for social media.
Humour not only makes you feel better but it improves the mood of those you encounter, thus cultivating a positive environment around you.
Get Alone Time
One of the reasons why we become so negative is because we don’t give ourselves enough time to be alone.
Sometimes you need to disappear into your headspace—but not too often—to sort things out without the intervention of other people asking you about the latest SMS marketing developments.
Take time off from everything else you normally do—work, friends, family—and just do something for yourself, and by yourself.
It could be mountain climbing or writing tech reviews—something that you enjoy doing by yourself.
Keep aside some time where you can enjoy doing things on your own—it will encourage positive thinking.
Avoid Negative People
The worst source of negativity is other people. We all know that each of our circles of colleagues, friends, and family have one or two negative people in them.
And these negative people breed negative attitudes in others around them.
This negativity infects everybody and all the hard work you are putting into being positive will be impacted. It is best to remove yourself from such people and situations.
You can also encourage others to move away from this kind of negativity, but keep in mind that you can’t make anyone do anything against their will. Do your best, but if they don’t listen, step away.
Be Kind to Yourself
We’ve spoken about kindness towards others, but an important part of positive thinking is being kind to yourself.
You can be as positive towards others and the world around you, but if you’re negative about your own actions, you aren’t being a positive thinker.
Don’t criticize yourself too harshly if an employee onboarding system hasn’t been implemented yet. Look at the positives that you can take away, and the learning experiences.
If your plan to retain teachers is being rejected, don’t assume that you aren’t good at your job—ask for feedback and try and work towards a new strategy that will be accepted.
Talk to yourself positively—use phrases like ‘I will’ and ‘I can’ when thinking about tasks. Big yourself up in your mind—give yourself a pep talk. You are both coach and player in the positivity game.
Practice Positive Thinking Every Day
Positivity doesn’t come easy—it requires constant work and practice. Make it a habit to say positive things to yourself, and others, and do something for someone else without thinking of the rewards.
If you do it often enough, positive thinking will become a part of your personality.