Some people have a knack for seeing the silver lining in every situation – it’s just part of their personality. If you’d like to inject a little more positivity into your life, you don’t necessarily need to change everything about yourself. Positivity is a choice and it’s something you can cultivate with a little bit of time and practice. Here are 9 ways you can start learning to be more positive.
1. Start every day with a smile.
There will always be days when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Start your day with a smile – literally – or begin each day with an activity you find relaxing or uplifting. Listen to your favorite podcast on the commute to work or read the paper over breakfast. Whatever you can do to start your day in a positive way, the better off you’ll be.
2. Identify and reframe negative thoughts.
We all have an internal dialogue running through our heads and it’s a reflection of our personality and our attitude toward life. If your inner dialogue is constantly churning out negative thoughts, you’ll find it difficult to maintain any positivity. When you notice your thoughts starting to turn negative, pause for a moment and see if you can’t reframe them in a positive or at least more constructive way.
3. Practice an attitude of gratitude.
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to get caught up in all the things weighing you down. If you can step back from the situation and remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for, you may find it a little bit easier to turn your frown upside down. Try keeping a gratitude journal, recording one thing each day you are thankful for. You could even just write a list of things you’re grateful for and refer to it when you start to feel your mood slipping in the wrong direction.
4. Make space for humor in your life.
In addition to cultivating an attitude of gratitude, you should make space for humor in your life. Even in the most difficult of situations, you can find something to smile at if you try. Research shows that laughter reduces stress, anxiety, and depression – it can also boost your mood and self-esteem. Be sure to laugh at least once a day, even if you have to fake it. Give yourself permission to see the humor in life.
5. Learn to recognize your triggers for negativity.
Maintaining a positive attitude is a choice you have to keep making each and every day, but that’s not the only thing you need to do. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to your moods and learn to identify the things that trigger negativity. Maybe it’s a toxic relationship with someone in your life or a certain situation at work. The sooner you can identify your triggers for negativity, the sooner you can learn how to cope with or avoid them.
6. Make self-care a priority.
It’s difficult to stay positive when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, so it’s important to make self-care a priority in your life. Listen to your body – it will tell you when it’s time to take a day off. Self-care doesn’t have to be anything extravagant and it doesn’t have to be a day-long activity, either. Spending 30 minutes doing an activity you enjoy or just lying down to relax can recharge your energy stores and top up your tank of positivity.
7. Maintain positive connections with others.
Social isolation can have a negative impact on your mental health and on your attitude. Make an effort to maintain positive connections with friends and family who support you. Try starting a group text with your close friends or set a weekly coffee date with a loved one. Even something as simple as a short phone call or email can help you stay connected. Don’t waste your time on toxic relationships – if someone in your life is bringing you down, maintain your distance and don’t feel obligated to maintain the relationship if it’s not healthy.
8. Take care of your physical health.
Physical and mental health are closely linked, so if you want to enjoy strong mental health you need to take care of your body. Make exercise part of your weekly routine, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise three to five times per week. Fuel your body with essential nutrients by focusing your diet on healthy, natural foods. When your body is healthy, your mind will be too, and you’ll find it a little bit easier to maintain an attitude of positivity.
9. Seek professional help when needed.
No one is happy all the time but if you feel like you’re struggling with negativity more than you should, or if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, you may want to seek professional help. There are many different types of therapy out there, so you can find a counselor who understands the challenges you’re experiencing and who is trained to help you overcome them. Talk to your doctor or try an online counseling program to get the help you need to be your best and most positive self.
We can’t be positive all the time, but a negative attitude is a choice that you have the power to change. By choosing positivity and taking steps to improve your mental health, you can turn your outlook on life around and start seeing each day a little bit brighter.