I am a generally positive person, a “glass half-full” kind of gal, so when I heard that September 13 is Positive Thinking Day, I knew this was a topic I could write easily about.
I am part of a wonderful organization through which I took a Gallup Strength Finders test to determine my top 32 personal strengths. Positivity is my #4 strength, so I feel like I am a great person to educate our fabulous readers on this topic.
Positivity comes naturally for me, but I realize that is not the case for everyone. I have hard days just like everyone else, but as a whole, I am generally optimistic. I also believe that you can learn to become a more positive person, so I have included five tips to help you start to look at life in a more positive light:
1. Practice gratitude every morning.
I get it: adding one more thing to your morning routine sounds daunting. You are already pressed for time, so introducing positivity exercises probably doesn’t sound appealing. But they honestly work. Studies have shown that gratitude positively affects not only your optimism, but also your mental health.
Take a few minutes every morning to think about everything you are grateful for, no matter how small your findings seem. Although it may feel like bragging at first, this practice is meant for you to evaluate everything that is going right and reflect on your wins, which in turn helps you to push aside negative thoughts.
Some people find that journaling is a great way to practice gratitude, but I have never been one to write down my thoughts (what if—gasp!—someone would read them?!). Instead, I try to find a few quiet minutes in the morning before I have gotten out of bed to lie silently (without falling asleep) and reflect on all of the positives in my life. Some days it is easier than others, both to find blessings and to find time, but when I practice this mindfulness, I find that I tend to have a more positive and productive day.
2. Talk to yourself.
I love to talk. My best friend’s mom has called me the “talk show host” since we were in elementary school, so this tip is easy for me. I do most of my talking in my head, but it is much more effective to say things out loud so that you can say them and hear them, which helps them to stick.
As you are getting ready in the morning, talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you are an awesome _____ (person, mother, wife, friend, etc.) and give reasons why you feel that way. Some days I say to myself, “I am an awesome mother because I didn’t have a breakdown in front of my kids yesterday,” and other days I say, “I am an awesome mother because I survived playing in the park with my kids this summer heat.” Every day you should be able to find some sort of win that you can be grateful for and talk to yourself about the next morning. When you start to say things out loud, you start to believe them, so look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself why you are so incredible!
Meditation has all kinds of crazy health benefits, including reduced stress, enhancing self awareness, and increasing attention span, to name a few.
Meditation doesn’t have to be long, just 5–10 minutes of focusing on your breathing and reflecting on the world around you. There are many apps that help facilitate this practice, so there is no reason that we shouldn’t all be adding meditation into our daily lives.
4. Change your language, change your thoughts.
I attended a summer camp as a camper and counselor for many summers. When a camper would complain about the heat and say, “It’s so hot!” we were encouraged to say, “It’s not hot—it’s summertime!” As silly as that sounds, changing your language really helps to put things into perspective.
As an experiment today, change all of your “have to’s” to “get to’s.” For example, instead of saying, “I have to go to this PTA meeting tonight,” say, “I get to go to this meeting tonight where I can make a positive impact on my child’s school.” Instead of saying, “I have to avoid this giant juicy cheeseburger,” say, “I get to eat healthy food.” With a little practice, you can change your language to reflect a more positive disposition.
5. Surround yourself with positive people.
Did you know that happiness is contagious? Researchers have found that when you surround yourself with positive, happy people, their dispositions can rub off on you. Finding a wonderful support system that will lift you up and boost your mood will have a lingering effect not only on your life, but also on those around you.
While I know it is unrealistic to be positive all day every day, I hope these steps will help you realize that with a few easy changes, we can all turn into more positive people.