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Are There Different Ways of Positive Thinking?

    Are There Different Ways of Positive Thinking?

    Thinking positively is a uniquely human challenge. Truly, we stress out about our lives a lot, worrying about the future, things we did or said.

    Sometimes, it takes a disciplined approach to our thoughts to rein in the negativity and put it into perspective. Here are 10 ways you can accomplish positive thinking in your life.

    1. Reflect on how you think
    2. Remember the positive
    3. Focus on the positive
    4. Condition yourself to think positively
    5. Be gracious to others
    6. Generate positive emotions
    7. Don’t downplay yourself
    8. Spend time with positive people
    9. Start your day on a positive note
    10. See things how they are

    As you can see, positive thinking implies a lot of self-discipline to work one’s mind out of bad habits that can be developed over a lifetime. Ultimately, training your brain takes time and effort, but thinking positively about the past, present, and future is possible and achievable.

    The rest of this article will walk you through each of these ways of positive thinking and how you can apply it to your life.

    Reflect on How You Think

    The first step to recognizing and stopping negative thinking patterns is to evaluate how you tend to think. Do you downgrade your successes or magnify your problems?

    Do you ruminate on all the negative things that happened to you throughout the day? Be honest and seek the advice of a trusted friend. Recognizing simply that you tend to have negative thought patterns is the first step in altering them towards positive ones.

    Remember the Positive

    Of course, it can be easy to dismiss this as unnecessary. After all, what does the past have to do with learning to think positively now?

    If you can identify positive moments in your life―your family was there for you; you achieved a goal or learned a new life skill―then you can more effectively apply that positive thinking to the present.

    Reminisce about the good moments in your life and be grateful for the people that have helped shape you.

    Focus on the Positive

    After reflecting on the things you are grateful for in your life, it’s time to start disciplining your mind towards positive thinking. Next, seek to identify negative thoughts.  Lastly, reevaluate your perspective by asking yourself: “Is this the only way to look at this issue?”

    The process will be laborious and unintuitive.  However, as you start to develop a pattern of thinking positively, both about yourself and the world, you’ll find it easier to be positive about the future.

    Condition Yourself to Think Positively

    A big part of learning to think positively is conditioning your brain to evaluate things differently.

    Sure, you can be grateful for the people you love in your life and recognize good things when they happen.  However, if you have little hope for the future or doubt your worth, then it’s hard to bring that positive attitude out the door with you.

    Use positive affirmations to center yourself around positive and long-term thinking rather than dwelling in the negativity of the moment.

    Be Gracious to Others

    Being generous and gracious to others is a good way to step outside your own problem and help others. Volunteer or help out at your local animal shelter, thrift store, or food pantry and spend some time focusing on others.

    You’ll find that as you set aside your worries to help others, you’ll start to feel more positive about your own life and better about yourself as a person.

    Generate Positive Emotions

    Beyond the conditioning and recognition of good things in your life, it’s also quite possible to generate positive emotions internally and externally.

    As mentioned before, using affirmations to strengthen your resolve can help you get through a long day’s work. Moreover, external motivators like taking a five-minute break to watch something funny can give you a positive boost of energy that can shift your focus off the negative.

    Don’t Downplay Yourself

    One of the biggest impediments to a wholesome, positive thought process are negative thoughts about the self.

    Self-doubt plagues many people, and addressing that built-up resistance to anything positive takes time. Truly, remember where you’ve been and what you’ve had to overcome through the years to make it to where you are today.

    You are a unique individual with unique gifts, and you have intrinsic value as a person, wherever you may be in life.

    Spend Time with Positive People

    A good friend is hard to find, and if you have a friend who exudes positivity, then you are fortunate indeed.

    Avoid spending too much time around people who are constantly complaining or down-talking others.  Instead, fill your company with people who uplift you and maintain a positive outlook about life.

    You’ll find that it’s easier to see the bright side when you’re with people who are helping you towards that goal.

    Start Your Day on a Positive Note

    Positive thinking habits are often decided early. Ever noticed how when you wake up grouchy and someone cuts you off on the way to work that the rest of your day seems cloudier?

    The converse effect is true as well. Starting your day off with a positive thought, affirmations, or doing something that you’re passionate about for a few minutes can really set the tone of the day.  Also, it can give you a better positive spin on everything else that’s going to happen.

    You’ll find that starting your day off right is the best way to learn to take things in your stride.

    See Things How They Are

    Perspective is everything, and if you’re trapped in a negative mindset, then your perspective is incomplete and flawed.

    Learn to see things for what they really are. Not naively, of course, but sensibly and positively.

    All-or-nothing thinking can blow small things out of proportion and make them seem like gigantic issues.

    Then, take your time evaluating your life and future goals, and try to ask yourself: “Is this the only way I can interpret this?” When you step back for a moment, you’ll find yourself seeing the bright side of life a little more.