10 Easy Techniques for Positive Thinking
Sometimes, turning negative thoughts into positive thinking isn’t as easy as flipping a light switch. Negative thoughts are deeply rooted in feelings of fear, inadequacy, and mental health. But turning negative thoughts into optimism is possible with these 10 easy techniques for positive thinking:
- Memorize positive words
- Hang out with positive people
- Practice mindfulness first thing in the morning
- Hold yourself accountable for your behavior
- Fully enjoy positive moments
- Create a positive mood board
- Set goals and work toward them
- Practice gratitude
- Compliment others
An article in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that positive thinking has been shown to lower your risk of dying from cancer, stroke, heart disease, and increase your chances of recovering faster from injuries, not getting sick, and have a longer lifespan.
In this article, explore 10 techniques to use when you’re feeling negative and having trouble looking on the bright side of things. You’ll feel better in no time!
10 Positive Thinking Ideas and How to Implement Them
Without further ado, here are 10 easy techniques for positive thinking and how to implement them so you can improve your health, wellbeing, and general outlook on life.
1. Memorize positive words
It might seem overly simple but memorizing positive words can have a significant impact on your brain’s ability to think positively long term.
You see, the brain is a giant muscle, and it gets used to using similar thoughts and feelings that we’ve grown accustomed – and often addicted – to applying to certain situations.
If your brain quickly turns to negative thoughts and feelings, memorizing new, positive words can help you when push comes to shove.
According to the Berkeley Brain Institute, simply by recalling these words, your mind activates positive brain regions. This act imprints positive feelings on new memories, concepts, and ideas.
This phenomenon is how you build stronger, positive neural networks so in the future, you’re less and less likely to think negatively because you’re replacing those connections in your brain.
Just like when you were in school, use flashcards or memory games to re-learn positive words such as laughter, friendly, cheerful, beautiful, and abundance, or choose words that put a smile on your face.
2. Hang out with positive people (a great technique for positive thinking)
The saying rings true: you become most like the people you hang around with. If a friend or family member is always dragging you down, it’s time to limit time with that person.
Negativity is totally contagious. Even if you think you’re just having a fun brunch, if everyone is gossiping, you’re not going to leave that brunch in a better mood.
Hang around people who are genuinely positive, who challenge you, and who you admire. This doesn’t mean that your discussions have to become all positive quotes and sunshine, but you should focus on conversations that are productive and fun.
Then, when you do return to that negative friend, you’ll be less likely to fall into the negativity abyss.
3. Practice mindfulness first thing in the morning
If you wake up each morning on the wrong side of the bed, it’s going to be really difficult to turn things around. How we wake up sets the tone for our interactions for the rest of our day.
But what if you can’t help it – you just woke up in a bad mood? Before you leave your bedroom, close your eyes again, either standing or laying down.
Take a few deep breaths and sit in silence. Now, use your imagination to think about the first good thing that’s going to happen to you today. Perhaps it’s a hot cup of coffee, or a kiss from your dog, or a funny story in the newspaper.
Hold onto those good thoughts. Your brain is going to stimulate a response that mimics what it would do if you were actually feeling these joyous moments.
Within a minute or two, you can open your eyes and go about your day. Try applying a smile before you even open your bedroom door.
And it goes without saying that looking at your phone before you do this exercise is not going to be beneficial for your mood. Put the phone down or leave it outside of your bedroom completely.
4. Hold yourself accountable for your behavior
Some people who experience a lot of negativity in their lives are said to have “victim mentality.” This means that whenever something unfavorable is happening in their life (or that they perceive as unfavorable), it is always someone else’s fault.
If your negative feelings are always someone else’s fault, you’re never going to be able to control your negativity and turn it into positivity. Positivity lies in our own hands, not in the situations or experiences we are dealt.
Hold yourself accountable for your feelings, your actions, and your behavior in every situation and you’ll be well on your way to a more positive outlook on life.
5. Fully enjoy positive moments
You know how people will talk about all the bad experiences they had at a certain restaurant, but rarely tell you when the restaurant was off-the-charts amazing? That phenomenon applies to our lives, too.
On a personal level, we tend to hang on to negative interactions, mess-ups, a bad hair day, or a failed test, but fail to recognize everything that was great and joyous in those same 24 hours. That’s a shame!
Next time you’re feeling happy, try to pause for a moment and really take it in. Savor this happy memory and let it sink in, no matter how brief.
This action will help those positive feelings last longer, and help you recall this memory next time you’re feeling negative.
6. Volunteer (a tried and true technique for positive thinking)
To feel positive about everything that you have going for you, volunteer to serve the underserved in your community.
Not only will you quickly realize how many positives you have to be thankful for, but you’ll also feel really good about yourself and other people when you give your time and money away to charitable causes.
Volunteering invokes immediate feelings of positivity and gives you a fresh outlook on your situation and life in general.
To find organizations that need volunteers, consider calling up your local food bank, animal shelter, Boys ; Girls Club, or church group. They can easily point you in the right direction and have you volunteering somewhere that needs your skills in no time.
7. Create a positive mood board
You know those dream boards? Well, they work for positivity, too, and they’re a ton of fun.
Using Pinterest (if you want to go digital) or magazine cutouts (if you want something physical to keep at home), pin up any words, quotes, images, and even sounds that bring you joy.
Keeping this positivity mood board on your mobile device is handy for moments when you’re out in public and feel negative feelings coming on. But a physical board is nice to keep at home on the back of your bedroom door as a reminder to stay positive before you start your day.
Hey, maybe you should do both! Both are great techniques for positive thinking!
8. Set goals and work toward them
A goal can keep you on track and help you feel progression in your life, something that people with negative thoughts often lack.
Accomplishing a goal, or simply moving toward it, conjure good feelings and confidence.
Try setting a larger goal – something you can complete in a month – and break that down into weekly and then daily tasks. Every day that you accomplish a task toward your goal, you’ll feel the positive vibes flow in.
Setting goals also forces you to think creatively about overcoming obstacles, another deterrent to negative feelings.
9. Practice gratitude
This one is simple and repeated often, but practicing gratitude really works as a technique for positive thinking.
Most people prefer to practice gratitude before they wake up in the morning, or immediately upon experiencing a negative thought. But this takes practice.
Start by writing down three things that you’re grateful for before your feet hit the floor each morning. You can do this after you visualized everything great that’s going to happen to you that day.
Use a notebook or even the notes section on your phone (if you can be trusted to not check your email first!) and revisit this list if you’re feeling negative.
Your list can be the same each day if you’re not feeling creative, but really savor the feeling of gratitude as you make it.
10. Compliment others
Want to know what will immediately conjure positivity? Making someone else feel positive. And all it takes it a compliment.
This might feel awkward at first, so try complimenting someone when you’re genuinely feeling it; perhaps it’s someone’s outfit, their work on a project, they way they handled a tough situation, or simply a new haircut that gets your attention.
Eventually, you can work your way up to dishing out at least one compliment per day and watch your world change for the better!
Turning negative thoughts into positive thinking is not so simple: you need easy techniques to fall back on, and you need to rewire your brain. This takes time, so go easy on yourself but keep constant reminders around so you don’t linger in a negative space too long.
By implementing just a few of these techniques, you’ll quickly see positive changes in yourself and your thought patterns. And better yet? You’ll see positive changes in the behavior of the people around you. Stay positive!