Turn it into a small habit.
- Start small
- Make progress every day
- Be committed to making a positive change
Here’s how you can build your habit to think positive:
Say thank you.
Practicing gratitude rewires our brain to think about positive things, the things that we have going for us, instead of the things we do not have and that can leave us feeling frustrated and unhappy. Create a gratitude journal and write in it for 5 minutes each morning when you wake up or just before you go to sleep; list 3 things you are grateful for in your life right now. It can be the simplest of things, such as having a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, a family that loves you, food in your fridge, a dog or cat that you have as your pet. Get specific: if it’s a family member, write down which of their qualities you are grateful for.
Be friends with your inner child.
Just because you are now all grown up and have adult responsibilities does not mean you should ignore the child that is still in you. Acknowledge it, ask it what it would like to do today, give yourself some time to be silly. Get an ice cream cone and walk through the park eating it slowly. Take out your crayons or water colors and paint something just for fun. Drink a lemonade, a milkshake, or bubble tea with a straw and enjoy it. Watch your favorite cartoons on YouTube. Laugh out loud.
Do something that really makes you feel good.
Do you feel like your life is all work and no play? If so, you aren’t helping yourself think more positively. Make a change: do something that gives you pleasure. If you’re an avid reader, make the time to read a novel for 30 minutes before going to sleep. If you like to be physically active, schedule in a bike ride or a run in the late afternoon when you’re done with work or your studies. If you love music, learn how to play guitar or drums or a harmonica. If you love to write, make it a priority to write one page every single day, either early in the morning before getting ready or later at night when it’s quiet and you have the time to organize your thoughts while enjoying a cup of tea and listening to some relaxing music.
Replace saying “I can’t do this right now” with “why not?”
We all feel like procrastinating on some things in life, it’s human to do so. It doesn’t require a lot of effort to procrastinate. In fact, it’s almost a default reaction to something challenging that’s in front of you. Consider this:
- Think carefully if there is something else hiding behind procrastination.Maybe it is fear of not being able to do something successfully.
- Next time you feel like procrastinating, rather than immediately saying “I can’t” ask yourself where the resistance is coming from. Be honest with yourself. Find out what it is so you can do something about it.
- The biggest benefit to making this change is this: whenever you say “why not?” you win over fear. There is something really powerful when we leave a little space open for possibilities, instead of shutting the door in our own face. It’s a subtle change in attitude towards ourselves than can have a tremendous impact in our lives.
Flex your happiness muscle.
Do you want to decrease your stress levels and boost happiness levels instead? To make a positive change in your life, treat happiness like a habit and actively look for what you can do to become happier every day. Get ideas from one of Harvard University’s most popular lecturers, Tal Ben-Shahar, who writes books on positive psychology and gives examples how you can apply it to your daily life, for example in school, the workplace, and in our personal relationships. Here are two of his books:
Always feed your mind with positive messages.
Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” In other words, if you believe you can think more positively, you can make it happen. Conversely, if you don’t believe in the power of positive thinking, then it doesn’t matter how much others will tell you how great the benefits are. It’s really a matter of believing in yourself, and even more than that, buying into the concept of having a growth mindset (versus a fixed mindset): the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. If there’s something about your mindset you don’t like, the good news is – you can change it for the better.