How do I increase positive thinking and positive energy?

Inject more positive energy and turn your life around by practicing these 7 small habits each day.

Adopt a “growth mindset.”

Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” What does this mean? It means that the view you have of yourself will profoundly affect the way you lead your life. For example, 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. How can you think more positively? Start nurturing a “growth mindset” (versus a fixed mindset). If there’s something about your mindset you don’t like, the good news is – you can change it for the better. Read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Say “thank you” to change your attitude about life.

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. How? 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 or a close friend, write down which of their qualities you are grateful for.

Treat happiness like a habit you can consistently work on.

A happy life cannot exist without you creating it. What does that mean? It means that every day you need to actively look for what you can do to become happier, instead of expecting life to just become happy on its own. How can you do this? Apply some positive psychology to the way you lead your life, and you will feel a more positive impact on your attitude, your motivation, and your relationships with people. Read Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Happiness and Choose the Life You Want: The Way To Lasting Happiness Moment by Moment by Tal Ben-Shahar, a lecturer at Harvard University. In both books he gives practical suggestions on how you can apply the concept of happiness to daily life, for example in school, the workplace, and in personal relationships.

Instead of saying “I can’t do this right now!” say “Why not?”

We may feel that we can’t do something out of fear, intimidation, reluctance to change the status quo, even just because it feels natural to resist to act. It’s all part of being human. Try working through it with these steps:

  • Think carefully if there is something else hiding behind procrastination.Maybe it is simply the fear of not being able to do something successfully.
  • Next time you feel like 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.
  • Think about the benefit of changing your reaction: 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.

See your mistakes in a more positive light.

Making mistakes is a normal part of life. It’s how you approach them that matters. Try a different strategy of viewing your past by forgiving yourself for mistakes that you made. Reflect on them, learn from them, but don’t hold on to them. This applies to your relationships, your career, your education, and other areas of your life in which you feel you didn’t achieve what you wanted or underperformed in some way. By changing how you relate to mistakes, you will give yourself more freedom to manage your future more successfully.

Eliminate toxic people from your life.

Toxic people may claim they are your friends, but they are not. What makes them toxic is their negative attitude towards everything, so it’s not likely they can give you a boost of positivity. Be very selective who you spend your free time with, and next time a toxic person wants to monopolize your time, just say no. Tell them you’re busy. Don’t engage in negative banter. You’re better off spending free time on your own doing something that makes you relaxed and happy.

Get in touch with the best version of yourself.

Instead of being overly self-critical about everything you do (or everything you feel you’ve done wrong), look more closely at the best version of yourself. You know who that is. It’s that version of you that you strive to be, that you’ve always wanted to be. It’s the version of you who knows what is right, what needs to be done, how much time needs to be sacrificed, which goals need to be pursued. Always keep a conversation going between the self you currently are and your ideal self. Whenever you are contemplating your next move, ask the best version of yourself what’s the right path to take, then go in that direction. When you see yourself in a more positive light, you increase your motivation to accomplish the goals you set for yourself – the ones that are truly the most important to you.

Final tip:

Read Viktor E. Frankl’s book Man’s Search For Meaning.

It’s a book that goes beyond positive thinking and provides an in-depth look at the psychology of survival. It is a real life story by a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor about finding strength to live in circumstances where most people would give up. It is also one of the most humbling reading experiences and a must read!

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