How do I become more positive?

Get really strategic with how you use your mind and which attitude you can develop to yield the most positive results!

Work these 7 positivity hacks into your day to feel better, think more positively, and change your mindset about your life.

Hack #1. Inject more enjoyment into your day.

There are many positive things you can do that will translate into feeling better about your life. But first you need to know which ones to focus on. Try these 3 steps:

  • ONE. Make a list of activities you enjoy doing that can provide you with benefits in the present moment as well as in the future. It could be doing something related to your personal goals, your skill set, or your relationships: for example, reading more books to gain expertise in a field, getting fit for a marathon, spending quality time developing a close friendship or better relationship with your partner.
  • TWO. Schedule time to do these activities on a regular basis. Add the activities to your weekly and monthly schedule so that you’re consistently working on them: for example, read one book a week, work out every other day, spend Saturdays socializing with people closest to you.
  • THREE. Implement the change with small steps. It’s better to do something for a few minutes today that can add up to achieving bigger goals in the future: for example, read your book for 30 minutes before going to sleep, go on a bike ride or a 30-minute run in the late afternoon when you’re done with work, get up earlier on weekends so that you can go on a longer hike with friends or partner, and still have time to enjoy dinner together in the evening.

Hack #2. 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 to find out specific ways you can change your attitude about your own capabilities, skills, and whatever you want to do with your life.

Hack #3. 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 most grateful for.

Hack #4. Instead of saying “I can’t do this right now!” say “Why not?”

There are times when you may feel you can’t do something out of fear, intimidation, reluctance to change the status quo, even just because it feels natural to resist acting on something. It’s not just you, though; 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, or perfectly, or better than someone else.
  • 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. Face it instead of avoiding it.
  • Think what you’ll gain when you change your reaction: whenever you say “why not?” you will 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.

Hack #5. Smile and laugh often (and look for any excuse to do it).

When you smile and laugh, you give yourself an endorphin boost. Endorphins (also known as happy hormones) have many benefits, from reducing stress levels to making you feel happier and acting as a natural painkiller. You can even make yourself smile for no specific reason, and still get the same benefits. According to a facial feedback hypothesis, our brain doesn’t differentiate between real or fake smiles, and it interprets the position of your facial muscles in the same way, which helps it release more endorphins.

Hack #6. Treat happiness like a habit you can consistently work on.

Use every day to actively look for what you can do to become happier, instead of expecting life to just become happy on its own. How? 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.

Hack #7. Get in touch with the best version of yourself.

Instead of being overly self-critical about everything you do, or what you already did, look more closely at the best version of yourself. 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 your goals, and in doing so you also increase the quality of your life.

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