Life is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes, you get that sweet juicy caramel morsel you’ve been searching for.
But most likely, you’re left with some weird coconut almond marzipan stuff. Bleh! (No offense if coconut almond marzipan is your jam.)
It’s easy to think that life is simply what we’re dealt. And we just have to deal with it.
But what if there really was a way to change your life for the better? That is, without changing up the chocolates that you’re dealt.
Benefits of positive thinking
Before we dive in deep, let’s look at some of the benefits that positive thinking can offer you. Just to skim the surface of what your life could be.
- Better stress-coping mechanisms
- Better brain health
- Better social life and social skills
- Better physical health
- Better mental health
- Greater success
All of that sounds pretty sweet, right? And look, I know thinking positively can be difficult for some people.
But that doesn’t mean you have to live your life full of negative thoughts. In fact, after reading those benefits, it’s clear to see that negative thinking actually does you a disservice.
So how can you change your mindset into a more positive one? And how can you turn every day into a new opportunity to cultivate positive thoughts?
Healthy habits to develop positive thinking
Use these tips to develop the superpower of positive thinking in your life. And you want to know the best part? These tips are free!
#1. Keep a gratitude journal
Many an article has linked gratitude to happiness. After all, when you’re grateful for what you’ve got, there’s really no need to entertain negativity in your life.
But like many things, gratitude is something you have to practice. And that’s where a gratitude journal can help you out.
Create a list of things that you are grateful for. Write it out each morning or each night.
You can use this ritual as a way to reflect on the day. Or develop a successful attitude towards the day before you.
#2. Surround yourself with positive people
Remember Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live? Yeah, she was the epitome of negative thoughts.
Sure, the sketches were hilarious because she was so relentlessly pessimistic. But I’m sure you’ve met those kinds of negative people in real life.
And it’s anything but a laughing riot with them. But when you spend your time around a positive person, don’t you feel yourself becoming lighter and more positive as well?
It’s like their energy and positive emotions just transfer over to you. And that’s exactly what you should be looking for in your life and daily companions.
Even look for that kind of person at your workplace. You know, the one corporate class-clown comedian who always makes the break room a joy.
#3. Take control of your thoughts
Let’s say you watch the news each morning. And each morning, you find yourself overcome with feelings of sorrow for the state of the world.
I’m not saying you cannot watch the news anymore. But rather than let these stories get you down, try letting them uplift you in a positive way.
Maybe a particular news story reminds you of how grateful you are for what you have. Or maybe, something negative on the news can inspire you to do good for your community.
There is still positive inspiration we can draw from negative thoughts and content. It’s simply a matter of taking charge of your own thought processes.
#4. Use positive words
The first step to shifting your mindset is to use positive words. Positive words can actually help you change your outlook.
No, seriously! Just think about it this way.
Maybe business isn’t doing so great. But one thing that you can control is your attitude and the positive words you can use to describe your business.
Focus on the gratitude you have for the success of your business. And look for opportunities to change for the better and grow.
See Related: How To Improve Communication Skills In The Workplace
#5. Find a book nook and read
One of the best habits to cultivate positivity is reading! Every day, we stare at screens – whether when we’re doing business or winding down from the day.
But reading a book – yes, an actual book – is a great way to focus on the self. When you read, you are exposed to new ideas.
And this can automatically shift your mindset to a more positive one. You start to create an openness to new opportunities.
And while it’s subtle, reading can actually shift your attitude from negative to positive. Positivity absolutely lurks in those pages. It’s just up to you to turn the page.
#6. Breathe (no, for real)
We breathe all the time, every day, so it’s only fair that it becomes something we take for granted. But our breath is actually directly intertwined with our emotions.
Taking the time to breathe can resets your energy. Besides, a deep and meaningful breath is a physical sensation that can power us through to the next moment.
And this helps us to develop better stress-coping skills as well. So the next time someone says, “just breathe,” don’t sluff it off.
Make it a habit to breathe deeply. And welcome in that sweet oxygenated positivity.
#7. Reframe your challenges
It’s easy to develop a single mindset and stick to it. But what if that mindset is controlled by negativity and thinks that challenges are just obstacles and not opportunities?
But consider this. Maybe challenges are there to help you grow. It’s like working out.
You don’t get stronger unless you challenge your body to go further. The same applies to the self.
Your happiness will only deepen when you free yourself up from negative emotions. And maybe that, in and of itself, is the challenge before you.
Besides, don’t you feel a surge of confidence when you’ve tackled a challenge? That alone can help you think positively – and maybe even help your performance in the workplace too!
#8. Make somebody else smile
Ok, we admit it. So far, all of these tips have been about the self.
But what about the positivity you can spread for others? Positive thinking isn’t just a habit for you to cultivate alone.
Being positive is actually something that you can create and manifest in those around you. Just think of that comedian who performed at your last corporate event.
They absolutely killed it. And they managed to make everybody in the room smile – even if they were having a bad day before.
You’ll not only achieve a winning smile out of whoever you’re trying to cheer up. But you’ll also feel proud of yourself for getting them to focus on more positive feelings.
A new habit we’ve all developed is too much screen time. So when we say rest, we mean rest your eyes – away from the screen.
Scrolling through social media posts might seem trivial. But sometimes, that constant stimulation can actually cause negative feelings.
You might start to compare yourself to others online. Or, think that you’re not good enough. And in no time, this negativity becomes a habit.
So step away from all screens. Rest and live a more positive life. It’s more revolutionary than you think.
#10. Get yourself a mentor
Sometimes, a person just needs a companion. Not just for the camaraderie, but for the accountability as well.
Have you ever been on a health kick with a friend? You motivated each other, encouraged one another’s positive habits, and generally made the health journey a lot more fun.
Positive thinking is the same way. If you’re the only person in your life who’s positive, then it can be hard to maintain that attitude all on your own.
But developing those habits with someone else can create a sense of accountability. And the benefits will be felt two-fold.
Besides, positive thinking and laughter have loads of social benefits. So why not share the fun?
#11. Embrace rejection and fear
Feelings of rejection and fear can feel uncomfortable. But those thoughts shouldn’t control your every move from here on out.
Make it a habit to welcome rejection and fear into your life. There’s plenty to learn from negative experiences that can make for positive results.
Take corporate entertainers for example. They attend audition after audition just putting themselves out there while perfecting their craft.
So always look towards the sun rather than fearing the dark. There’s a lot more possibility and support out there than you think.
#12. Look for the good in times of sorrow
Positive people are everywhere. Even when the world feels like it’s just a jumble of negative thoughts.
It was Fred Rogers who shared his mother’s wisdom when he said, “Look for the helpers.” Even when it feels impossible to think positively.
There will always be someone who is helping a negative situation turn into a positive one. So make it a habit to not only look for the helpers.
But maybe you can even start to practice being the helper as well. You hold so much more power than you think.
#13. Replace complaints with solutions
You know that one employee with an attitude at your business? You know, the kind where comment after comment is simply a complaint whether about the business or even about themself?
If you know what I’m talking about, then you know how unhelpful that is. So, in plain terms, don’t be like that!
Positive thoughts will never be manifested through the form of a negative comment. Instead, practice looking positively at a situation by coming up with solutions, not problems to address.
It’s easy to point out a problem. It’s even easier to make problems your entire outlook on life. But don’t mistake that for a personality.
#14. Write down your future goals
Success can feel like a far-off thing to some people. But only to those who don’t have the habits and mindset necessary to focus on their own happiness.
We already said you should write down what you’re grateful for. But how about writing down what you want to achieve?
Even better – write down how you can support your own endeavors. And cultivate positive thoughts to help you meet that success in the near future.
#15. Leave a post-it note of encouragement for yourself
We all need reminders. And sometimes, the reminder to spend time with loved ones or be in the moment is great when written on a post-it note.
Just think – you could wake up to a blank apartment and wait for your every day to change. Or, you could open your eyes each day to positive thoughts surrounding you in lively colors.
You will positively love waking up to such happy emotions. And it’s also a free decorating tip if you’d rather not deal with walking into a Home Goods store.
#16. Address your inner demons
Ok, this is just a life lesson. But really, do you want to go through life without addressing the negative habits you’ve cultivated?
Or constantly wonder why your thinking process has been positively horrendous and allergic to change? Our inner demons are something we have to address.
Otherwise, your attitude, focus in life and thinking all become corroded by this negativity. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
So make that change for yourself. And dare to watch your thoughts and stories change right before your eyes.
#17. Be open to humor
Life is actually hilarious. No, really. There are plenty of opportunities in your environment for you to laugh at – especially at the self.
A positive attitude is one that can laugh at itself. You can’t expect your thoughts to constantly focus on the success you’re trying to cultivate.
No, you need some downtime. So why not try laughing about life and make it a habit to not take everything so seriously.
#18. Practice positive self-talk
Positive self-talk is severely underrated. So often, our biggest obstacle to achieving happiness is actually the self.
Because if you look at how you talk to yourself, you’ll find that sometimes, you’re not very nice. But thinking generous thoughts can change the stories we’ve been telling ourselves.
No more thoughts like, “You’re not good enough, skinny enough, blah blah blah.” Shift your life narrative to be more forgiving and nurturing.
You wouldn’t say these things to someone else, would you? So don’t say them to the self you see in the mirror.
You’re never fully dressed without a smile
Life is what it is. There’s not too much we can control.
But positive thinking is one of the greatest tools at our disposal. This article is certainly not an exhaustive list of how you can form healthy habits.
But give each of them a try. And notice a difference in how you approach every day.
Keep Reading: How Positive Thinking Affects The Brain
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of Clean Comedians®. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.