Many people prefer to live in the negative than the positive and it’s primarily due to lack of willpower and understanding. Becoming a positive thinker is easier than a lot of people imagine and the rewards will exceed their expectations.
“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” ―
Negativity is quite literally, a drag. Being a negative person weighs us down and makes everyone around them feel drained — no good comes of it, so why not make the change? Becoming a more positive person is not nearly has difficult as some might believe and what’s more, it can be accomplished in a few easy “steps” — think of them as steps that are more of a process, which leads to the desired result.
The Role of Self-talk on Positive Thinking
There are quite a few misconceptions about positive thinking, so we will clear up a few to start off:
1. Positive thinking doesn’t mean ignoring life’s challenging or unpleasant situations. Thinking positively means approaching those challenges and unpleasantries with a focus on more hopeful and productive ways – focusing on the best outcome and not the worst.
2. Self-talk most often has the greatest impact and influence over our positive thinking, because it all starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the continual stream of sub-conscious thoughts that run through our head; these thoughts are on auto-pilot and are manifested as either positive or negative. Self-talk is shaped by our own personal manifestation of what we see as logical and reasonable, our misconceptions and even our lack of knowledge/factual information. In essence, our experiences, biases and attitudes heavily influence the way we think about or react to people and experiences.
If the thoughts that run through our mind are mostly negative, our general outlook on life becomes more pessimistic and even cynical – if a person is always looking on the dark side, it will definitely have a negative effect on their entire life. If however, our thoughts are focused on the positive – the good – then we will have a much brighter, inspirational outlook on life.
There are an increasing number of studies which prove that a person’s optimism or pessimism can have a direct affect on their health and happiness and they conclude that optimism is an effective tool to combat stress.
If you think you might be a pessimist, please have hope, because anyone who puts their mind to it, can quickly learn and incorporate beneficial positive thinking skills.
There are many benefits to being an optimistic and happy person and according to published research, these are just a few of them:
- Improved psychological and physical well-being
- Increased life span and better quality of life
- Lower rates of anxiety and even depression
- Greater ability to resist illnesses
- Stronger coping skills in dealing with stress
- Greater ability to accept and adapt to change
- Career stability
- Stronger relationships
Some simple steps to become a more positive person include:
Admit there’s an issue: Probably the most important step on any road to a form of self-improvement, is acknowledging there’s an issue. Negative thinkers very often become entrenched in the negativity and it skews their perception of themselves and others, which closes them off to change. Realizing that the negativity has become untenable and wanting to change, is the vital first step.
Identify what you want to change: Having a plan is key. Change is desired, but what, how and why? It’s very beneficial to go beyond the “thinking on it” stage and scope out what it is we want to improve. If for example, we want to stop negative self-talk, we need to get it out of our head and onto paper – what negative self-talk are we hearing, when does it occur, why is it a problem? This process of change can be free-flow and there’s really no set way to do it – the important thing is to have a good sense of the change we desire.
Identify your areas of negativity: What triggers your negativity? Is it politics? Is it watching the TV news? Is it your job? It’s key to have a grasp on what brings about the negative outlook, thoughts, words and actions.
Focus on good and positive things: Ridding ourselves of negative self-talk means replacing it with positive self-talk. For example, if you typically say to yourself, “Look at him wasting his time…there’s no way that’s going to work.” Think instead “Good for him! More power to him!” Or if you think “What good is thinking positive…nothing changes and it’s all a waste of time…” think instead “This is new to me, but I need to change and I’m going to approach it with an open mind…” Instead of defaulting to a negative thought/reaction, default to one of open-mindedness and optimism – after a while, that will become second nature. Focusing on positive self talk over negative means being more mindful, so make sure you are consciously aware of your thoughts and focus on improving them.
Practice gratitude: If we’re not thankful and appreciative for all the good things in life, how can we ever hope to feel good about our place in it? To become more positive, we have to see the good and to see the good, we have to appreciate things more. Learn to notice even the small things, like some beautiful flowers or the puppy playing in the park – focus on what is pleasing and good and make yourself more grateful for all the marvelous things we still have in our life and this world.
Surround yourself with positive people: We all need family or friends to help us navigate the negative perils that pop up in life, so surrounding ourselves with people who uplift us is vital. If we spend time with negative, dour people, it will eventually rub off on us, so identify those people who will support and encourage you. Of course, we can’t always just ditch friends, so some gentle distancing from the really negative ones may be the best one can do.
Live a healthy lifestyle: Most experts agree that people who eat right and exercise tend to be more positive in general. On this one, it might be a good idea to consult with your Doctor or a qualified dietician to help.
If you feel you tend to take the more negative outlook and you’re looking to make a change, it’s a great first step. We shouldn’t expect to become an optimist overnight, so give yourself some slack and realize that with practice and commitment, transitioning from a negative person to a positive one will happen. The end results for changing our outlook is really amazing and becoming a positive thinker opens up a whole new brighter and happier world.