If you’re reading this, you’re probably struggling with negative thoughts. Don’t worry, you are not alone. It can be so easy to fall into a negative mindset. The good news is that there are some simple steps we can take to feel more positive. Positive psychology is the science behind what makes us feel good on the inside. Thanks to in-depth psychological studies on human thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, we know now that there are many steps we can put into practice to enhance positivity.
Focus on the Good
In order to feel happy, it’s of pivotal importance that we focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. And, though at times this is easier said than done, it’s essential to focus on the good things no matter how insignificant they may seem. For example, imagine you can no longer attend an event you’ve been excited about, focus on the free time you’ll have to relax or watch your favourite TV show.
Embrace and Enhance Your Strengths
Identify your strengths. OK, so hopefully you can name your top three as we’ve all prepared for that interview question, right? But, believe me, you definitely have more than three strengths. Think about it carefully and write them down. The interesting thing is that your strengths may seem so ordinary to you that you are actually unaware of them. If you struggle to think of your strengths ask the people closest to you, try returning the favour too.
Once you have identified your strengths, make it your goal to strengthen them (yes, really, you can strengthen your strengths). It may seem ridiculous if you are already good at something, yet we must enhance instead of alienate our strengths. The use of our strengths is linked to higher well-being and will lead to you being your best.
How Not to Fall Off Track
It seems so simple, right? So why is it that we somehow manage to fall back into the trap of pessimism? It often has something to do with a feeling of helplessness. This phenomenon takes place when we feel as if we have lost control over what happens to us, thus resulting in feeling helpless. Such thoughts commonly lead to a depressive state which, in turn, ends up feeling like a step back in our journey towards optimism. Recognise when this happens, and take control of your thoughts. Some simple breathwork can assist you in calming the mind. As you breathe in think of calm thoughts, and as you breathe out visualise any unsettling or negative emotions disappearing.
No Journey is a Straight Journey
What’s important to remember is that what we learn, we can then unlearn. Although you may have focused on the negatives earlier, that does not mean you cannot focus on the positives now. In order to shift our perspective, we must acknowledge the importance of balance. We must override negative thoughts with positive ones.
Values: The Plan of Action
Discover what your values are and make it your goal to ensure that your life is aligned with them. Think about your values according to the following categories: work/education, relationships, leisure, personal growth, and health. Once you have identified your values, analyse how close you are actually living according to these values. Next, identify the main obstacles that come in the way of these values and how you can overcome them.
Take note of the discrepancies and take pride in using them to build a bridge towards the kind of life you want to live. Create an action plan to be more aligned with your values. Think of this as mood board, in fact, why not get your creative juices flowing and create one to motivate you each day. After all, meaning and purpose are essentially a reflection of the presence of our values in our day-to-day lives.
Self-Compassion: Kindness Over Judgement
Just like we would be caring and comprehensive when a friend is stressed, anxious, or hurting, we must do the same for ourselves. Self-criticism defies love. Think about the classic moral that we all learned growing up: “treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Well, just reverse that and you’ve got the idea. Treat yourself how you would treat a loved one if they were experiencing any difficulties and self-compassion is born.
Flawlessness does not exist. We all fail, make mistakes, face challenges, struggle and that is an inherent part of being human. Instead of feeding the harsh critic, provide yourself with warmth and understanding as you recognise the issue. Recognise it, be understanding towards yourself, and think of a solution. Balance is key here.
Yes, that old chestnut – be grateful. Cultivate gratitude to grow happiness. Write it, think it, or even say it out loud. Anytime you feel negativity washing over you, try to cancel it out with positivity. Balance is key. By making gratitude journaling part of your daily routine, you are guaranteed more optimism.
I hope you flourish with gratitude, purpose, and positive experiences that fill you with happiness and love. Focus on your strengths, your blessings and embrace the glass-half-full approach as life is to be lived to the full. Optimism is as infectious as a smile so be sure to comment below on your top tips to positivity.
“Your only limit is your mind.”