“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.”Bo Bennett
“To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all.”Peter McWilliams
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”Anais Nin
One of the very first things I started to work on consciously with my own personal development was to improve my outlook on life.
It was over 10 years ago that I started to delve into this topic and to step by step – and while sometimes tumbling backwards – build a more optimistic outlook.
An attitude that would over time become more and more stable so that I could not only look at the world in a positive way during good days.
But also so I could stay positive and constructive even during tough times and keep working towards something better.
In this article I’d like to share some of the best, smartest and most effective habits for being happy and positive.
How to be positive
I hope you will find something helpful here to stay positive.
1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions
This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.
A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:
- “Why did this happen to me?”
- “Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”
But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:
- “What is one good thing about this situation?”
- “What can I learn from this situation?”
- “What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”
2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In
The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.
- Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
- Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.
After you have disrupted the thoughts by shouting stop sit down and just be still.
Breathe with your belly and focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a minute or two to calm your mind and body down.
Question your mountain building thoughts by talking to someone close to you and getting a more grounded perspective on the situation by just venting or by getting his or her input.
Or simply ask yourself this to widen your perspective and to chill out:
Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?
4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self
Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.
I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.
If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.
So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.
5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way
The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.
So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?
A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.
This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.