You may have heard of all of the benefits of being positive, like better mood, more success, and better health. As you continue on your personal development journey, staying positive is a crucial step to your maturity. As you build this skill, it will build itself. At first, you will find this skill a little hard to sustain, but like a muscle, the more you use positivity the easier it will become. As you work on this skill, you’ll find yourself more resilient during bad days. With positivity as your secret weapon, you’ll spend your days, asking, “Why not me?” Here are five habits that can help you stay positive.
#1 Ask Optimistic Questions
Whether the negative situation is out of your control or through your own mistakes, ask optimistic questions. These may include:
♦ What is one good thing that can come from this situation?
♦ Where can an opportunity be seized?
Rerouting your brain to a positive state will save you a lot of heartache, regret, and self-recrimination. By skipping all the negativity, you can save hours of time and work on growing your accountability. If the situation warrants shock or some turmoil, let these emotions happen, first, and then ask your positivity questions.
#2 Create A Positive Environment
Like other forms of temptation, it is much easier to stick to the plan if you remove the temptation. Or limit your time with it, if you are around negative people. Physical objects you may want to eliminate or reduce could be television, the news, and magazines, as they can be full of negativity. Even if you are not on mood-dampening sites or channels, oftentimes negative messages or images will appear.
Some questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your environment are:
♦ Who are the three most negative people I hang with?
♦ What are three of the most negative sources I use to get information?
After you have the answers to these question, think of ways you can limit time with one of these people/sources during the week. As you distance yourself from this negative person/thing, how can you spend time with a more positive person/source?
#3 Slow Down
When the world is zooming by you may find yourself becoming more negative. As the stress builds, your thoughts may have no time to look for the good aspects of a situation. The brain has five neural processes for negativity and one for positivity. Speed can really thrum those five neural processes. To combat this, slow down. As you calm your breath, this will give your mind and body a chance to relax. You’ll find your heartbeat slows, your breath becomes less shallow, and you’ll be able to think clearer and with more optimism.
#4 Keep A Mole Hill A Mole Hill
When you are going too fast, you may mistake a mole hill for a mountain. And the moles for wolves. You may find yourself screaming over a broken glass or scolding your child about a dropped ice cream. If you don’t harness this stress, you may easily lose perspective.
Three simple steps can put your situation back into perspective: Stop, breathe, refocus.
Shout stop. As the thoughts began to whirl, bang, and scream, tell them to “STOP!” or “NO, this is the wrong path”, in your head. If you are alone, you can shout this aloud. Your thoughts will be stunned and this will give you just enough time to stop this hurricane of catastrophic thinking.
Take deep breaths. After you’ve quieted those bratty, doomsday, thoughts, have a seat. Be still. Breathe. Breathe from the depths of your belly and focus only on your inhales and exhales until your mind and body calm.
Refocus your thoughts. Analyze those “mountainous” thoughts. Is this situation really a mountain? Are those really wolves? Talk with someone you trust about this situation or vent if you feel the need. Challenge your reality by asking: “Will this be important in 5 years? 5 weeks? Next week?” If the answer is no, then, most likely you are looking at a mole hill.
#5 Don’t Let Vague Fears Run Your Life
Many times, when you want to try something new, ask someone out, or go outside of your comfort zone in any way, you may be bombarded by vague anticipatory fears. These block your future and are nothing more than “what-if” questions.
Distract these vague fears by asking yourself, “What is the worse that can happen?” Often the worst thing that can happen isn’t that bad. So, let’s unpack a few of these what-if questions.
You ask the person out, they say no. There are 7 billion people on this planet. Assuming you are of one sexual orientation, that’s still 3.5 billion people, give or take a few million ;).
Your new business fails. You can try again and you have learned what doesn’t work.
You could die. This is more extreme, but even this can be combated with the thought that you’re going to die, anyway. So, go bungee-jumping or skydiving. The experience will be amazing and unforgettable. Just make sure to get insurance, first.
Often, anticipatory and vague fears only function as a means to keep you stagnant.
Staying positive is one tried and true way to reach the goals you have for yourself. When you find yourself getting down, remember that many goals are lifelong, just like bettering yourself. Each day is brand new, a blank slate, and the story you write for your day is your choice.