Being positive means focusing on the good aspects of your life.
As we already know, our diet has a great impact on our health and energy levels. By eating more nutritious, high-quality foods and avoiding those that are bad for you, you will have more energy, decrease your risk of disease and get better sleep, allowing for a happier and healthier lifestyle. The same goes for your mental diet. What you consume mentally has a great impact on your character and personality. Those who have a positive outlook also benefit from greater confidence and self-esteem. Being positive can have an effect on how we think in our daily lives, how we see ourselves and how we look at the world.
Just like our physical health, boosting our mental health to become more positive requires training and practice. Here are seven hacks to positive thinking:
1. Feed your mind with positivity
When you feed your mind with positive thoughts and ideas, you develop a more positive and effective way of thinking. Your mind is like a garden. If one day you plant tomato seeds in your garden and continue to water and care for these seeds, there is no chance for the garden to suddenly grow flowers. Just like if you were to feed your mind with negative thoughts, you cannot expect to be positive and happy everyday.
We should be mindful of everything that we are consuming and pay attention to what we watch, read and listen to. Feed your mind with ideas and information that uplifts you and makes you feel good and confident. Try reading books, watching videos or listening to podcasts that are educational, inspirational or make you laugh.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
People are a big part of our lives; when you surround yourself with positive people, you will hear positive stories, positive outlooks and positive affirmations. Associate yourself with positive people who are encouraging, optimistic and express gratitude. Try to avoid negative and stressful people energy at all costs. “Happiness isn’t just a personal experience, it is actually affected by the individuals around you” says UW Health psychologist Shilagh Migrain, PhD.
3. Celebrate the small wins
This could be as easy as celebrating the fact that you are alive and breathing, that you woke up that morning, or that there is food in your stomach and a roof over your head. By saying the things you are grateful for out loud and reminding yourself of the things you already have versus the things you may want, it can help remind you of the beauty, joy and happiness all around you. Practicing gratitude is scientifically proven to increase happiness.
4. Remember that it is all temporary
If a plant in your garden does poorly the first time you plant it, there is always the opportunity to try again and reharvest when the right time comes. Our life, our feelings, whether they are positive or negative — it is all temporary. Try to let go of the mindset that you need to be a certain way all the time or that how you are feeling at a certain moment is how you will be feeling for the rest of your life.
It’s impossible to feel one way all the time, whether that’s feeling unhappy or positive or even being productive. Life comes in seasons and different cycles. Struggle, pain and uncomfort can be good signs that you are about to break a cycle and something good is about to happen.
5. Visualise a positive life
Try to visualise your goals and ideal life as if you have already achieved them. Paint a picture in your mind of how you want to be and have it playing on repeat in your mind. To improve our outer lives, we must first start with improving ourselves from within. As you see and visualise yourself on the inside, you will start to be that person on the outside.
6. Change what you can, let go of what you can’t
If you are angry or maybe you’re not feeling the best, ask yourself: why am I feeling this way? Is it because of work or is it your relationships? Whatever it may be, find out what you can do about it. Whether that is calling a friend or taking some time to unplug and do some self-care, if there are actionable steps you can take, do it. However, if something is out of your control, although easier said than done, try to let it go. The more you practice this, the easier it will be.
7. Have positive self-talks
Speak to yourself positively and control your inner dialogue. You may not be aware, but you are actually practising self-talk right now. Self talk is the way you talk to yourself, your inner voice that says things you don’t necessarily say out loud. The way you talk to yourself can affect your emotions. So it is important to be aware of the voice in our mind to avoid any negative thoughts that may cause worry or anxiety.
Just like our garden analogy, if you don’t consume positive thoughts and take care of them, negative thoughts will appear with no effort. If you don’t deliberately plant flowers and tend to them carefully, weeds will automatically grow. Examples of positive self-talk can be: ‘I like myself’, ‘I can do it’, ‘I am worthy’, ‘I am doing great’, or ‘If I want to, I can’.
The wrap up
We are the only ones who have complete control over our gardens. You get what you plant and if your garden is abandoned and forgotten about, weeds will grow. Be mindful of everything that enters your garden and be quick to remove any weeds. At the end of the day, it all comes down to loving ourselves, taking care of ourselves and letting go of those attachments that may be pulling us into negative directions.
Read more about positive mental health, here.