5 Simple Ways to Be More PositiveArticle posted in: Lifestyle
Sometimes the hardest part of our day is just getting through it all. From work and healthy meal prep to laundry, errands and cleaning, life can be overwhelming and tiring at times. However, there is one secret weapon that can help you power through: positivity. It’s true what they say, positive thinking truly does have power.
In fact, positivity has the power to improve our overall health—both mental and physical! Johns Hopkins Medicine reports, “People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.”
To help you embrace this personal superpower, we’ve put together a list of some easy ways to boost positivity in your life. Try some of these tactics today in order to achieve a healthier, more positive mindset.
Here are five simple ways to promote positive thinking:
1. Start a Gratitude Journal
This first tip is so simple and yet so often overlooked. Oxford Languages defines gratitude as being thankful or a readiness to display appreciation for something. According to UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, “many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.”
It has even been found that people who practice things such as writing gratitude letters have more activity in their medial prefrontal cortex—a portion of the brain linked to learning and decision making. “This is striking as this effect was found three months after the letter writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain,” says UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine.
2. Find Balance
Oftentimes, we fall into the bad habit of thinking a situation or outcome is all good or all bad. According to Psychology Today, we have to train ourselves to stop this “all-or-nothing” thinking process when it begins! Life is about balance—finding it, cultivating it and practicing it. Catching ourselves when we head down that negative path can help us reroute and remind ourselves there is always room for change. Just because one thing you try may fail, that doesn’t mean that you are a complete failure. Look around that the hidden benefits of a situation and always keep an open mind.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Just like we exercise our muscles, we have to exercise our brains. We practice skills to get better at them; the same goes for practicing positivity. “You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you’re creating a new habit, after all,” says Mayo Clinic.”
In the same vein as that all-or-nothing thinking, we can often fall into the trap of focusing entirely on the negative aspects of our lives. According to Psychology Today, this is a learned habit that can be difficult to stop. Instead of focusing on what may have gone wrong, exercise and train your brain to focus on the positive side of things. “Just routinely focus on positive information and direct your attention away from the negative,” says Psychology Today.
4. Acknowledge Negative Thoughts
Sometimes when we talk to ourselves, we don’t even realize we’re talking to ourselves negatively. According to Mayo Clinic, some common types of negative self-talk include filtering, personalizing, catastrophizing and polarizing. Filtering is when you focus solely on the negatives of a situation and ignore or filter out the positive aspects. Personalizing is the act of blaming yourself for something bad happening. Catastrophizing is anticipating the worst or picturing the worst possible outcomes happening. Lastly, polarizing is that all-or-nothing thinking, assuming something is either fully bad or good.
“Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations,” says Mayo Clinic. Acknowledge and be aware of negative thoughts so that you can catch yourself falling into any of these negative self-talk traps. This can be a great first step to improving your positivity.
5. Say Cheese!
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “A University of Kansas study found that smiling—even fake smiling—reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations.” That’s right, you really can fake it until you make it! If you’re feeling stressed out, angry or get caught up in negative thoughts, John Hopkins Medicine recommends watching a quick funny video to cheer you up. So try smiling, even if it’s fake at first. It can naturally lighten your mood and boost positivity.
*Always speak with your doctor if you’re feeling overly negative, stressed, sad or anxious.