Having a positive mindset is one of the single most important skills you can develop.
Learning to think positively will not only dramatically increase your happiness, but has also been shown to make you more resilient, more productive, and lead an overall higher quality of life.
Unfortunately, life happens, and staying positive can sometimes seem like an impossible task. In this post, I’m going to walk you through a few tips you can use to stay positive in a negative world.
1. Control Your Point of Focus
The number 1 way you can increase your positivity is to start paying attention to where you place your focus.
The concept is simple: when you focus on the good that is already present in your life, you will begin to increase other good things that happen to you. Focusing on positive experiences make it easier to stay more positive in the future, even when you get bad news or negative events happen to you.
Unfortunately, most people have a bias towards the negative. We often go through our day uttering a thousand little complaints. They might seem meaningless at the time (the guy that cut you off in traffic, how long the line at the grocery story is, etc), but these complaints represent how you focus.
Instead, begin to catch yourself when you start to complain, and flip your focus to find something positive about the situation. Maybe that job offer didn’t come through, but instead of focusing on how you didn’t get the job, focus on the fact that you did get an interview, and probably learned something in the process.
Learning to shift your focus is a habit. One way to do this is through positive affirmations, which can help you to replace your negative stories with empowering ones.
There are many techniques you can use for this, but you can try one of my favorite affirmation exercises here.
The more you pay attention to the story you tell yourself, every moment of every day, the more capable you become to direct that narrative in the way that you want.
2. Manage Your Mood, Before It Turns Sour
Another point of control you can develop is to begin to pay attention to how you feel as you move throughout your day.
This is important, because it is easiest to control your mood before you become frustrated, angry, or upset. The stronger a negative emotion feels, the harder it is to turn away from that negativity.
The solution is to catch your bad moods early. Begin to notice what types of situations trigger you, and steer yourself away from those triggers as best you can.
More often than not, if you pay attention you’ll find that most of your triggers are internal, not external.
You might not be able to control when your boss screams at you, but you can control how you interpret the situation, and what you decide it means. You could decide, for example, that while he might be having a bad day, it doesn’t mean you have to take it personally.
Another way to manage your mood is to make sure you always have go-to options that will help you to feel better, should something bad happen. I call this my happy list, and it’s an incredibly powerful tool to help you manage your mood.
3. Take Time Rest and Recharge
When you feel bombarded by negativity in the world around you, one of the best investments you can make is to take some time for yourself.
Taking time out to rest and recharge your mind is absolutely essential to living a happy and well-balanced life. It gives you time to reconnect with your internal drive and sense of purpose.
It also helps you build resilience, enabling you to more appropriately handle negativity from others.
Unfortunately, we often neglect this simple strategy because we believe we don’t have time for it. As the external pressures build, we begin to feel more and more burnt out. If you feel you are too busy to take time for yourself, remember that you cannot really help or serve anyone if you are not balanced yourself.
One of the best ways to do this is to develop a daily meditation habit. Spending as little as 10 minutes a day in meditation can radically increase your ability to think clearly, make better decisions, and better manage the world around you…as well as boosting your own happiness.
Try this free introduction to meditation to try it out for yourself.
4. Develop The Habit of Positivity
At its core, learning how to stay positive in life is about building positive habits. There are tons of different happiness hacks you could leverage, but ultimately it comes down to how you manage your own thoughts and emotions.
If you can realize that despite anything bad that seems to happen to you, you can always control how you interpret and respond to your situations.
Gaining this control is the secret to creating more joy in your life, and developing the foundation you need to achieve your aims, whatever they may be.