Positive thinking is a mental and emotional state of mind that focuses on the good and expects positive outcomes. Developing and maintaining a positive attitude involves more than merely thinking happy thoughts. It is the anticipation of good (i.e. happiness, health and success) and it is the belief that all things–situations, obstacles and difficulties–will work out favorably in the end.
Optimism does not involve ignoring negativity. It is the acknowledgement of the negative but then choosing to focus on the positive. At its root, it is simply the belief that despite the current circumstances things will work out favorable in the end. A positive mind comes from a heart full of faith.
20 ways to revive positive energy
Staying positive can be tough. Optimism stares obstacles in eye and consciously chooses to look past them and believe… The problem comes in when the obstacles begin to obstruct optimism’s view. Positivity can start to wain when you are bombarded with a succession of negativity, failures, disappointment and heartbreak. Every challenge we face withdraws from us energy, resilience and a little bit of our faith. Once your positive resources (energy, resilience and faith) are depleted, pessimism slowly begins to creep in and take hold. Below is a list of 20 things you can do to help revive your positive energy:
1. Enjoy nature
Research shows that reveling in the great outdoors promotes human health. Spending time in serene natural environments has been scientifically proven to lower stress levels, improve working memory and provide a sense of rejuvenation.1.
2. Perform random acts of kindness
Finding ways to put a smile on the face of others effects you just as much as it effects them. It takes the focus off of you and your problems and allows you to be a positive force in the lives of others. Doing good for others makes you feel good. It lifts your mood, improves self esteem and self-worth and it serves as a small distraction from your current challenges.
3. Develop an attitude of gratitude
Noticing and appreciating the positives in our lives is a great way to lift your spirits and provide yourself a mental boost2.
4. Take a mental break
Exhaustion is the silent killer of positivity. Learn to take breaks when things get overwhelming. Do something that gives your mind a break from whatever challenge you are facing–and that could just mean taking a nap.
Laughter truly is the best medicine for most of what ails us. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Find a way to laugh–often. Watch a comedy, spend the evening with your crazy friend who knows how to keep you in stitches. Host a game night with your friends. Find a way to laugh.
6. Hang around positive people
Research suggests that stress is contagious — and the more you surround yourself with it, the more likely you are to let it affect your thoughts. In the same way that stress and negativity are contagious so is happiness. The bottom line here is our behavior and thought patterns mirror those we hang around. Choose carefully who you allow into your circle.
7. Look for the silver lining immediately
Trying to force optimistic thinking amidst emotional turmoil or a bit shocked usually don’t work that well. However, training yourself to look for the lesson and find the bright spot not only eases the burden a little it also will slowly began to transform your entire thought process
8. Breathe deeply
Breathing exercises help expel toxic air from your body and refills your body and more importantly–your brain with fresh air. It clears your mind and allows you to regain mental clarity. One moment of clarity at the right time can change everything.
9. Don’t Dwell on negativity
Avoid dwelling on downers… downers bring you down! Focusing on negatives isn’t just unpleasant, it also can make you less effective in tackling other tasks you face. Negativity produces more negativity. Bad things happen–try not to replay them over and over and fixate on un-pleasantries.
10. Engage in positive self talk
Talk to yourself. Tell yourself things are going to turnaround and will work out in the end. Say it out loud. Speaking what you believe out loud reinforces and strengthens the message. You say it and hear it simultaneously.
11. Talk it out with a friend
Find a positive friend (or small group of friends) or confidant to talk to. Talking helps you hear the problem, admit and discuss your feelings and it gives you another set of eyes and ears working on the problem. You may find that brainstorming with another person or even a group will help you come up with new ideas to help you resolve the issue. It also reassures you that someone has your back and that emotional support makes a difference. Think of it as low-budget therapy.
12. Take a walk
Scientists have found that one of the best ways to chase the blues away is by going for a walk. A brisk Walk or calms you down by sparking nerve cells in the brain that relax the senses.
13. Engage in rigorous exercise
Getting sweaty is not just good for your heart–it’s good for your head too! Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise helps reduce anxiety and elevates your mood. When you engage in vigorous physical activity “feel good” brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids) are released that ease feelings of negativity, it distracts you from your issues, and it physically relaxes you.
Proper rest is a critical part of maintaining a positive attitude. Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on your mental state. Researchers from University of Pennsylvania discovered that subjects who were limited to less than 5 hours of sleep a night for one week felt significantly more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. It’s hard to maintain a positive mindset under those conditions. Get some sleep!
Journaling is a great way to deal with overwhelming emotions. It provides a healthy outlet in which you can express yourself and manage your emotions and overall mental health. Keeping a journal can help you identify and track the causes of negative thinking and develop a mitigation plan.
16. Play Hooky
Taking the occasional break from the daily grind is fun, freeing and necessary. Figure out what makes you feel alive and happy and do that. Whether its watching Netflix in your p.j.’s all day or if it’s kayaking down a river–the goal is to have fun–whatever that means to you.
17. Treat Yo’ self
Rewarding yourself with “me time” and celebrating who you are as a person is vital to sustaining a positive outlook. Find small, meaningful and healthy ways to indulge yourself from time to time.
18. Move through your day mindfully (be fully present in every moment)
Worry and dwelling on pervasively stressful thoughts with are optimism assassins. Living mindfully involves conscietously deciding to be fully present in each moment. When throw all of your attention, energy and resources on the now you don’t have the space for negative thoughts or worrying.
19. Take care of yourself spiritually
Paying attention to and investing in yourself spiritually is something most people neglect. You watch what you eat, workout, try to get enough sleep and do all the things you should to keep your body and mind fit and functioning. But part of maintaining good mental health and a positive state of mind is soul care. Take time to feed your soul and keep the mind- body-spirit connection strong by engaging in spirit enhancing, contemplative activities such as meditation, prayer, reading spiritual materials and/or attending religious services.
20. Celebrate small wins
Who doesn’t love a good celebration? Celebrating small victories is one of the quickest ways to give negativity the boot. Getting out of bed this morning is a win! Celebrate it. If you stayed in bed today and got a little extra rest–that too is a win! Instead of focusing on pending doom or sulking over losses–actively seek out and celebrate the things you do well and a the things you did get right today.
Credit: Denise Hill