Research has proved countless times that positive thinking has a wide variety of benefits for our emotional, mental, and even physical well-being. Positive thinkers have better stress-coping skills, stronger immunity, and more friends. But with today’s hectic lifestyle, when we feel overworked, tired, and stressed out by all the pressing demands and timelines, it can become all too easy to focus on the negative. So how can we eliminate negative thoughts and replace them with a more optimistic, positive outlook?
Building a positive mindset involves learning to acknowledge your negative thoughts, and then replacing them with more positive ones. It is not about ignoring your reality; it is more about having a proactive approach by looking for effective, creative ways to discipline your mind to come up with positive thoughts and positive solutions. It involves conditioning your mind to do things in a positive way as the brain can’t process the positive and negative at the same time. It is not a simple process that you complete in let’s say, two weeks. It takes time and practice. It is a long-life commitment to training your brain to become more positive. But it is possible, through practice, to break the ingrained negative response.
Why do we have negative recurring thoughts?
We have negative recurring thoughts because we give more attention, more importance to them than to any other thoughts, and the longer we think about them, the longer they last. When we keep obsessing about and repeatedly give more attention to the negative thoughts, our mind will be automatically conditioned to bring them up more often without our control.
How can you develop a positive mindset?
You can use the same mechanism to develop a positive mindset by repeatedly bringing more positive thoughts into your life.
First, acknowledge. Take total control of your attention and notice where your thoughts are. Are you tempted to think of and worry about a negative outcome? Take a moment to recognize the thought that’s forming in your brain. When you are experiencing negative thoughts, your whole body is responding: your muscles tense up and your breath becomes quicker. Relax your body by releasing any tension and focus on your breath.
Then interrupt that negative thinking and choose to replace it with something else. Redirect your mind from negative thinking to an ideal, positive outcome. Focus on the positive side and repeat it to yourself. Visualize a positive result, a positive situation, a positive outcome, and focus on the next steps you should take to get to that positive outcome. Give this positive outcome duration and importance by repeatedly focusing on it. Create the habit of focussing on what is right instead of what is wrong, on what you do have instead of what you don’t, on the solution instead of the problem.
For example, if you make a mistake, think about what are you going to do next to turn your failure into a lesson. Or if you have to wait for someone or something, don’t think of it as a wasted time. Use that time to listen to a podcast or to finish other tasks. If you encounter obstacles and challenges you will learn patience and perseverance, and you will end up wiser and more experienced. Focus on the benefits, no matter how small and insignificant they seem. There’s always a bright side to every situation if you want to look for it.
[Tweet “How to build a positive mindset @celebratingsun #happiness”]
You are responsible for the thoughts you think and you have the power to eliminate negative thinking. Train your brain to set aside any negative thoughts and always come back to the positive alternative again and again, and do that as often as you can. If you can focus on what you are feeling and start doing this exercise over and over again, everything changes and, in time, you will be able to develop a positive mindset. Remember that what you focus on, you attract.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
What do you usually do when you experience negative thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
For more tools and resources on happiness check out my Resources page.