Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong, but someone turns around and says to you, “look at the positive side of things!”, and it hasn’t helped at all? We’ve all been there, but making a conscious effort to look at the positive side of a bad situation can help you not only get to the matter at hand, but also develop useful resources for yourself for later in life too.
Positive thinking can be associated with a number of situations such as always seeing the bright side of life, seeing the best in people and knowing and understanding that there will always be something good once the negative thoughts and situations have passed. However, we all know that the idea of always looking at the positive is a harder task than not, and our bodies will try and block out a positive alternative if we are overcome with negativity.
If you think of a time when you have been in a negative situation, for example when you have been frightened, your mind automatically switches to a negative emotion – fear. The negativity which takes over you narrows your mind and focuses your thoughts, leaving your options limited. We have known for a long time that our negative emotional response leads us to a specific action. When in fear, it may be to run, or when we are upset it could be to cry or give up. Our minds will shut off anything else that is going on around us to solely focus on the problem.
Take stress for example, when you let the feeling of stress pile up and take over your thoughts, this is the sole emotion that you experience, eliminating anything positive which is going on around you.
These are examples of what negative thoughts can do to you, but what about the power of positive thinking?
Positive thinking doesn’t just stop the moment your problem is resolved, it can continue to keep you lifted throughout the day and even further on. If the feeling of happiness is evoked by, for example, finishing a sporting activity, the emotions you will feel straight after will be of success but you will also have learnt new skills and possibly achieved a personal goal. The skills you learnt here will last much longer than the emotions that initiated them. This is known as the ‘broaden and build’ theory, established by a positive psychology researcher from America, Barbara Fredrickson. She believes that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility, which opens the mind. This is where we can start to understand the power of being positive. Negative thinking does the complete opposite of this, there are no other options at the time apart from the bad feeling.
So, what can you do in your life to promote positive thinking?
This should be your first point of action, if you are making the effort to look after yourself then you are more likely to think positively. Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing, get plenty of rest, hydrate your body and eat well to provide yourself with the energy you need for a positive outlook.
Recognise & replace negative thoughts
It’s important to be able to recognise and manage negative thoughts. You don’t necessarily have to turn everything into something positive, being realistic is just as important. For example instead of thinking “I’ve made a mistake” replace it with “I’ve made a mistake, but I have learnt from it”.
Daily reminders of positive affirmations can also help. Wearing a MantraBand is a constant reminder of how to live your life with optimism and mindfulness. Available in silver, gold or rose gold each band is a reminder to choose happiness and be present in every moment with inspirational reminders such as ‘Be True, Be You, Be Kind’ and ‘Enjoy The Journey’.
Surround yourself with positive influences
Find people who believe in you and make you feel lifted. Sharing your thoughts with other people does not make you a negative person, it’s important to share. These people should also have a positive outlook on life, such as your friends and family, as connecting with people who are constant complainers will only rub off on you. Alternatively, express your positive outlook onto those who may need cheering up to continue the circle of giving back.
Consider the consequences of negativity
When you spend time convincing yourself that something isn’t going to work or you’re not going to get the promotion you are going for, for example, then this may result in you giving up before you have even started. These thoughts will only decrease your motivation to succeed. Take note about all the things which you think about negatively and see how these influence your behaviour, relationships or feelings. Try and turn these around with a positive alternative which could be beneficial for you.
Make your home a positive place to be
There is no inspiration to be found in plain rooms, dirty kitchen or a cluttered bathroom. Keep the space around you clear of clutter to encourage a peace of mind. Try adding inspirational or motivational pick-me-ups around the house so you’re reminded to smile as you go from room to room.