From I was very young, I have always been a happy person. Many people would make fun of me for smiling all the time.
As the famous saying goes, “Smile, it confuses people.”
Was I always happy? No. But my philosophy has always been, smile and the world smiles with you, cry, and you cry alone.
Often, I would get asked why are you so happy? And for the longest time, I did not have an answer.
I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t feel that happy, I had problems and things stressing me like everyone else.
When I focused on the reason why I was happy, I realised that it was down to me having a positive faith-filled view of life. No matter how bad things got, I always had a way of staying positive, even during tough times I knew things would get better.
In this blog post, I would like to share 11 of the most effective habits for staying positive that I have learned. I hope you get some inspiration.
1. Find an optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation
One of the simplest but most effective ways to build a more positive outlook is to look for the good in a situation.
When I am in a negative place, I like to ask myself questions like:
What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
Is there an opportunity within this situation?
When I look for the positive, I find that it takes my mind off my negative thoughts (that can quickly spiral out of control).
In the past I would ask the wrong questions. Questions like, how did I end up here? when will I ever learn? Why can’t I do anything right? The answers would only make things worse.
2. Cultivate and live in a positive environment
Your environment has a massive impact on how you feel — the people you choose to spend your time with effects your outlook on life. Also, the content you consume in the form of TV, internet, and media.
It’s essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you instead of dragging you down.
So carefully consider what you let into your mind. You can, for example, ask yourself:
Who are the three most negative people I spend time with?
What are the 3 most negative sources of information I spend time on?
If you spend a lot of your time with people that complain and run others down, that negative energy will rub off on you.
My parents always told me to listen to the news and read the newspaper. I know it’s good to stay informed with what’s going on in the world, but if what you are hearing first thing in the morning is negativity, it can affect you for the rest of the day.
Instead, spend more time with friends and co-workers that are more positive, and encourage you to be better in some way. And, listen or read something positive first thing in the morning to set you up for the day.
3. Plan Your Day
I have found that when I don’t plan my day, I end up wasting a lot of time which results in me rushing around, stressed and frustrated, and things don’t go that well.
Negative thoughts start to build up, and I feel like my power decreases.
But if I plan my day I can think more clearly and get so much more achieved. Plus, it becomes easier to think things through and easier to find an optimistic and constructive perspective.
4. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill
It’s easy to lose perspective, especially if you are stressed, and you are going too fast.
A small problem can become a terrifying one. To level the mountain, I do three things, so the problem doesn’t get out of hand:
First, say STOP. Realise you are in control, not your negative thinking.
Second, breathe. After you have disrupted the negative thoughts sit down and be still. Breathe with your belly and focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a minute or two to calm your body and mind.
Thirdly, share by talking to someone close to you and getting a more grounded perspective on the situation by getting his or her input. Or ask yourself this: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even five weeks?
5. Don’t let vague fears hold you back from doing what you want
We all have things that we would like to do, like start a business, do a night class or ask someone out on a date.
A trap that a lot of people fall into is rather than follow through they fill their minds of what negative things could happen if they took the action
The mind fuelled by fear creates nightmare scenarios and plenty of self-doubts. I know. I have been there many times.
So, I have learned to ask myself this: honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
Over the years I have discovered that the worst thing that could realistically happen is not as scary as the nightmare my fear-fuelled mind will produce.
Finding clarity in this way doesn’t take much time or effort, and it can help you to avoid much mental suffering. And help you to step outside of your comfort zone and take that chance.
6. Add value and positivity to someone else’s life
What you send out you tend to get back. What you give to others and how you treat them is what you’ll get back. So, provide value and spread positivity.
Lend a hand to a neighbour that’s moving. Give a friend a ride in your car, or if they need information then help out by doing a little research for them.
Sometimes people don’t want any direct help. They want someone to listen or encourage them as they’ve had a bad day or are going through a tough time.
7. Exercise regularly and eat and sleep well
Exercise diet and sleep can seem very obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t look after themselves.
A good night’s sleep or good workout has a massive effect on me when my thoughts are pessimistic, and I have a lot of tension or stress.
And I know how much simpler it is to think clearly and faithfully when I’ve eaten healthy for a few days.
basic habits may sound boring, but they do have a considerable effect on your state of mind.
8. Learn to take criticism healthily
One of the most common fears is the fear of criticism. It can hold people back from doing what they want. A negative comment can extinguish your faith if you allow it.
A loved one may mean well, but don’t let their limiting beliefs become your destiny.
Whenever you step outside your comfort zone and do something new, criticism is pretty much unavoidable. So, the key is learning to handle it more healthily.
By doing so, your fear of it will lessen, and it will hurt less if you do get criticized. I usually use four steps when I get some criticism. Maybe they can help you too:
Step 1: Don’t reply right away.
When you are angry, upset or riled up then is time to calm down a bit before you reply. Take at least a couple of deep breaths or a little time to process the message before you respond.
Step 2: Listen to criticism.
Try to remain open and level-headed and figure out how this message can help you. Ask yourself: Is there one thing I can learn from this criticism? Is there something here that I may not want to hear but could help me?
Step 3: Remember that the criticism isn’t always about you.
Some criticism comes from people lashing out because they had a bad day. To lessen the sting of such criticism – I try to be understanding. I think to myself that this person might not be feeling so good at the moment.
Step 4: Reply or let go. No matter the method of criticism, for example an email, I try to keep my reply level-headed and kind. I may add a question or two to get more specific feedback that is helpful. And if they don’t reply or send another nasty message, then it is time to delete it and let that situation go.
9. Let It Out, Let It Go
Sometimes some criticism can hurt you even if you use the steps above.
Two things that have helped me with that challenge are: Let it out. Just talking it over with someone close can be very helpful to see it for what it is. Helping you find a healthier perspective on the situation.
Let it go. I have found over the years that the ability to let things go has helped me greatly. Some people never change; they will continue to hurt you and cause you stress. The solution, spend less time with them
10. Start your day in a positive way
How you start your day usually sets the tone. I once heard it said that the first hour is the rudder of the day.
So be careful about how you spend your mornings. If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles of the day, then stress, and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.
If you, on the other hand, start your day slowly, spending some time reading or listening to inspiring articles or podcasts, then that will make a big difference to how you approach your problems and difficulties.
11. Mindfully move through your day
When you spend your time in the present moment, then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions.
When you get lost in the past or future, like so many of us, then worries become bigger. And failures and mistakes from the past can replay over and over in your mind dragging you into negativity.
A simple way to connect with the present moment is to take a walk-in nature, listen to the sounds of the world around you.
Another way to reconnect with the present moment is to pray and focus on each word. It might sound like a small and insignificant thing to do. But this reconnection with the present moment can have a very positive effect on the rest of your day.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you an amazing week.