There’s a lot of hype about the power of positive thinking and with good reason. Studies show that having a positive outlook can make goals feel more attainable, relationships feel healthier and everyday life feel easier. Here’s even more good news: We can actually train our minds to think more positively. It takes a bit of discipline and practice, but the payoff is worth it.
Are you ready to turn that glass of water from half empty to half full? Here are seven simple ways to be more positive.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
Life is not a competition, it’s a personal journey. Everyone’s path is different. Even when people share common goals, they reach them in unique ways.. Instead of distracting yourself with someone else’s achievements, take that energy and focus it towards attaining your own goals.
2. Help someone out
It turns out that doing a good deed not only helps the recipient but also the giver. Studies show that helping others has a positive effect on your brain and health, researchers have dubbed it the “helper’s high.” We call it spreading good vibes and it feels like being hugged by a rainbow. Who doesn’t want that?
3. Connect with your loved ones
We humans are social creatures and much of our happiness comes from the people closest to us. Basically, this means you have your own personal arsenal of positivity to tap into whenever you need it. Call, exchange in some witty texting banter, send a sticker for laughs, use voice messages when you’re short on time, call again. Endless possibilities, right at your fingertips.
4. Reflect on the good in life
What we don’t have matters much less than what we do. Everyone has good in their lives. Reflect on all the positive things you already enjoy and take a moment to give thanks. We’re talking small things – like the fact that the bus was on time, or you didn’t snooze your alarm (more than three times) today, or you found time to do any of the things on this list! It’s quite easy to find the good in life if you make an extra bit of effort to think about it. Everything becomes a cause for a mini celebration.
5. Live in the present
Forget the “shoulda coulda woulda” moments. You can’t change the past, you can only act in the present. Sometimes that means putting down your phone for a bit and living in the moment (unless you are practicing tip #3). Be present and enjoy what you have now.
6. Visualize your goals
It’s time to start visualizing your big goals. Not like eating an entire Hawaiian pizza for dinner tonight (pineapple on pizza, really?). But visualize that dream of yours to finish the novel you’re working on or get that promotion from your boss. Living in the present doesn’t mean neglecting your hopes and dreams for the future. Think about what you want to achieve and how you’ll get there. This exercise will give you the positive inspiration to work toward your goals on a regular basis.
7. Bust out those pearly whites
Smile even if you’re not feeling it. There is concrete science behind the phrase “fake it until you make it.” Research shows that the simple act of smiling—even when forced—has a positive effect on your thoughts. We’re into it. Plastic smiles and all. Feeling negative? Flash a smile! Say “cheese”! Grin like a fool! Before you know it, you will actually start feeling as positive as you look.