It’s a common misconception that positive people see the world through rose-colored glasses. But according to Joffrey Suprina, the Dean and associate professor of the College of Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University, it’s about becoming a realistic optimist. At first glance, that might seem like a distorted oxymoron. However, Suprina states, “Positive thinkers are individuals who recognize both the bright side and the negative, but they choose to focus their energy and time on the side that’s going to promote the most positive outcome.”
In other words, it’s not about ignoring one side of reality, but rather accepting the whole of it and still having the guts to believe in something good. When you feel as though you can only locate darkness, we want to remind you that there’s still something to look forward to. Psych2Go shares with you 7 habits to nurture a positive mindset:
1. Let go of what holds you back.
If you’re worried about being labeled as a quitter, don’t be. It’s healthy to let go of toxic relationships and situations that stunt your growth. Goodbyes may be hard, but staying in an unhappy circumstance will only be detrimental to your health in the long run. If someone is constantly criticizing or putting you down, walk away from them. You may initially feel guilty for giving up on them, but once you set yourself free, the possibilities ahead will take you where you need to be.
2. Practice gratitude.
Adapting a positive mindset means finding the time to focus on what you have, rather than what you are deprived of. It’s easy to sink into your disappointments, failures, and downfalls. But learn to shift your way of thinking and remind yourself of the people who love you and the experiences you’ve accumulated up to this point. If you enjoy alone time and tend to reflect a lot, you can write in a gratitude journal or blog every day. But for those of you who prefer to engage in social activities, you can choose someone to be your gratitude partner. When you have a gratitude partner, you are responsible for reporting to them via text, email, or phone call about what you are grateful for on a daily basis.
3. Carry yourself with a positive posture.
Your body affects you just as much as your mind. According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the way we perceive ourselves is heavily influenced by our body language. If you have a tendency to hunch over or slouch, try standing up straight with your shoulders back and stretch your arms out wide. When your body communicates that you are in charge, you start to feel more empowered. As a result, carrying yourself with a positive posture also nurtures a positive mindset.
4. Don’t wait for good things to come to you—make them happen.
Be proactive and get involved with hobbies and work that give you a sense of purpose. When you live passively, it can cause stagnation and decrease your motivation. To ensure that you stray from boredom or feelings of emptiness, find something that fulfills you. Whether you want to start a club, write stories that make others feel less alone, or become a great cook, go out and create your own happiness. Ultimately, life is what you make of it, so make each day count.
5. Surround yourself with positive people.
As previously stated in the first point, it’s important to let go of toxic relationships. But if you can’t walk away from toxic family members yet or unable to leave a toxic workplace because you haven’t found a new job, spend as much time as possible with positive people. They can be your friends, romantic partner, or people at an organization you belong to. When you surround yourself with optimistic individuals, their bright energy can encourage you to find the good within times of uncertainty.
6. Don’t label your thoughts and give yourself pep talks.
We can be so quick to judge and jump to conclusions. That’s why it’s important to remind yourself that thoughts aren’t the same as facts. Practice monitoring your negative thoughts and catch yourself before falling into the trap of self-criticism. You may not be able to erase your negative thoughts, but you can learn to challenge and stand up to them.
7. Make someone else’s day!
Practice kindness and selflessness. When you make a difference in someone else’s life, it can lift your own spirits in return. Spreading positivity is a contagious act. You can write your coworker a kind note, give an extra tip to the barista who makes your coffee every morning, or donate to a good cause. It’s not about being free from conflict, but making the best out of what is within your control.
What are you going to do today to be more positive? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
If you enjoyed this article, then you may also like 10 Ways Positive Thinking Improves Your Well Being or 10 Ways to Build Your Emotional Resilience from Psych2Go.
Belmont, J. (2018). The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People. Lifehack. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
Holmes, L. (2014, September 13). 6 Tricks To Becoming A More Positive Thinker. HuffPost. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
Jantz, G. (2014, September 24). 6 Ways to Become More Positive Today. Psychology Today. Retrieved January 31, 2018.