June 8, 2021

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Guest Author

Positive Thinking

Training your mindset to see life through a positive lens is similar to developing new muscle. When building muscle, it takes time and perseverance for the muscle to strengthen, but eventually that growth can become a cornerstone of strength and something that you can really count on. Experiencing the world more positively also requires effort, but, if you pay attention to your thoughts, you can change your perspective, especially if you have developed a negative thinking pattern.

As we navigate the journey of life, we learn very quickly that difficult and unforeseen obstacles happen to everybody along the way.

Even as small children, we encounter situations that require us to develop stronger coping skills and resilience, but we may have our parents’ or guardians’ support in these situations. As life unfolds and we grow up, we must learn to count on ourselves to make the best out of adverse situations.

The way we choose to react is always within our control, even if the situation we are reacting to is not. Having a positive attitude even in dire situations can help make you a stronger, more adaptable person.

Training your mindset to see life through a positive lens is similar to developing new muscle. When building muscle, it takes time and perseverance for the muscle to strengthen, but eventually that growth can become a cornerstone of strength and something that you can really count on. Experiencing the world more positively also requires effort, but, if you pay attention to your thoughts, you can change your perspective, especially if you have developed a negative thinking pattern.

Why It’s Important to Develop a Positive Perspective

Learning how to replace self-sabotaging thoughts with positive thinking patterns can help you and all those around you. Having a narrative with yourself where you focus on a positive self-talk can help you adjust to any adversity. For purposes of an example,  let’s imagine two people in the same financial position become unemployed.  Person A, the more resilient positive person may see it as an opportunity to pivot or find something more lucrative and would start working towards that goal. They would look at it as a manageable challenge and they would bring a more energetic, receptive vibe as they navigate through their career search. On the flipside, Person B, a more negative person would become very down and doubt themselves and would have a more difficult time in both their personal and professional life. Even though the positive and negative person are going through the same job search, the positive person will be more hopeful and will feel better as they strive to achieve their goals.  

A positive attitude can also make us feel more optimistic, decrease our tendencies to worry and think negatively, and simply bring more happiness and joy to daily life. People who have positive mindsets remain more hopeful and see the best, even in challenging times. The positive energy emanating from our minds is shared by everyone around us, meaning­ we can all support each other by developing a positive lens.

When life gives us lemons, we don’t always have the power to make lemonade (in other words, to change what happens to us). However, when we reformulate our thinking in a way that allows us to find balance, it can lead us to a place where we can cope better with adversity.

How to Develop a Positive Mindset

There are many ways you can develop a positive mindset and change your outlook and you should explore which method works best for you.

Some practices to consider when searching for this change could be:

1.     Working on gratitude and learning to appreciate the good things in our lives.

Many people keep a journal to help develop the practice of gratitude. Gratitude can help you remember that what you have in life holds way more value than what you lack.

Simple things like appreciating nature, your first cup of coffee, or a special moment can set your thinking in the right direction. As you start to notice things in your life to be grateful for, your mindset will eventually shift from negative thought patterns to more positive ones.

2.     Developing a meditation practice.

Meditation has been proven to change your attitude towards life. It can help you clear your mind, improve concentration levels and creativity, and can make you feel more energized.  It can also help you understand yourself better and make you happier by bringing you back to the present moment as you practice mindfulness.  

Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of time to meditate. Even a short meditation practice can work wonders for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

3.     Limiting negative self- talk.

In simple terms, it helps to get rid of your inner critic.

We spend most of our time in our own heads hearing our own voice. I love to tell my clients that they should pretend that the voice they hear in their heads is a friend walking side by side with them.  Would they want to hang out with a friend who is mean to them or bringing them down? The answer is no.

Make sure that the voice in your head talks you up, not down! Treat yourself the way you would want a friend to act towards you.

4.     Learning to reframe and distract when we need a new perspective.

When you reframe a certain situation to think about it in a more positive way, you can often find something to be grateful for, even in very difficult times.  Reframing often requires you to question your assumptions and beliefs when assessing your current situation, and shift your perspective to help you find some new learning from your challenge.

5.     Exercising more frequently, eating well and improving our sleep.

We feel better when we take good care of ourselves.  

If we eat well, we nourish our bodies and our souls.

When we exercise, we release endorphins and have the side benefit of improving our bodies. Even 15 minutes a day can put you on a positive path to feeling better.

Prioritizing sleep and self-care can help you feel more energized and positive. Sleep can take the edge off in stressful times and help you feel more positive and mentally strong.

These are all proven techniques that can really help you to feel better and will open up your mind to more positivity.

The Takeaway

Winston Churchill once said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”

These powerful words send an important message that all of us should carefully consider. Life has ups and downs and zigs and zags. The goal, through a resilient mindset and strong coping skills, is simply getting back onto that line.

We need to see the good in life, have gratitude and remember that seeing the positive side of things is a choice we make every day. A dark room is lit up by the light of one candle; when we practice positive thinking, we become candles that bring light and energy to ourselves and everyone around us.

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About the author

Nancy Tepper is a Personal Development Life Coach. As your coach and motivator, I become your accountability partner in your quest to develop confidence, resilience and stronger coping skills. I can help you with handling anxiety and worry as we focus on tools for stress management. Together, we will figure out your potential (professional and personal) and strategize about avoiding obstacles that have prevented your from achieving your goals in the past. While therapy is about figuring out your past, coaching is about the future and your potential. Let’s work together to find the best version of you.

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