Most of us, no matter how hard we try to stay on the sunny side of life, fall prey to negative thinking sometimes. Negative thoughts tend to be stuck in the past (regret, guilt, resentment, etc.) or in the future (worry). They keep us from enjoying the present. As awful as these thoughts make us feel, then, is there a way to make them go away so we can regain our equilibrium and be happy?
The answer is, yes.
How to Think Positive Thoughts
“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” says the Dalai Lama.
It takes effort to choose happiness. But you can do it, starting right now: catch yourself in the act of being negative (thinking or acting negatively) and immediately stop and redirect your energies. With practice, you’ll become more positive.
1. Tell yourself, “STOP” anytime you’re having a negative thought. Just stop it in its tracks before it ends up being a neative worry loop that runs through your head all day long. As soon as you stop it, you take away its energy. This is super important because if you give these thoughts energy by paying attention to them and feeding them with similar thoughts, they become incredibly powerful. And there goes your day. So to keep them from snowballing, stay “STOP.” There will be days when this is hard, but persist. Don’t let those negative thoughts take hold. Zap them of their energy and deliberately turn your focus onto something positive: either something completely different, or simply your ideal desired outcome.
2. Put a smile on your face. As soon as you’ve stopped that negative train, make the effort to change your mood. The fastest and easiest way is to smile. It’s proven that a smile affects your mood. And the cool thing is, it doesn’t matter if the smile is a fake one or a real one (chances are it’s fake to begin with, since you’re upset). Just HOLD that smile for a minimum of 2 minutes and think about something, anything, that makes you happy and guaranteed, your physiology will change. Your mood will improve. If you do this in front of the mirror, all the better. You’ll be laughing in no time – you won’t be able to help yourself!
3. Jettison the negativity from your life: that includes negative people (truly, you will not miss their presence in your life!), TV news (you can find out practically every bit of important news from friends or other sources) and obligations that burden you (you said yes when you should have said no). Surround yourself with people who make you smile and laugh, and who inspire and uplift you. Prioritize and organize your precious time so that you’re able to focus on doing what fulfills you and makes you happy. Love what you do… and do what you love… and make sure you have time to do that!
4. Give thanks. You might be surprised at just how powerful a daily meditation practice can be to put a fresh, beautiful new shine on your life. Get in the habit of giving thanks first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It’s hard to be negative when you’re thankful! Ten minutes of giving thanks in the evening is enough to wipe the slate clean and free you from negativity that can keep you up at night. The bonus here is that you will wake up in a more cheerful mood and well rested, so you can take on whatever the day brings with a great attitude!
5. Exercise. Get that stress out of your system and let the endorphin rush elevate your mood! If possible, exercise outdoors in the sunshine; but any vigorous exercise will do. If you’re out walking and your mind tends to wander toward the negative, use this opportunity to use positive self-talk.
6. Mediate, or do yoga. Being in the present moment helps ward off negativity (which is usually past- or future-oriented).
7. Help someone. Take the focus away from your worries by helping someone in a time of need. Help because it makes two people happy – you and the receiver!
8. Forgive. Nobody is perfect, including you. Forgive everyone (including yourself). It’s a heavy burden to carry! If you struggle with this, just know that all hurtful actions or words come from a place of inner pain. Love never generates hurt. Ever. This will make it easier to forgive someone who has hurt you, and to be more compassionate with them – or with yourself, if you’re the one who did the hurting.
9. Add “but” to every negative statement. For example, “I’m having a hard time adjusting to this new job BUT I look forward to learning about my industry and meeting great new friends.” Here’s another: “This traffic drives me crazy! I always come to work grumpy and tense BUT now I’m using this time to listen to an inspirational audio book and practice mindfulness so I can greet the day with a positive outlook.”
10. Express your creativity and talents. Give yourself permission to dive headfirst into what you love to do. It’s your life, after all! Give your talents a boost by developing them. If you don’t know what you’re good at, explore different hobbies until you find the one that puts a huge smile on your face.
11. Skip. Okay, skipping might seem silly, but have you ever seen anyone skipping who is not happy? It doesn’t matter how old or “grown up” you are. Skip a bit. Nobody has to see, but it will lighten your heart!
12. Play. And on that note, play. Life is not all about chores and responsibilities! Cut loose sometimes and do something silly!
13. Know that whatever bad thing you’re going through is temporary. Every situation has a life span. You can add to it and prolong it by being negative, or you can choose to be positive and send it on its way far more quickly.
These tips are a few seriously powerful vibration-raising techniques that will help you shed negativity and adopt a calmer, more cheerful demeanor.