A Positive Approach
Cultivate optimism and increase positivity in yourself in the new year
We all have one thing we can control in our lives … the way we think. Think of it as your own individual special skill set that allows you to change the negative into the positive. Daily, we are bombarded with negativity (on the news, social media, and sometimes from others we surround ourselves with), which can seep into our own thoughts and actions. But that negativity is counterproductive to both physical and mental wellness.
Use Your Super Power
This is where your super power of changing your own mindset comes into play. You cannot change all your negative thoughts overnight, but you can begin a journey to create a more optimistic approach in your life.
First, remember that life is not fair, unfortunately. There will be times that are filled with disappointment. However, it is how you handle that decisive moment in time. Do you sit there and hold on to the disappointment for a long time, or do you allow yourself a little time to grieve a disappointment? It’s best to allow yourself to feel sad, but look at what you learned from the disappointment and then make a goal as to how you can improve and if the situation arises again, how you can work towards a more positive outcome in the future.
Second, cultivate your own optimism. If you notice that you fall down the proverbial rabbit hole of complaints or feeling pessimistic, remind yourself – specifically your brain – that there is a positive. We all have specific triggers that seem to emanate negative thoughts or feelings. When you feel that happening, take a closer look at that moment and really identify what it is that is making you feel negative. Recognize that is what is causing your pessimistic approach, and try replacing that with a more productive and positive thought or action. Each time you do that, it helps to retrain your brain into finding the good in a situation.
If there are people in your life who cultivate negativity, try to distance yourself from them. If that is not possible, do not get on the negativity train with them. Try to invite them to find the positives. For someone who may struggle with the “what if’s” and similar worries, try asking a positive “what if” question instead. For instance, “What if the audience doesn’t like my performance?” could be replaced with “What if the audience loves my performance?” See the difference between the two scenarios?
Another method of creating positivity in your daily life is by writing in a gratitude journal. Use one daily and it doesn’t have to be formal, have correct spelling, or even correct punctuation! It is all about writing down at least one thing that you are grateful for that happened that particular day. It could be something as simple as eating your favorite meal. There is evidence-based research that has determined practicing gratitude is helpful for your overall mental and physical health. Take the time and write each day, during a time that works for you, but consider doing this at nighttime prior to going to bed. It helps alleviate stress and clears your mind of negative thoughts before getting your “Zs.”
Another way is to embrace relationships with family and friends that are positive and encouraging, and be sure to be supportive and optimistic in return. Yes, “vibes” can be contagious at times, so it is helpful to be around others who will uplift you and not make you feel pessimistic, sad, or hurt.
Being mindful about your actions and thoughts will allow you over the year to develop an optimistic mindset and, quite possibly, help others along the way over the course of the year. Be sure to write down your journey and then at the end of the year, see how far you have come and see all the amazing things that happened during the year. You may just surprise yourself.
Remember a positive attitude will take practice. Be kind to yourself as you navigate the change from a negative thought process into a positive one. Those around you might also join you.