The idea that “we are what we think” has been around for centuries. Many of the greatest thinkers in history have taught that by altering what we think about and the beliefs we hold we can transform our life for the better. Despite this clear message that has proven true for many people, the majority of us will never change our negative thinking and limiting beliefs that run through our head on a daily basis. This is because we believe that we need different circumstances to have a positive attitude. We assume that happiness is something outside of us, and that once we get that new job, make enough money, or meet that special someone, we will finally be happy. We can overcome this “happiness trap” when we realize that happiness starts with us and is something we have within us at all times. Having a positive attitude goes beyond our circumstances and is in our control. Even if we have a habit of focusing on the negatives, with practice we can change that habit and start thinking in a positive way. Taking control of how we respond to our thoughts and what thoughts we focus on can make all the difference between happiness and unhappiness.
Five techniques for a more positive attitude
Attitude is the mental state that you have while carrying out your actions. It is the way you view the world around you and choose to see it, either positively or negatively. Our attitude follows us in every situation and thus has major implications on success and happiness. Use these techniques on a daily basis to begin thinking and feeling more positively. Positive affirmations – I know what you’re thinking. These little statements again!?! Old news! Despite positive affirmations being thrown around and exploited as a key to success, don’t neglect the utility of this technique. Affirmations are a crucial part of changing the ingrained beliefs that are holding us back. Using affirmations helps us define who we are, where we want to be, and the person we can become. If you haven’t created a vision, mission, and values statement for your life contact me to explore this process. This is a more extensive form of an affirmation but still serves the purpose of repositioning your beliefs. Positive habits – Positive affirmations can help us feel more confident, but by themselves they aren’t that helpful. We need to take positive action and consistently engage in healthy behavior until it becomes a positive habit. Mix positive thinking with positive action to create positive habits. See opportunities in challenges – Within every challenge is an opportunity. Positive people are able to recognize that problems are not obstacles that get in the way but are new opportunities for creativity and problem solving. A positive attitude helps us be more optimistic and see what is possible. Even in difficult situations we can look for the potential that could be, instead of assuming what can’t be. Trust Yourself – By using positive affirmations and taking positive action you can begin to transcend doubt and reach a point where you know you have what it takes to reach your goals. You can begin to trust that you will encounter the right people, find the right opportunities, and experience greater fulfillment. Visualize Positive Outcomes – Jim Carrey once told a story about how he wrote himself a check for $20 million dollars long before he made it big. He would imagine getting paid that amount for doing movies and he would regularly use affirmations telling himself how successful he was and how great he was. Eventually, everything he imagined and told himself came true. To accomplish great thing, we must first see them in our minds eye, and then plan, believe, and act on these visualizations. We all have a vision of what our life is about, a sense we are going somewhere and the direction we take.
How attitude impacts outcome
A positive attitude can help us to be happier despite our circumstances, but it also allows us to make change to have a greater quality of life. Keeping a positive attitude is directly related to perseverance and motivation. Thinking positively helps us be more resilient in the face of difficulties and better able to cope with stress. A positive attitude and belief in ourselves leads to assertively working to achieve goals and being accountable for mistakes so we can move forward. With a negative attitude we tell ourselves “I won’t” “I can’t” “I don’t know how,” or “I don’t want to.” As we start to think more positively we begin to say “I want to” “I think I can” “I Will!” and finally “I DID!” Our attitude has a direct influence on the results we produce. We can’t be our best when we’re frustrated, angry, and discouraged. If you want to feel good and perform at your best follow this 6 step process. 1. Observe yourself in situations 2. Listen to your inner voice 3. Change your inner dialogue 4. Change your attitude 5. Change your actions 6. Change your outcomes Listening to and changing your inner dialogue is the key factors in this sequence. As we begin to change our thinking, the way we see things will change, and our responses and choices will change in the process.
Think Positive, Feel Positive, Be Positive
As you become a more positive person you will begin to experience a “positive feedback loop,” or a continued reinforcement of positive things taking place. As we start thinking more positive, feeling more positive, and interacting with others in a more positive manner, we will start the cycle of attracting more positivity into our life.
This is where I provide my personal connection to the ideas in the post. I hope you will join the conversation by leaving a comment, and offering your personal connection to these ideas as well. If you’re like me it requires daily work to be a positive thinker. Set-backs and unexpected obstacles can really throw me off and disrupt me from being the person I want to be. It also takes real commitment to connect with an inner-happiness that is distinct from what I have, what I accomplish, and what I do. I attached happiness to external “success” for so long; it hasn’t been easy breaking this association. Though, I have learned that finding a sense of significance instead of success leads me to live with more joy, fulfillment, and happiness, and ultimately this happiness becomes the catalyst for success. When I’m in a good mood, feeling a sense of purpose, and am more positive, everything seems to go well. I am more productive, I relate to people better, I’m more kind, and simply a better person. This is why having a positive attitude despite the external circumstances is so important. For me little things can make a big difference. I try to focus on what I’m grateful for each day, even if it’s something as basic as a sunny day. I also find self-acceptance to be a major factor in a positive attitude. If I judge myself or am critical of how I feel it only makes things worse. Being positive is embracing our weaknesses and flaws and dealing with them as we go. Practice looking beyond your immediate environment, and have self-compassion as you continue on the journey of life.