What Is a Positive Mindset?
A positive mindset is looking at life with a growth mindset. It’s choosing optimism over pessimism. It’s a glass-half-full kind of outlook. Life may not be ideal, but people with positive mindsets choose to see the best, and that positivity improves their well-being.
Having a positive mindset is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Your mindset influences literally every aspect of your life, so having a positive mindset makes everything better.
When you are focusing on the positive, you can also just be in the present moment. When you’re living in the moment with gratitude for what’s around you… you’re not focusing on the past or fretting about the future because you’re living in the present. And in the present moment, you choose to see the glass as half full.
Why Positive Thinking Matters
Having a positive attitude impacts all areas of your life. When you look at life with a positive outlook, you see the possibilities more than you see the pain. And that means you’re dreaming and not catastrophizing, which really sets you up for success. Learning how to think positively propels your life forward. Once you focus on possibilities, you focus on the future. You can set big goals, and you can work towards achieving them.
Positive thinking has a huge impact on your physical and mental health. Some of the proven benefits include higher energy levels, faster recovery from illness, lower rates of depression, better coping skills, fewer common colds, and a longer life span. In fact, positive people have a higher quality of life in general. And isn’t that what we all want, really?
Positive People Choose Positivity
Optimists are just plain happier. That seems kind of obvious, but it needs saying anyway. If you think positively, you’re focused on the good. Your thoughts are happier in nature because you choose for them to be this way.
Are positive people’s lives always picture-perfect? No. Do they experience hard times? Of course. But they choose to be optimistic. They choose to use the power of positive thinking every day. Why? Because it makes life better for them, their families, and everyone around them. Optimists choose to live this way, and you can too. Will you choose to wake up with a positive attitude this week?
Happy people are more successful too. That’s because they dream big and don’t quit. They don’t get stuck dwelling on fears and doubts, instead, they find solutions. That’s the power of positive thinking. They’re not afraid to go outside the box—to see past the negative and access the positive—and that’s what it takes to succeed nine times out of ten.
5 Steps for Turning Negative Thoughts Into Positive Thoughts
Now, if you have a negative thought, you shouldn’t get down on yourself. The occasional negative thought has its place. It can sharpen your focus. But once it’s served its purpose, you have the power to transform the negativity into positivity. Here’s a proven five-step method for turning negative thoughts into positive ones.
1. Focus on the Present
Avoid focusing on what went wrong in the past. Instead, be in the present moment and focus on what you can do in the here and now.
2. Find the Humor
Most of the time, there’s something funny about bad situations. Choose to lighten the mood with a laugh. For example, if you wore your shirt inside out all day, you could say, “I must have looked ridiculous!”
3. Look for the Lesson
Ask yourself what you can learn from this moment. Maybe you could have practiced for that ballgame more, or you could have rehearsed your business pitch better. There’s usually a lesson to learn when negative thoughts butt in.
4. Flip the Narrative
When you’re having a negative experience, there are always several ways to see things. How can you change your view of the present moment into something more positive? What’s the silver lining? (“I screwed up. → “I’ll do this next time instead.”)
5. Practice Gratitude
Find something—anything—to be thankful for. For example, when you recognize negative thoughts, you can be grateful by saying, “Wow, I’m glad I realized this!” Or when you make a mistake, you can practice gratitude by saying, “Next time I’m going to do so much better!”
25 Positive Thinking Tips To Try
Positive thinking is mostly about mindset but it’s also about action. Within these 25 tips, some are about transforming negative thoughts into positive thoughts, some are about choosing optimism, and some are about good habits that promote positivity. As you read, take note of your favorite tips and mark which ones you want to try to put into practice first. Also, mark which ones you are already doing. Good work on those!
1. Tell Yourself a New Story about Who You’re Becoming
Everyone tells themselves stories… stories about their past… stories about their present… and stories about their future. But are the stories you tell yourself helping you or hurting you? Think through your stories and use positive words to rewrite them. At the very least, make sure that your present and future stories are positive.
2. Practice Positive Self-Talk
What you say to yourself matters a lot. Do you talk to yourself using positive words, or do you allow negative self-talk? You can’t have a positive mindset without positive self-talk. So anytime you find yourself experiencing negative thinking or becoming a negative person, practice the steps for changing a negative thought into a positive thought.
3. Focus on Your Future Potential Rather Than Your Past Mistakes
You can’t change the past; that’s just the truth. There’s absolutely no use dwelling on it and replaying it over and over in your mind. Want to know how to think positively? Focus on your future. Think about your positive potential—what you can do, not past mistakes that you can’t change. That’s how you become more satisfied with your life.
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal
There are few things that are more uplifting than a gratitude journal. Just take a few minutes every day to write down what you’re thankful for, or come up with some positive affirmations. Doing this every morning will give your state of mind such a positive boost.
5. Be a Lifelong Learner
Positive thinking means staying curious. It’s knowing that you never have all the answers and being hungry for knowledge. Because the more you know about the world and what’s in it, the more opportunities and doors will open for you.
6. Start a Meditation Practice
Daily meditation increases positive emotions, mindfulness, and awareness. And all three of these things partner with positive thinking to create a better quality of life. So start every day with five minutes of meditation. If you’re struggling, consider downloading an app to help you. There are some amazing meditation apps out there.
7. Put Inspiring Quotes Around Your House
Words from people you admire can impact your positive mindset in a big way. Pick a few people you really look up to and write down some of their most inspiring quotes on sticky notes. Then start sticking! Put them by your computer, on your bathroom mirror, by the door—anywhere you’re guaranteed to see them every day. You can switch them out every now and then to refresh your daily inspiration!
Living a healthy lifestyle is crucial for positive thinking. Exercise impacts the chemicals in your brain, which influence your ability to think positively. Exercise also affects your self-esteem. If you’re making an effort to improve your wellness, you’re going to feel much better than you would if you were sitting on the couch all day. Moving forward is always better than sitting still. Each day, try to take one step towards a healthier you.
9. Consume Only Social Media That Serves You
Social media is a tool; it can provide you with the social support you need. But the minute it stops serving you, you need to cut the cord. If certain social media posts are causing jealousy or negativity about your own life, then stop following those posts! While jealousy and negativity are completely natural human responses, you can’t let them derail you. Take action to preserve your positive experiences by not comparing your life to others’.
10. Write It Out
If negative emotions are bothering you, put them on paper. If you have a lot going on today, write it down. If you have some thoughts rolling around in your head, get them out. Any negative thoughts need to go, and any positive thoughts must be preserved. Putting your thoughts on paper is the best way to see them laid out in black and white. That way, you can decide if they are helping your well-being or if you need to ditch them.
11. Turn Your Stress into Your Superpower
This is a great way to practice stress management and use positive psychology at the same time. Everyone has stress. But one of the benefits of positive thinking is that you don’t have to let it get to you. You can turn your stress into a superpower. Here’s how:
- Decide whether the thought you’re having is true.
- If possible, prove it wrong.
- Either way, acknowledge the inherent power and energy of that stressful thought. Recognize how much it is consuming you right now. Hold on to that energy, because you’re to use it.
- Define what you actually want to happen, not what you fear might happen.
- Then harness the power of that stressful thought and put all that untapped energy toward the good goal of making that desirable future that you’ve imagined a reality.
12. Call Someone You Love
Get some social support. Talking to a loved one is a great way to lift your mood. But, be sure to call someone who is uplifting and not depressing. Call them just to talk, not because you need something. It’s an awesome way to brighten both of your days.
13. Do One Thing Every Day Just for You
We all spend so much time doing things for work, for others, and for our to-do lists. We do things that we have to do and not necessarily things that we just want to do. Do one thing every day that’s just for pure enjoyment, and it will power up your positivity.
14. Make a Bucket List
Positive thinking means thinking ahead. So take some time to think about what’s important for you to do in your life. Make a dream bucket list, considering everything you want to accomplish here on Earth. Then, think about the order in which you want to do the items. That way, you can start making plans and crossing items off.
15. Never Put More Than 5 Things on Your Daily To-Do List
If you overstretch yourself, you are going to fail. So don’t do that to yourself! Stop putting an unreasonable number of things on your to-do list. Cap it at five, and put all your focus into completing those five things. If you get those done and can do more, great! If not, there’s always tomorrow.
16. Encourage Others (and Yourself)
Practice being an encourager—for those around you and for yourself. Encourage your friends and family in what they do and what excites them. Light a fire under them! And practice encouraging self-talk rather than dwelling on self-doubt. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
17. Replace “Should” with “Could”
Get rid of “shoulds” altogether. “Shoulds” are basically poison because they put too much pressure on you. They are a recipe for regret. Instead, use “could.” “Could” turns a negative statement into a positive possibility.
18. Check-In with Yourself Every Morning and Evening
Touching base with yourself twice a day is a simple way to harness the power of positive thinking. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” Can you honestly say good? If not, how can you change your state of mind? What needs to happen for you to start seeing the glass half full again? Take action!
19. Flip the Narrative
This was a step for turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts, but it’s worth revisiting because it’s so important. When you’re looking at a situation, there are always several ways to view it. Take the situation in from all the angles. Then choose to view it from the most positive angle. Flip the narrative if necessary. For example, “I’m no good at this.” would become “I’m getting better at this.”
20. Stop Worrying about What Hasn’t Even Happened Yet
Why are you obsessing about what could go wrong? Stop it. Instead, think about how it could all work out. In fact, if you focus on fixing any potential problems, it’s way more likely that things will work out. So focus on doing that.
21. Watch Fun Videos on YouTube or TikTok
Why? Because fun videos will make you smile and laugh. And that’s just good for you. But choose your videos carefully. Remember the earlier tip about social media: only consume content that serves you. So no depressing videos or videos that will cause negative thoughts about your own life. Pick light-hearted, positive content.
22. Choose to See the Bright Side
They’re your thoughts, and they’re your choice. Choosing to see the bright side will help eliminate negative emotions and replace them with positive experiences. How do you want to spend your thought life? Do you want to dwell on the bad? Or do you want to focus on the good things? You decide.
23. Breathe Deeply and Allow Yourself to Calm Down
When you are experiencing negative emotions or feeling overwhelmed, take some time to breathe deeply. Calm down, and take a minute to just feel the air filling up your lungs. It will help.
24. Take Time to Smell the Roses
Thinking positively is about more than just thinking happy thoughts. It’s about taking time to appreciate life—not just the big things but the small things as well. Stopping to appreciate a pretty flower, a moment with your baby boy, or a kiss from your spouse. You can live life to the fullest by being present in those moments.
25. Change What You Can and Let Go of the Rest
Part of positive thinking and a positive mindset is recognizing that you have control over your reaction but not your circumstances. So take massive action on what you can change and be okay with what you can’t. Recognize what’s out of your hands: You can’t control other people, and you can’t control most situations. But you can control yourself and how you respond to the situations you’re in. There’s power in that.
Takeaways on the Power of Positive Thinking
Now that you’ve learned these 25 tips for having a positive mindset, you can start forming new habits. Remember that this is your life. Live it to the fullest, every moment of every day, because it’s all you get.
A positive mindset is essential to getting to the next level in your life. It affects your mental health, your physical health, your happiness, and your success. And incorporating positivity into these things leads to more good things! If you’re healthy and happy, you will have better relationships and a better quality of life. Sounds like a positive mindset is the key ingredient for a good life if you ask me.
Which tip for positive thinking are you most excited to try? Let me know in the comments.
For more tips on how to become positive even in difficult times, read this.