Is positive thinking a fairytale? Certainly not! But we are not all born with the positivity gene. That is why we have some tips for you.
Positive thinking is easy when life is easy. But when adversity strikes – by a resignation, a divorce or the loss of a loved one – and your state of mind ends up in bad weather, you must take serious action to prevent depression.
Nevertheless, it is possible to remain positive, even under very sad circumstances. Because optimism is only determined for 25% by your genes (and you can not actually do anything about it). But on the other 75% you have your own influence. So even if positive thinking is not in your DNA, you can go through life as a Zen Monk. ☺
The characteristics of positive thinking
By cultivating positive thoughts you keep your mind receptive to new possibilities and solutions. Joyful, satisfied and grateful thoughts ensure optimal openness, ingenuity and creativity of your brain. Negative thoughts, on the other hand, have a limiting effect on your thinking, because fear, stress and anger are emotions that shut off the solution-oriented thinking ability of your brain.
The positive effects of positive thinking
- You experience more positive emotions
- It gives energy
- It makes you stress-resistant
- It ensures that you recover more quickly from disorders
- You are less likely to have high blood pressure or heart failure
- It strengthens your immune system
- You help out conflicts and problems faster
- It makes you less susceptible to depression
- You will receive support or help from people in your area
- Positive thinking is not only good for your psyche, but also for your body!
Positive thinking: mental defense
Negative thinking stands in the way of happiness. In other words, negative thoughts are obstacles that hinder happiness. Conversely, the same applies. When your brain is optimistic, this makes it difficult to experience adversity and misfortune.
Pessimists are inclined to blame others for everything that did not go well, so they see themselves as victims and think they have no power to deal with things properly from now on.
An optimist, on the other hand, cherishes the confidence that no matter what happens, everything will eventually be completely (or partially) good again. People who think positively realize that they themselves are responsible for their own happiness and state of mind. This ensures that they are the boss of their own lives and everything that happens there. They make certain decisions and realize that there are positive and negative consequences. In this way they experience stressful situations as something that goes with it and for which they are prepared, and not as unfortunate coincidences that happen to them – poor, unprepared, pathetic victims.
That is the power of positive thinking! The better you feel about yourself, the easier it is to not let in a colleague’s nagging. Think of it as an mental defense shield. Negativity comes in less hard and you are unlikely to have a mental or emotional backlash.
What positive thinking is not
Positive thinking is not synonymous with stopping emotions. All emotions may be there, including negative emotions. With positive thinking you acknowledge that annoying things have happened that have hurt you. Only then you decide not to let yourself be dominated by those unpleasant experiences.
Positive thinking does not mean that you approve of what has happened. A traumatic experience, such as domestic violence, does not ask for your approval because violence is never good. But even in such a serious situation you can acknowledge what went wrong, and you have the power to decide to learn from this experience instead of continuing to suffer from it. For example, a traumatic experience such as domestic violence can ultimately lead to you being more self-reliant and learning to guard your own boundaries.
A positive mindset starts with you!
How can you now teach yourself to think positively in any circumstances? Here are 4 tips that immediately put you on the right track!
1. Be mild to yourself
The way you talk to yourself affects how positive or negative you think. Do you, for example, blame yourself if you are fired? Or do you see it as a business decision of the management? Do you think of yourself as a failure if you have devoured a bag of chips? Or do you know that it is only a temporary relapse and that you will be able to get back on track tomorrow?
Being strict is not bad at all, but you have to realize that it is only effective and constructive if you do it to improve your behavior, and not to punish yourself. Often it is those seemingly unimportant things that you say to yourself in a reflex. For example when you drop a wine glass and say: “Stupid cow, pay more attention!” Or if you are cursed because you are too late. You might also think: “What a shame about the glass, I’m too rushed too. Maybe I should take things a bit slower today … “With that, you offer yourself a solution without giving yourself to it. If you come often too late, put the alarm clock on your mobile phone so that you do not forget the time.
How does the voice sound in your head? If you are not too strict on yourself and your thought-provoking voice sounds understanding, gentle and loving that it will help enormously with positive thinking, even in other situations.
2. Be grateful
When you write down once a week for a month what you are grateful for, you will feel better about yourself. Just write down about 5 to 10 everyday successes and things that you are grateful for that day. Have you, for example, taken the time to consciously and carefully choose your clothes? That is already one. Were you on time for your appointment? There you go, number two. And so on. You had an inspiring conversation? Write it down! You enjoyed a cup of tea in the sun? Write it down!
Every single day think about 3 things that you are grateful for at that moment. It does not cost you extra time and it will quickly becomes a second nature. With 3 positive things in your head you start the day a lot happier than thinking about everything that can go wrong that day.
You can also write about gratitude occasionally. Have you had a great day at work for example? Then write 50 things on paper that went well and were successful: from the biggest achievement to the smallest success.
By recognizing everything you are grateful for, you put positive experiences under a magnifying glass. That way you will strengthen your positive thoughts and feelings. It is basically a brain upgrade to a more optimistic level.
3. Positive Quotes
Positive quotes trigger something within us when we read them. They activate our emotions and sometimes when they resonate with us they increase our pulse and get our juices, whether creative or critical thinking, flowing. Positive quotes can offer up a bit of encouragement or a starting point of a way forward. A positive quote can open the door for encouragement, but you have to apply what you are reading to your life. You are your actions. The great thing about positive quotes (if you apply them in your life) is that you read the quote, you act upon the quote, and you, therefore, become your actions. So if you are reading about kindness, you begin to do kind things, you continue to do kind things and make kindness a habit, and therefore you become a kinder person. That is why it is so important to start every day with a positive quote.
4. Be critical of the people around you
Both negative and positive thinking is ‘contagious’. Make sure you surround yourself as much as possible with positive people. They will give you the right example and encourage you to approach life in a positive way yourself. This way you can make yourself that mental good-vibe button a lot easier!